Hear from Four Powerful and Inspiring Women in PropTech & Real Estate on their Key to Success
From left: Speakers Liu Lu, co-founder and COO of JustCo, Oi Yee Choo, CCO of ICHX Tech Pte Ltd, Sara Villarreal, COO of 8M Real Estate Pte Ltd, and Su Lin Wee, Executive Director of Head of Asset Management (SEA), PGIM Real Estate standing alongside emcee Zheng Wanshi, Group Chief Strategy & Planning Officer of Frasers Property Limited.
To watch the highlights of this JustCo x ULI Signature Event, click here.
Historically, the real estate industry is largely dominated by men and it was difficult for women to break in. According to a study by Crew Network, women make up 36.7% of the commercial real estate industry, and this has not changed in the last 15 years.
In today’s modern society, the real estate sector has grown to embrace gender diversity. At JustCo’s signature event co-organised together with ULI, “Women in PropTech and Real Estate”, four inspiring women leaders shared about their experience navigating traditionally male-dominated industries. Read on to find out how did they #ChooseToChallenge and made a difference in their work and life.
Finding Your Passion
What is their secret to success, you may ask? For Liu Lu, co-founder and COO of JustCo, it was all about finding her passion. “I left my corporate role in Proctor and Gamble in 2013 to join JustCo, where I focused a lot on the community aspect of our business. My time is largely spent training and nurturing JustCo’s Centre of Excellence team, a training ground for building strong teams among JustCo staff,” she mentioned.
Lu often sees herself as a coach to the team and has been particularly focused on grooming future women leaders of JustCo. She strongly believes that when women are empowered, they can do great things and make a significant social and economic impact.
Mentorship, Diversity and Inclusion
In an ideal world, companies would want all employees to feel empowered, valued, and supported. One of the many ways to improve workforce inclusivity and diversity, is to provide mentorship.
“Throughout my journey, having a mentor’s support and guidance is really important for me. I identified a mentor about 20 years ago, who provided me with practical and professional advices. Typically, mentors provide a strong support system due to the great deal of experience they possess,” Sara Villarreal, COO of 8M Real Estate Pte Ltd said. “I’m also choosing to pay-it-forward, and becoming a mentor myself, to provide leadership advice to my mentees.”
By having mentorship as a critical part of a company’s culture, it naturally fosters the sharing of knowledge, development, and creativity amongst employees. This as a result, cultivates a diverse and thriving workplace.
Oi Yee, CCO of ICHX Tech Pte Ltd shared the same sentiments. Throughout her career path, she met with people from all walks of life, who has coached her on professional and personal development. “I grew up in this real estate industry knowing nothing. However, I met a diverse range of people who coached me along the way – regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, they have taught me a lot and it was instrumental to my growth,” she mentioned.
Never Be Afraid
A research found that men do 75% of the talking during an average business meeting, and women often struggle to find their voice. Many women opt to stay silent in meetings as they hold the fear of being wrong. How can professional women be assertive and overcome that fear?
Su Lin Wee, Executive Director of Head of Asset Management (SEA), PGIM Real Estate shared, “Never be afraid to ask a ‘stupid’ question, and always be humble enough to ask for help to get clarity as and when needed. As a woman leader, we need to keep an open mind and respect diversity – in that way, we can pivot to success.”
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