The Baker Program in Real Estate is proud to announce the formation of Cornell Real Estate Women (CornellREW) during the 2016-2017 academic year. CornellREW is Cornell University’s primary graduate and professional student organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of women in real estate. The organization was founded with three primary goals: (1) to support members by providing ample opportunities to network and engage with female real estate executives; (2) to attract female speakers for the Baker Program’s Distinguished Speaker Series and other similar events; and (3) to increase the visibility of women in the Baker Program in Real Estate and in the professional real estate industry.
CornellREW aims to fill the void that has persisted within professional graduate real estate programs by creating a network to bridge connections between professional women in real estate and the women who wish to enter the industry. “To elevate the real estate industry to the level of other professional industries, we require an organization dedicated to women in real estate,” said Caitlin Elliott ’17, President and Founder of CornellREW. “Women in real estate are highly underrepresented, especially in the commercial sector. There was no dedicated space at Cornell for women in real estate to excel. There was a void between women in the real estate industry and women at Cornell, both of whom are already minorities in their own areas. It is apparent in talking to these professionals that they want to help students who are aspiring to work in real estate succeed, and they want to increase the presence of fellow women in their fields. Until now, there has been nothing bridging these professionals with these students who are working hard to succeed. CornellREW is that bridge.”
CornellREW’s inaugural year has been tremendously successful, highlighted by the Cornell Real Estate Women Inaugural Reception in New York City on the opening night of the 34th Annual Cornell Real Estate Conference. The reception provided CornellREW members with the opportunity to network with top executives and professionals who share the vision of promoting the advancement of women within the real estate industry. Laura Curi de Mattos ’18, VP of Communications for CornellREW, recapped the event: “CornellREW’s commitment to strengthen relationships between industry leaders and its members was masterfully achieved at the NYC Inaugural Reception. In a relaxed atmosphere, we met professionals from different real estate segments and started building important connections for our careers. I can’t think of a better way to get CornellREW off on the right foot.”
CornellREW members returned to New York City on March 3, 2017 for the club’s first professional trek. The group first toured The Bridge at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, which is being developed by a partnership between Cornell University and Forest City Ratner with a planned opening for the Fall 2017 semester. The students then crossed town to visit Related Companies at Columbus Circle for a presentation on Hudson Yards, before wrapping up the day with a tour of Gensler’s new headquarters on Broadway. The profile of the firms that engaged with CornellREW for its first trek speaks to the organization’s rapid growth as well as the need for similar organizations promoting women within the real estate industry.
The organization has also showcased leading female executives in the industry over the past year including: Kate Bicknell of Forest City Ratner, Catherine Von Seggern of Ernst and Young’s Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services, Lindsay Lecour of Atlantic Pacific Communities, Susan Dollinger of Citigroup, Jilliene Helman of RealtyMogul.com, Rama Chanani of Stay Wanderful, and Erica Siegel Henning of Lionstone Investments. CornellREW has also hosted Cornell University senior lecturers Susan Fleming, PhD and Maria Wolfe, PhD for professional development workshops on negotiations and communication, respectively.
Caitlin Elliott reflected on the trajectory of the organization: “I’m constantly awestruck by our initial accomplishments and excited for what will come next. CornellREW has laid the foundations for the future of women at Cornell pursuing a career in real estate by establishing a network of connections throughout the real estate industry, spanning geography and industry sectors, as well as across campus. I attribute the exponential growth to the tenacity of the club to fulfill its mission.”