CREW Network’s 2015 Benchmark Study Report revealed a 23.3% income gap between men and women in commercial real estate, and found that the gap widens even more with added years of experience and those promoted to the C-Suite. Although the fight for gender parity remains, the study also shows that the income gap in this industry is continuing to shrink over time, and more women are making their way to executive positions.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’d like to acknowledge a few influential women leaders who we’ve seen inspire change and make a name for themselves in the multifamily industry. All of these women are educated, driven, and have done their part to exploit every opportunity coming their way—allowing them to build their careers (and companies) successfully.

Donna Preiss

Founder and Chief Executive Officer at the Preiss Company

Donna Preiss received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later earned her masters from the University of Maryland at College Park. Donna founded the Preiss Company in 1987 and has spent the last 3 decades building it up to one of the top 10 largest privately held (woman) owner operator firms in student housing. Not only does she employ over 500 workers across 13 states, but she also serves on several boards and committees outside of her own practice.

The NMHC, NAA, SPCA, Wake Tech Foundation, and the Women President’s Organization are just a handful of the many committees Donna contributes to. In 2008, CREW Network awarded Donna the Impact Award, giving her an honorable mention as an Industry Innovator. She was then recognized by the Triangle Business Journal as having one of the top women-owned businesses (2005-2009) and received their Women in Business Award in 2016 as one of the most successful professional women.

Donna is the real MVP! Click here to read the Preiss Company Spotlight.

Christine Richards

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Education Realty Trust

Christine Richards received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Memphis, and worked operations at Gables Residential throughout her schooling. After putting in over a decade’s work at Gables, she was hired as a regional director at Education Realty Trust in 2001. Christine steadily worked her way up the ladder at EdR, getting promoted to VP of Operations in 2006, SVP in 2010, and in 2012 was promoted to her current position as EVP and COO.

Not only does she oversee daily operations and manage housing portfolios, but she has completely revamped EdR’s systems and processes, driving results and making their management services incomparable. In addition, Christine contributes her time and knowledge to the multifamily community as a member of both the NAA Student Housing Committee and the Institute of Real Estate Management.

Christine is a true go-getter!  Click here to read the EdR Company Spotlight.

Ivana Christman

Chief Operating Officer at Quest Management Group

Ivana Christman received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Sociology, and Communications from Indiana University. She then furthered her education receiving a Master of Business Administration with a focus on Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Her career in property management began in 2005 and she later joined her current employer Quest in 2013 as the VP of Property Management under their Quest Holdings affiliate.

Now, Ivana acts as COO of Quest Management and is responsible for overseeing daily operations across a multitude of departments including: marketing, sales, human resources, contractual negotiations, budgeting, renovations, and project planning. In addition, Ivana recently won the Adopter Award from us here at On-Site at our 2017 OOLALA ceremony, which recognized her as a courageous visionary who sees the future and tests it out firsthand.

Ivana is a true pioneer!  Click here to read Ivana’s story, “How to Turn an Under-Performing Property into a Cash Cow.”


International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on the accomplishments of women across the world and to call attention to areas in societies that still need improvement. For over a century, women have come together to work towards gender parity in cultural, social, political, and economic situations, but it isn’t just the female voice that should speak up.

Advocates urge everyone who cares for human rights to step up and take action—what will you do today to #beboldforchange?

From On-Site’s blog.