Women Leaders in CRE Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

According to CREW Network’s 2015 benchmark study, women hold approximately 9 percent of C-Suite positions in the commercial real estate industry; however, women are closer to the C-Suite than ever before. Also, more senior-level or higher roles were filled by women than the previous 10 years.

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The 15 women listed below are top leaders and achievers in their CRE companies – including CEOs, Founders and Presidents. They are also pioneers, glass breakers, advisors, sponsors, mentors and way showers for women in the industry.

*CREW Network members


Jodie McLean*, CEO, EDENS

Jodie McLean is smashing that glass ceiling as CEO of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private owners, operators and developers in the retail real estate space. She has been a critical part of the companies growth to $6 billion over the past 20 years. Not only is Jodie a success in her organization, she is a true thought leader and community leader in her industry.


Angela Tucci, CEO, Apto

Angela Tucci is leading the field of SaaS for the real estate industry as CEO for Apto, a web-based software for managing customer relationships, properties, listings, and deals. She heads up a company that serves nearly ten thousand commercial brokers and is the CRM of choice for 6 of the top 8 CRE brands. Angela is a truly inspiration for women in real estate tech.


MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO, L&L MAG

MaryAnne Gilmartin is the CEO and co-founder of L&L MAG, a real estate development company bringing together purposeful, committed builders to develop beautiful and strategic projects that enhance the skyline and streetscapes of communities. She’s proud to be bringing together her female co-founders to break the glass ceiling in the real estate industry.

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Mary Ann Tighe, CEO, CBRE New York Tri-State Region

Mary Ann Tighe is the CEO of CBRE New York Tri-State Region. Crain’s New York Business has named her the most powerful woman in New York. And this inspiring lady has a history of transforming the face of Manhattan. During her time at CBRE, this business has become New York’s preeminent firm, outdistancing all competitors in market share, revenue and margins. She began her real estate career as a broker and continues to prove that with a little perseverance and hard work, anything is possible for powerhouse women in real estate.

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Joanne Podell, Vice Chairman, Cushman & Wakefield

Joanne Podell currently serves as Vice Chairman at the prestigious Cushman and Wakefield. She boasts twenty-five years of commercial real estate experience under her belt, and has extensive market knowledge in her client-focused approach. She is one of the most well-respected retail brokers in New York City and is the two-time recipient of the REBNY “Deal of the Year” award. She also has been awarded the prestigious honor of being Cushman & Wakefield’s overall top retail broker in the United States for both 2014 and 2015.

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Debra A. Cafaro, Chairman & CEO, Ventas

Debra Cafaro holds the position of Chairman of the Board and CEO at Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company and real estate investment trust. Ventas owns 1,300 healthcare, life science and senior living properties in North America and the United Kingdom and serves as the primary capital provider to leading healthcare companies. Ventas began leading this organization in 1999 and has taken it from a $200 million company to a $24 billion one, and has been named as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, a Top 50 Best-Performing CEO in the World, and a Top 50 Women in World Business, just to name a few.

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Andrea Olshan, CEO, Olshan Properties

Andrea Olshan is the CEO of Olshan Properties, a privately owned commercial real estate firm. She evaluates the new investment opportunities and represents the company in its third-party investments. She began her career with the company as COO, but now focuses on the strategic direction of the company designed to drive its growth and profits.

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Greta Guggenheim*, CEO, TPG Real Estate Finance Trust

Greta Guggenheim is CEO of TPG Real Estate Finance, a CRE company that specializes in transitional loans to developers nationally. She hails from Wharton Business School and spent part of her career as President of Ladder Capital Finance LLC, a commercial real estate finance company that focuses on CMBS and balance sheet lending.

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Jennifer Carey*, CEO & Founder, JLC Environmental Consultants, Inc.

Jennifer Carey is the founder of JLC Environmental Consultants, a turnkey environmental testing, consulting, laboratory analysis and occupational safety and health training company serving the public and private sectors. Jennifer has worked on many real estate and construction projects tying in her passions for real estate and finding sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. She was named a Women of Influence by Real Estate Forum in 2016.

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Holly Neber*, CEO, AEI Consultants

Holly Neber is the CEO at AEI Consultants in San Francisco, which is an employee-owned full service international consulting firm providing real property solutions through environmental, property and facility assessments, energy consulting, industrial hygiene, remediation and construction risk management. She’s served with AEI since 1999 and continues to prove to women everywhere that they can rise to the top of their field and organization.

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Judy Nitsch*, Founding Principal, Nitsch Engineering, Inc.

Judy Nitsch is the founding principal at Nitsch Engineering which specializes in site design and permitting for real estate development projects and infrastructure, many being LEED-registered or certified. Her experience includes 40+ years in civil engineering with an emphasis on sustainable design.

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Edna Meyer-Nelson*, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Richland Companies

Edna Meyer-Nelson is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the multimillion-dollar organization, The Richland Companies. She began her career as a Commercial Loan Officer and Marketing Director. In 2017, she was the firm woman to receive the the Houston Business Journal’s Landmark Lifetime Achievement Award, and continues to be very active in her community and on the speaker circuit.

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Barbi Reuter*, President, Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR

Barbi Reuter is the President of PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services, Tucson’s employee-owned and market-leading commercial real estate service firm providing brokerage and property management advisory services for office, medical, retail, industrial and multifamily assets in Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Barbi has more than paid her dues in the competitive real estate industry with her over 20 years of senior leadership experience.

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Annette Verschuren*, Chair & CEO, NRStor Inc.

Annette Verschuren is the Chair and CEO of NRstor, Inc. in Toronto, Canada. As the CEO, she focuses on accelerating the commercialization of energy storage technologies through planning and development of energy storage parks around the world. Once President of Home Depot Canada and Michael’s of Canada, Annette doesn’t shy away from running companies and positioning them for dramatic growth.

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Barbara Corcoran, Co-Founder, The Corcoran Group

You may have already seen Barbara on the hit TV show, Shark Tank. She’s truly an inspiration to aspiring female entrepreneurs as she started her career with bad grades and twenty jobs by the time she was twenty-three. She took a $1000 loan to build out The Corcoran Group, a now Billion dollar real estate firm.


Celebrate these and all inspiring women in commercial real estate at CRE Tech {HER}oic, on March 8, 2018 in New York City. This event will feature some of the most dynamic influencers and top thought female leaders in commercial real estate.

CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network is the industry's premier business networking organization dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. CREW Network members comprise more than 10,000 professionals globally and represent nearly all disciplines of commercial real estate – every type of expert required to "do the deal."