By Natallie Keizer, Executive Director, HouseATL and Delilah Wynn Brown, Director of Real Estate, HJ Russell and Co-Chairs of the 2022 Leader Selection Committee

As we begin to emerge into these early post-pandemic years, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the total unknown is behind us – and our resilience has been tested. Now is the time to reconnect, re-engage and rebuild.

Of course, some groups need to be more resilient than others, even in normal times, but especially during and after global disruptions of this magnitude, as they may have fewer resources, more responsibilities and less flexibility. Women are often one of these groups.

According to current information, only about 2 of the 5 million women forced out of the labor market to meet family obligations at the onset of the pandemic returned to the labor market.

Family and household responsibilities remain a major systemic barrier to women’s career advancement. Nonetheless, women have learned to “super-multitask” work and household responsibilities – skills that can improve their ability to negotiate through the myriad of workplace challenges.

The global gender gap 2020 report estimates that achieving equity for women will take almost a century. Based on this daunting data, women must maintain huge reserves of resilience to achieve the excellence required leading to higher echelons in the workplace. This is true, despite mounting evidence that companies with a high percentage of women in leadership positions have higher profitability and return on investment.

The resilience that women must develop to balance family and professional responsibilities can be an asset in business in general, but are particularly so in the complex world of real estate development. These fields, although still heavily dominated by men who make up 65% of the workforce, have an increasing number of women in top management positions. Yet, much more needs to be done to achieve gender equity in business, including in areas related to the built environment.

That’s why, in 2010, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Atlanta launched its own chapter of the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI). WLI’s charge is to raise awareness of the systemic barriers faced by women and to celebrate the outstanding contributions women make to our community in real estate development. ULI places particular emphasis on connecting women – those in the upper echelons of leadership, including the C-suite – with women who aspire to such roles. WLI is also focused on being a resource for women in real estate development, so that women can see and hear from other women in the main forums, conferences and boardrooms of the industry.

To support these efforts, ULI Atlanta has created The leaders to recognize female industry leaders who live and work in the Atlanta area.

This year, the program received more than 70 nominations for The leaders. From this exceptionally accomplished group, 15 were selected as WLI’s third cohort.

They are resilient women who experience leadership. They increasingly weigh and successfully maneuver through the many moving parts necessary for real estate development, including: market dynamics, land acquisition, rights, legal issues, commercial and residential development, design, construction, capital markets and finance, both in the for-profit and non-profit arenas.

They are women who drive institutional and corporate missions, support financial structures, employ creative strategies in managing change, and pivot as needed. They add their voices to the call for social equity in development, address the need for fair and affordable housing, overcome personal issues while leading organizations, and give back to the community through mentorship and other services. community.

In short, these women are remarkable and more than worthy of recognition. The Leaders for 2022 are 15 women – a list that has now collectively grown to 70 and will continue to grow as we add cohorts year on year! ULI Atlanta and WLI hope this list will serve as a resource desk and speakers for everyone who lives in the Atlanta area – so they can be better represented at industry conferences.

View all 2020, 2021 and 2022 cohorts hereand a special congratulations to the women of the 2022 cohort!

ULI is a global non-profit organization dedicated to shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities around the world. The Atlanta District Council (ULI Atlanta) is one of the largest and most active district councils – advancing the mission and priorities of ULI in the state of Georgia and eastern Tennessee. For more information:

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