If you weren’t able to attend the “Women of Influence” on April 23rd, or “The Retail Detail” on June 4th, here’s what you missed…
Women of Influence Panel moderated by Cynthia Berman, Principal of Kramon & Graham PA featured Jackie Schingeck, Corporate Vice President, Business Development and Marketing of Century Engineering, Kristen Pleasants, Principal of Basis Point Advisors, Stacy Berman, Managing Director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, and Anath Ranon, AIA, LEED GA, Principal of Cho Benn Holback + Associates.Women of Influence
Our annual “Women of Influence” Luncheon (formerly known as “Trailblazers”) was bigger than ever this year with over 96 in attendance eager to hear what these incredible women had to say. This year’s panel moderated by Cynthia Berman, Principal of Kramon & Graham PA featured Jackie Schingeck, Corporate Vice President, Business Development and Marketing of Century Engineering, Kristen Pleasants, Principal of Basis Point Advisors, Stacy Berman, Managing Director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, and Anath Ranon, AIA, LEED GA, Principal of Cho Benn Holback + Associates.
These amazing leaders in our industry focused their discussion around central themes found in Katty Kay & Claire Shipman’s book The Confidence Code asking the question, “What is confidence?” The book answers this question by stating that confidence is an attitude, a way you approach the world, a sense you can accomplish something. You can accomplish the task you want to accomplish. On that note, what is failure? According to our panelists’ view, it is a learning experience and makes us stronger. They shared the lesson that we must stretch our limits, move forward and if you don’t ask the question, the answer is surely -No.
Lessons from the Confidence Code:
Women tend to over-prepare. Most will not take a promotion because they don’t feel they are ready for the new position. Women also tend to “upspeak” or sound like they are asking a question at end of sentence, which encourages reassurance. We need to rewrite these thoughts and put a different spin on them. Don’t doubt yourself before you know. Be authentic, think less, and take action!
On Women in the Workplace:
Kristen Pleasants: “I found that I refocus the desire to be liked to being respected when I managed people. I tried to establish environments that people liked to work in.”
Stacey Berman: “It is hard to be someone’s friend when you are managing people. Respect is very important.”
Jackie Schingeck: “I realized I had to separate personal and professional relationships. People reporting to you can like you, but they have to know what is expected of them and being friendly doesn’t change the fact that you have to do your job and they have to do theirs.”
Anath: “I found that it was more about making a connection with people, and less about likability.”
On Risk Taking:
Each panelist had a story to describe of when they had to take a tremendous risk. Stacey moved from Canada, leaving behind a successful business. Anath opened her own office in Baltimore, and the firm ultimately failed. She learned to set up lunches and put herself out there to become resilient. “Sometimes it was really fun, sometimes it was really hard.” Jackie recalled how she worked at age16, but lied and told them she was 17 years old. Then when her firm celebrated her birthday, they thought she was 18. She was terrified of being “found out.” Kristen started her own business, leaving “corporate America”. She found that if she surrounded herself with mentors and cheerleaders, she could achieve anything she wanted.
On the Fear of Failure:
While Anath closed her company, she knew she had something to fall back on when she moved if it failed. She noted, “the key is to keep looking forward.” For Kristen, starting her own business was “Plan B.” She wanted to stay with the large banking firms she was used to, but found herself being spring boarded from a previous client. She asked for help and banked her confidence. Jackie decided that there is no such word as “can’t.” What was the worst that could happen? Rejection is character building, and if you are determined that you can do something you can do it. She encouraged the listeners that “you can do most things that you set your mind to.”
On Taking Feedback:
The ladies agreed, that it is harder to absorb critical comments if you don’t have a good relationship with the person who offered them. Although, if you have a good relationship with the person giving you the feedback, and it is offered as a way to help you, it can be instrumental. We should not look at failure as a mistake, but rather look at it as a lesson to learn from.
Often time’s women feel the need to have ALL the information before making a decision and this actually holds us back. Our male counterparts are less inclined to think things through. As a safe middle ground, we should try to decipher critical facts that we have to have, make the decision, and move on. At the end of the day you can’t change it. When a task is unpleasant, many women practice for a while how they will respond to the situation. This is deemed a pointless exercise if in reality the other person doesn’t say what you had planned they would. It is suggested that a better solution is to just execute while you are in the middle of the situation.
Men and Their Confidence:
Men throw out a lot and see what sticks, but women prefer to focus on quality versus quantity. One panelist recalled a friend who went from managing two hotels on a Caribbean island, to Wall Street managing a huge portfolio. When he decided to relocate to NYC, he saw advertisement in paper and didn’t even know what the position was. During the interview, he claimed he knew everything necessary, and then started studying once he got the job. His philosophy was to just have confidence and you can fill in the gaps from there. Another panelist remarked that males are still accustomed to running the world, and females are not used to being on equal footing. Many times when a man and woman say the same thing, it used to mean more coming from they guy.
The lesson to be learned here is that if you want to stay in the fight you have to keep persevering and we, as women, need to support one another. Confidence is key to success!
The Retail Detail Panel Neil Tucker, partner at Workshop Development, , Tami Daniel, counsel at Whiteford, Ashley York Venable, senior general manager of The Mall in Columbia, Mackenzie Paull, vice president, Economic Development and Planning for Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc, Heather Arnold, managing director of Streetsense and Krista DiIaconi, vice president of EDENS
The crowd of nearly 70 CREWBaltimore members and guests listened intently as Ashley York Venable, senior general manager of The Mall in Columbia spoke about the forty year old 1.7MM SF super mall and the strategy of parking, neighboring retailers within and concierge type services it offers to remain competitive.
Factors she cited as contributing to its success:
- Tremendous demographics (good household income, education, strong workforce)
- Strong growth (continued to expand the market westward in Howard County)
- Community (started as regional- residents are loyal)
Columbia, MD was a master planned community constructed at its highest and best use to achieve work, life & play inclusions so no one would need to venture to other cities. It has everything to be desired.
The question was posed by moderator, Tami Daniel, counsel at Whiteford, Taylor and Preston- “How will stores compete with Amazon?”
The answer: They are already ahead! The site to store function has been adopted by many retailers who have grown to use their stores as distribution sites. The Mall is currently working on a partnership with “DELIVE”- similar to a concierge service, which would allow 1) online shopping with pickup at the mall, 2) packages from shopping to be delivered to home or office for those who don’t want to carry, or 3) if another store location has an out of stock item, you can still purchase at the mall store and they will coordinate delivery to you.
Neil Tucker, partner at Workshop Development, added to this concept that many consumers are now “showrooming” by looking at products in the stores and then purchasing online due to no tax and home delivery. Boutiques will have to price match in order to compete.
He continued to discuss efforts driving retail development in the city and how Harbor East has become a destination as “a mall without the Macy’s & Nordstrom”. Charm City’s future is bright and expanding. Rents are as strong as any submarket-thanks to millennials and baby boomers. Mackenzie Paull, vice president, Economic Development and Planning for Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc agreed that when brokers realize how densely populated Baltimore City is, it does become appealing to them but she also challenged that although waterfront areas like Canton, Fells Point and Harbor East are thriving, the city still needs help growing the central business district. Downtown is still missing a way to get their essential needs (linens, cutlery, etc) as there is currently no space to put a Target/Walmart store until new development comes through.
The Over-Retailed Vs. Under-Retailed Debate
If there are plenty of retailers that are failing, why would anyone still build more? This issue was tag teamed by Heather Arnold, managing director of Streetsense and Krista DiIaconi, vice president of EDENS, both experts in retail market analysis and development. After some discussion it was determined that the market nationally may be over-retailed BUT it is under-retailed in the right areas. They concurred that the “amenity and experience of shopping” is timeless. The key is “creating places where people WANT to be even if they don’t NEED to be there”. If developers can find ways to enrich the community through design, engagement and merchandising with something that makes their project stand out, they will be successful. Streetsense created a guidebook to use as a self-assessment tool for neighborhoods to see if they are attractive for retail development.
The panel discussion ended with great thought provoking questions from the audience and some group discussion about how events like the recent riots can be detrimental to retailers.
Don’t miss our next luncheon on September 10, 2015 where our expert panelist will discuss market trends in industrial real estate!