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Perseverance and Hard work go hand in hand as more and more women take on commercial real estate

Posted by cmarquez on May 19, 2021

Real Estate whether housing or commercial can be a difficult industry to begin your career. Many find themselves seeking mentors or internships to learn under-seasoned brokers. Women, in particular, have had an even harder time entering the field, however, women are breaking gender stereotypes and stepping into historically male-dominated fields, such as commercial real estate. According to Commercial Certified Investment Institute (CCIM) more than 550 women or 13% of members are female, this number continues to grow.

“Historically, women’s presence in the real estate industry was primarily in residential sales and marketing,” says Debra Tantleff, founding principal of TANTUM Real Estate in Jersey City, whose certified Women’s Business Enterprise development and the advisory firm specializes in multifamily and mixed-use communities in New Jersey. “With every market cycle, there continues to be an increasing number of women getting involved in all facets of the industry. It’s also encouraging to see the next generation of female students recognizing commercial real estate as a rewarding and viable career path.” (

Up and coming commercial real estate agent Brieona Pappas understands this first hand. Pappas started her career in commercial real estate while studying Economics at the University of Utah.

She got her start by a mentor who is now retired, but a well-known female agent in the industry. “I feel fortunate that I was brought into the industry by a woman who worked her way up and showed me just what success looks like,” said Pappas.

“Once I learned the business from my mentor I went off on my own and had a great male partner. However, when we would meeting with new clients, I would immediately get pegged as the assistant or below my partner. It was the hardest thing to overcome,” she said. “They didn’t do it out of malice they just didn’t know any other way. They were never offended when you corrected them it was more what they were used to and I fought to break that glass ceiling.”

Pappas now has over 12 years of experience in the field and has represented over $200 million in total transaction value for her clients.

After nine years with her former partner, she decided to look for more in her career. “I wanted an environment where I could excel, collaborate more with others, a place that had good energy, and people wanted to work together to find wins for our clients,” said Pappas. She found Mountain West Commercial in 2019 and has been excelling since.

When giving advice to women or anyone who wants to get into commercial real estate Pappas has this to say: “Be brave. Go after it and be ok with being uncomfortable, it is worth it in the long run. Your client relationship is everything, be extremely focused on them and maintaining a long-term relationship where you can provide solutions for their business(es) to grow.”


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