Misty Moore was a rarity when she became a commercial real estate broker nearly 22 years ago.

“An anomaly in the market place,” was how Moore described herself.

“There weren’t a lot of women,” said Moore, a managing director of the commercial real estate brokerage JLL.

“You got used to being the only woman in the room,” Moore said. “It was just something that I became accustomed to, being the only woman in the room for at least a decade.”

That’s changing, but a report released in September by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) said that women remain vastly underrepresented among commercial real estate professionals, especially among brokers.

Not in Leadership Positions

Women are particularly scarce above middle management in commercial real estate companies overall, accounting for 27% of senior vice president, managing director and partner positions and 9% of C-level positions.

Nationally, women in commercial real estate also are paid 23% less than men in the same job, according to CREW.

Katie Yee, a business development consultant who served on the national CREW panel, said the situation in San Diego mirrors what CREW found nationally.

She and other commercial real estate professionals in San Diego said the situation is improving — pointing to CBRE’s Natalie Dahl as an example — but they say the improvement has been incremental.

Dahl in August 2018 was appointed managing director for investor services of CBRE in the San Diego region.

CREW School Program

“We’re very fortunate to be in the CRE (commercial real estate) industry in San Diego because we have the support,” Yee said. “Things are moving. It takes a long time to steer a big ship.”

Trying to accelerate the addition of more women to the commercial real estate workforce, CREW San Diego is starting a program to promote CREW careers in county schools.

Along with that, Jennifer Litwak, executive director of Housing on Merit — a developer of affordable housing she formed in 2011 — recently took several girls on tours of CRE businesses, including a commercial real estate brokerage and an architectural firm.

“It’s an exposure issue,” said Litwak, who serves on national CREW committees that raise money for scholarships for girls studying CRE in college.

A former lawyer, Litwak said that the more girls are exposed to CRE careers and see other women in it, the more likely they are to enter the field.

She said that it’s especially important that young women see other women in leadership positions at CRE firms if more women are to rise to the top.