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Expert Advice for Women Leaders in Business and Real Estate

Mary Lynne Boorn, associate professor (teaching) at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, discusses why diversity in business matters and how women can advance their careers.

Mary Lynne Boorn

Associate Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

What is the impact of providing open access and diversity in education?

Diversity among educators supports students from all backgrounds by integrating diversity of thought, techniques, experiences, and outcomes into the curriculum. Increased access to education creates pathways for the next generation that will have more diverse backgrounds and will bring their unique experiences and perspectives into their work to improve outcomes for everyone.

What should we look for in the upcoming decade regarding strides in female success?

More of it and at a faster pace. I see two major shifts taking place in the real estate industry today: one is more women entering the field and the other is more female industry leaders recognizing the importance of supporting one another throughout their careers. I think this will result in an increased number of women in leadership roles and more women continuing to build their careers in this industry as they witness the success of others. If they can see it in others, they can believe it in themselves.

What is your best advice for women looking to become a leader in her professional field of choice?

Stick with it. In a highly cyclical field like real estate, being able to weather the storms and continue to build your portfolio of skills as you advance your career has long-term positive effects and opens up leadership opportunities down the line. 

What has helped you to be successful and showcase yourself as a leader in your chosen field?

Get involved. Some of the greatest opportunities and experiences I have had came from leveraging my real estate expertise to support civic and philanthopic organizations that needed help in these areas. I was able to showcase my skills in diverse settings, and my contributions were valued by a broader range of stakeholders as a result.

What is the role that mentorship plays in women finding success in leadership positions?

Women and men alike need mentors to achieve success in leadership positions. Being able to leverage someone else’s experience, particularly in challenging environments, can quicken the learning curve and give you confidence to take risks. Be open to all types of mentors. Some of my best mentors have come from informal associations over the years and from a variety of industries.

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