Top Area Women – Owned Businesses
When Ellen Todd talks about learning commercial real estate from the ground up, she’s speaking literally-during her youth, she’d pull weeds and pick up trash on properties managed by Curry Real Estate Services, the company her father, Ray Brock, bought in 1980. “All the Brock family daughters worked in the business at one time or another,” says Todd, who succeeded her father as president of the company in 2000. “Before dad bought the company, I helped around the Kendallwood development construction site; worked weekends and holidays at Antioch Shopping Center-developed as the first retail center north of the river-as a Santa’s helper, in gift wrap, taking market surveys,: she recalls. “Then as now, we did whatever it took to contribute to the best-in-class offering of all our properties.”
Hers is a business sector that has seen significant increases in opportunities for women. “While the real estate industry, like most, was strongly male-dominated when I started my career, today there seems to be as many smart, successful women in this sector as men,” she says. “Experience, professionalism, relationships, hard work, and a track record of success are not gender-specific criteria. There were some very talented, successful women in real estate that I admired and followed early in my career. Now, there is an incredibly strong presence of women in this sector. The sky is the limit.”
Leading a successful company that is now a woman-owned business, she sees more of the same emerging, particularly for the entrepreneurially inclined. “Research has shown women outnumbering men as college graduates for some time.” Todd says. “Generational change and culture have flung open doors to anyone willing to be innovative, strategic with their risk and persistent in achieving well-articulated goals.”
Despite that, she’s not sure the nation’s businesses have reached a point where c-Suite gender is irrelevant. “However, there is a push here to recruit more women onto corporate boards that will advance a more broad awareness of the value women bring to the table,” Todd says.
published in the October 2015 issue of Ingrams