Prestigious Women Awards Honorees: Suzanne Hollander
Professor Suzanne Hollander is a real estate attorney, speaker on property rights, housing, women empowerment. The U.S. State Department appointed Suzanne to its Fulbright Specialist Roster as Expert in Real Estate. Suzanne is a Professor in FIU’s Hollo School of Real Estate and is FIU’s Office to Advance Women & Equity Diversity Program Director, Professional Development.
Favorite quote: Education is the most powerful weapon in the world. – Nelson Mandela and “Women Belong in All Places Decision are Being Made” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Fun fact: I author the blog www.professorrealestate.com, providing real estate education to the nation and helping people make smarter decisions in real estate.
How do you unwind after a long day of work? Watch telenovelas from Latin America and Spain.
What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? As a woman in the male-dominated field of real estate, my major challenge has been to content with the “old boys club.” The “old boys club” is a cliché referring to professions dominated by men who may bend rules to promote themselves and their buddies to meet their needs. Here, when a woman speaks up, the “old boys club” may bully, ignore, make fun of, isolate, deny promotion and funding, or even reassign her from her business area of expertise role into a “diversity role” to stop her from rocking the boat.
I address this challenge by taking steps to build my knowledge, skills and reputation in real estate, build a my network of real estate leaders who support the promotion of competent women – all to provide me a solid respected foundation to expand my role, and, opportunities in the male dominated business and to persistently speak up on behalf of fellow women.
A strong movement for environmental, social governance and diversity is sweeping through multinational companies around the world. The old boy network is a dinosaur, and those academic institutions or businesses that preserve it by turning a blind eye or sweeping complaints under the rug are today getting called out because such behavior is increasingly no longer being tolerated.
What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? If you can see it, you can be it” is a saying I know is true. I am the only woman professor in the FIU Hollo School of Real Estate, where I have been teaching for over 11 years, and, I am the only woman leading FIU’s large scale commercial real estate events. I am also the only attorney most of my first-generation-in-college students know. I am proud that many women students see me as a role model, and, elect to pursue careers in commercial real estate, elect to go to law school or decide to become property owners after taking my classes, often remarking to me that “I want to be like you.”
Who are your role models? Women who stand up for themselves, women who are firm and fair. The poet, Maya Angelo said, “when a woman speaks up for herself she speaks up for all women.” I agree.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Work, don’t worry. Prepare in advance to be ready for opportunities.
What advice would you give a young woman at the start of her career? You can do it! The journey of one million miles begins with one step. Step by step, build yourself into the person you want to be by deliberately choosing experiences that challenge you, move you out of your comfort zone and help you achieve heights you never thought possible.
How does being a woman has impacted your career? Being a woman in an all-male department and a male-dominated industry makes me work harder to build my professional skills and reputation in real estate, build a my network of real estate leaders who support the promotion of competent women.
I stand up for diversity and inclusion in academia and business. I speak internationally, nationally and locally on my expert subject area, real estate, property rights and development, and, I also speak on women empowerment and inclusion. I am an appointed member of the Commercial Real Estate Women’s (“CREW”) Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. I am a board Member of 100 Women in Finance and CREW Miami. This past year I was an invited speaker to the U.S. State Department’s WeAmerica’s Women Empowerment Program for Latin American Women Entrepreneurs, for Bacardi’s Annual Women in the Workforce Symposium and for Urban Land Institute Women’s Initiative.