February 21, 2024

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BCREW celebration
While more and more women have flocked to roles in residential real estate sales and management over the past several decades, the commercial sector has been slower to evolve.
It’s a situation that Bayleys Real Estate is working hard to address within its own team, through some key appointments and a dedicated focus on not just recruiting more women into sales and management roles, but supporting them to success with initiatives like the networking and mentoring group Bayleys Commercial Real Estate Women (BCREW).
BCREW is the brainchild of former New Zealand deputy prime minister, now Bayleys national director of customer engagement and advisory, Paula Bennett, who has been charged with attracting and supporting more women into the company’s commercial division.
“Bayleys has really given me a lot of scope to work in that area,” Bennett says. “In the last 18 months, we have doubled the number of women brokers we have. But it’s not just about attracting them, it’s about retaining them. So, we’re constantly looking at ways to make this a place that women choose to come and work.”
BCREW will play an essential part in that, she says, by providing opportunities for women in the company to connect, network and build relationships.
“We look at things like how we keep women connected to the business who need to take time out for family commitments, because that can look quite different in a commission-based organisation.”
One recent BCREW event saw Bayleys’ female commercial brokers attend a two-day event in Auckland that included a pitching workshop as well as networking sessions and speeches by other leading female property and industry leaders such as Angela Bull from TRAMCO, Gail Calder from Fonterra and Property Council New Zealand chief executive, Leonie Freeman.
Freeman’s advice for women in commercial property is to consider what motivates any feedback they might get. “Sometimes you get feedback on being female but just as often you would get comments for being young and entrepreneurial, but how it affects you comes back to what your purpose is.
“If you’re trying to create genuine disruptive change, that frightens some people so you have to look at the feedback you’re getting and ask yourself if it is genuine feedback or someone’s response to changes they don’t want.”
Wellington commercial broker Bhakti Mistry says seeing women succeed in commercial property is the best way to keep attracting other women into the sector. “There are more and more women in every aspect of what we do, whether it’s on boards, in business or among investors. It’s good to have those different perspectives on both sides of a deal.”
Bayleys South Auckland commercial broker Jordan Brown began her career as an administrator for the Bayleys Central West Auckland commercial and industrial team. With a deep passion for property and a desire for professional growth, Brown made the leap to get her licence, having admired the handful of women then working in the commercial sector.
“I watched those ladies push the boundaries of an industry that was very stuck in its ways. I wanted to take on the challenge and pave the way for others like me.”
Bayleys Nelson commercial broker Gill Ireland’s advice to other women entering the industry is to not take any nonsense.
“You have just as much right to be there. Some doors might close, but you just have to move on to the next door.
“It is great to see Bayleys being so proactive about getting more women into the industry. That has really been championed by Mike Bayley and Ryan Johnson and it is paying dividends,” she says.
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New Zealand
Bayleys is New Zealand’s largest full-service real estate company. We offer expertise in the marketing and sale of a wide range of property, including residential real estate, farms and lifestyle blocks, and commercial and industrial property. This includes tourism and business sales such as hotels and motels. We also cover the real estate markets in Fiji and other Pacific Islands.
Bayleys also provides a complete property and facilities service including property management and valuations teams focused on achieving both Owner and Tenant satisfaction.
No other real estate company can match our breadth of coverage across all market sectors throughout New Zealand.

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