Pay It Forward: "Be Accessible, Dependable, and Always Take The High Road"
Jan 21, 2022
"Women must become allies to one another, sharing valuable experiences and encouraging each other to take on new challenges," says Kate Keller of Keller Augusta.
Kate Keller, principal, Keller Augusta.
Area of expertise: Recruitment, commercial real estate. Keller spearheads business development and executive-level searches, guiding teams on the various considerations associated with effective human capital and organizational management.
What has been your biggest challenge as a woman in your particular role and how have you overcome those obstacles? Remaining persistent throughout each step of my career development was crucial in setting myself apart in a historically male-dominated industry. As a recent graduate focused on amplifying my own small business, it was imperative to build relationships with not only my peers but industry leaders, seeking mentors and networking opportunities.
As principal of your own company, what are you most happy with? Dedicated to developing and fostering relationships, I have built a robust network, staying connected with the individuals that served as my mentors and counseling my fellow peers on career development strategies. This network has played a pivotal role in helping me grow and build Keller Augusta into a well-known, respected search and advisory firm.
What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you succeed in your industry? With a career in a people-based business, it is critical to be consistent with everyone across the board, both candidates and clients. Taking the time to engage with individuals, acting as a mentor and being courteous of someone’s time is essential in building bridges and strengthening one’s network. Lastly, be accessible, dependable, and always take the high road.
Would you advise any younger person to begin a career in CRE? There are endless opportunities within CRE based on the various sectors and job functions. Thus, CRE brings together individuals with different skillsets and backgrounds to form dynamic and collaborative teams. Essentially, there is a role for everyone based on their specific interests and talents.
As a fast-paced industry, it is paramount to take the time to build your network by scheduling meetings and helping others pay it forward. Additionally, young professionals need to have an entrepreneurial mindset, seeking out associations and programs focused on providing members with the resources to elevate their careers.
Please share with us a surprising component about your journey. Similarly, to most entrepreneurs, my first year of business consisted of several learning moments that would shape the progression of my career. I was a recent graduate, taking a bet on herself, cold calling prospects with my elevator pitch.
After deciding to amicably split from my business partner, my biggest ‘aha’ moment came after successfully sourcing several placements for Stride. I then pivoted from IT placements to CRE placements, continuously expanding my team and the firm’s geographic footprint. Committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive pipeline, I am proud to be the principal of a women-owned and operated company, leading by example and guiding companies on internal processes to advance women’s careers.
Where would you say commercial real estate needs to improve for women? CRE leaders must continue to promote inclusivity in the industry, implementing equitable and inclusive programs with actionable goals, to proactively support women in the workplace. These programs should make sure women get the credit they deserve, support mentorship and sponsorship and give women equal pay.
How can women better position themselves for success both in general and in your specific area of focus? Women must become allies to one another, sharing valuable experiences and encouraging each other to take on new challenges.
What, in particular, can women bring to the table and the industry comes out of the COVID-19 crisis? The pandemic taught all industries the eminence of adaptability. Women are revolutionizing the workplace, bringing new visions for management strategies. With studies showing effective leadership is gender-balanced, the key attributes female must ‘bring to the table’ include the ability to collaborate, multitask, and understand the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to retain top talent achieve a company’s long-term goals.