IN PICTURES: Leading ladies put their best feet forward at 2017 Women’s Forum

Nearly 400 men and women were drawn to the New York Bar Associate Building in midtown today (Wednesday) for the 6th annual Real Estate Weekly Women’s Forum.

Co-hosted by EisnerAmper and CREW-NY, the event gathered 16 of the industry’s most influential female players to discuss a plethora of issues.

Thanking Real Estate Weekly for its leadership in gathering “the incredible women in housing, finance, real estate and construction,” for a morning of debate and discussion, keynote speaker Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said,  “I am floored by the gutsy women getting projects financed and built in this town.

“These are industries that have their reputation for being a bit of a boy’s club. But from my perch at City Hall, I’m lucky to spend a good part of my day across the table from smart, funny, driven women in these sectors that are literally building the city around us.”

Throughout the morning, speakers including Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin, NYCHA boss Shola Olatoye, Greystone EB5 expert Alison Berman and architect Nancy Ruddy zeroed in on issues ranging from sustainable building to foreign finance, infrastructure programs to the next big things.

With her firm’s  reputation as a neighborhood trailblazer, Extell SVP Raizy Haas said the Lower East Side could be the next hot new neighborhood. Since her company began its record-breaking One Manhattan Square, three more developers have already begun building along the waterfront there.

Langan principal Michele O’Connor said  companies like hers are working hard to make sure that the technology exists to ensure that developers can bring their visions to reality regardless of the physical  landscape they are building on.

EisnerAmper’s Deborah Friesland moderated an insightful Changing Strategies panel that heard Harbor Group’s Lane Shea report how Uber Pool is  transforming so-called transit deserts and creating a shift among millennials now moving to places away from subway lines.

With a focus on real estate technology, TenX head of sales Camille Renshaw lamented: “You think there are no women in real estate? Come over to fintech.”

As she discussed the changing political landscape with fellow panelists, JP Morgan managing director Priscilla Almodovar said hopes for comprehensive tax reform under President Trump  have lessened and it is too early to tell who  the winners and losers would be.

And Shola Olatoye said, with so much wealth in the city “we should help people who are not institutional investors to fund housing.”

Speaking after the event, Real Estate Weekly publisher Chris Hagedorn said he has been proud to host the Women’s Forum  for the past six years.  “Every year, I believe we have heard from some of the very best in the business, and every year I am not disappointed.

“The quality and quantity of successful female executives in our business is something that we feel privileged to showcase and if our event encourages others to follow suit, then the real estate industry will be the better for it.”

Photos by Holly Dutton

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