Executive Women in Business
Marie Gerwig Executive VP, Portfolio Management Colliers International | Baltimore
Tell about your career. I started my career in property management in 1986 as a Lease Administrator, learning the business from the ground up. Property Management has always appealed to my sense of wanting to be helpful and to add value. Although a lot has changed in my 30-year career, the core business of taking care of the Tenants, the Assets and the Investor has never changed. Now I am in the role to oversee and mentor younger people coming into the business and I teach what I have been taught
– Take Good Care of what has been entrusted to you. What qualities do you feel make you most successful? A keen ability to communicate. This means to be able to listen, as much as it means to speak or write. Hearing others and understanding what they are communicating to you, is vital in order for you to complete the interaction successfully. If a tenant calls, angry about a property management issue that is occurring – it is important to hear what they are saying, not how they are saying it. Their business is being impacted and it is your job to alleviate the issue. Leave your ego at the door! Tell us about your family. My partner of 23 years has watched me grow my career through faithful hard work, building my reputation by performing at my best and having a positive impact on those whose business lives I touched. Without her constant support and encouragement, my career would have gone sideways on many occasions as I struggled to conquer self doubts. The adoption of a special needs son from Russia 12 years ago has provided a lot of opportunity for personal growth. It has provided the perspective needed to strike the work/home balance. Autistic children live in the moment and he pulls me into his world the moment I get home every night. Same-sex marriage has afforded us peace of mind to live our lives without thought to the multitude of uncertainties that had before. This has allowed my work/home balance to find the harmony I needed to be successful on both fronts. What advice would you give to a woman going into your allied field? Find a good mentor. Learning the ropes is more than how to climb the ladder. I was blessed to have two very important mentors in my career who took the time to explain the “why” and not just the “how”.
It has made all of the difference.