A man's world? Not anymore: Q&A with Avery Rogers


Avery Rogers, a development manager at Beauxwright, shares her perspective on being a young woman in the traditionally male-dominated world of commercial real estate.

What drove you to consider a career in commercial real estate? And what drew you to the market of Charlotte, NC?

Working in the industry always seemed like a potential option growing up, as I’d watched both my parents establish careers in real estate in Charlotte. I originally thought I wanted to move out West given the amount of real estate activity I could cut my teeth on in gateway cities like Los Angeles, but I started noticing a flurry of development activity – most notably around South End – in 2017 after being home a few times over the holidays. The opportunity to gain experience in a growing city that 1) had enough new opportunities for a green broker to participate in and 2) was somewhere I could see myself growing roots in the future was the appeal I needed to pivot my target to finding a job in Charlotte vs. starting over again in California.

Unsurprisingly, the gap between Uptown and South End is being filled with Class A office and multifamily product. What I didn’t expect was a global pandemic to result in a population shift from higher-cost markets to Charlotte that has been driving unprecedented demand and pushing development to move at a breakneck pace.

I also don’t think I could have predicted the amount of out-of-state capital that would be interested in investing in Charlotte and the emerging submarkets where many of these groups are investing (i.e. Sugar Creek, North End). I blame what I call the “native mentality” for capping what could be imagined and built in a growing, melting pot like Charlotte. What I’ve enjoyed so much about working at Beauxwright is that we make strategic investments in Charlotte’s emerging neighborhoods when the timing is right. I’ve been able to break my traditional thinking with Beauxwright and our success in these areas has led other natives to break traditional thinking as well.

You describe a childhood of running around warehouses and following your dad to meetings. Did he encourage your interest at that time in the business, or did it just flow from those or other experiences? What other work/life advice has he offered you?

I’ve always been encouraged to take a look at CRE because my family thought it would be a good fit for my personality, and they were ultimately right. It’s a very entrepreneurial business and your success is not dictated by your pedigree, but by your work ethic and ingenuity. No day is ever the same, which makes it very fun. The business can make great leaders from those who accept and learn from the many different challenges one faces on a project, especially as a developer. My interest in this industry came from diving in myself rather than the influences of my family. It’s easy to catch “the bug” when you’re in this line of work. I’m lucky that I get to share my love of working and this business with my family who can relate to the experiences I have working with the Beauxwright team.

Are there female business people that have inspired you or encouraged you? What professional groups are you involved in that specifically support women in CRE or related industries?

Charlotte has some great examples of well-established female leaders that have paved the way for women like me to have a seat at the table and try to make an impact. Take Mayor Vi Lyles, for example. She is a woman of color creating change in a historically Caucasian, male-dominated position. I’ve been encouraged by several women in the commercial real estate industry who took the time to meet with me and provide words of wisdom when I was first breaking into real estate in 2018. It’s really fun when our roles cross paths and I’m able to work with them in my current position. Real estate makes the world feel very small and I not only get to regularly interact with and learn from women who have established careers in the industry, but also engage with other women my age who are continuing to trail blaze a path for women in real estate.

The Junior League of Charlotte is my primary outlet for giving back to the community and making connections with other professional business women. This year, I’ve been a part of JLC’s Leadership Development Institute, which selects 24 women for leadership training through guest speaker workshops, social engagement, and community service. Junior League, and specifically the leadership program, has grown my professional network of women and has given me insight into how to face my own career-related challenges through others’ experiences and advice.

Do you consider Charlotte a progressive city as far as you being accepted into CRE business circles, or have you had to make a special effort? How has the rest of the Beauxwright team supported you?

As mentioned before, Charlotte has an ample sample size of successful businesswomen in and out of real estate, which would categorize it as a progressive Southern city and has made my career in CRE extremely fun and fulfilling. I think it’s good business practice to make a special effort to actively expand your network, have a work ethic of 110% and put your best foot forward, whether male or female. Now, if you do the aforementioned actions as a woman to set yourself apart, people may take notice, which in turn can further justify your position in a male-dominated industry like real estate. The Beauxwright team has guiding principles and a mission statement that naturally lend our culture to being one of equal opportunity. The guys support me on a day-to-day basis and I know they don’t have to think about it because it is in their nature.

At this point in your Beauxwright tenure, how have you been received by colleagues outside of the company? What’s your biggest challenge in proving yourself?

Beauxwright is built on a foundation of great relationships and working with people who have a similar mindset. Given such, the groups we work with outside of the company are all people who I would want to grab a beer with and in tandem, would want to grab a beer with the guys AND me! Some of the biggest challenges that I face in proving myself are combating the stigmas of (obviously) gender and age. As a young woman in real estate, it can be easy to fall into the trap of always wanting to have an opinion or speaking up in a meeting because you want to prove your worth. I like to remind myself that I have two ears and one mouth for a reason and I work with incredibly smart and hard-working people that I should be learning from and listening to every day. At the end of the day, good work speaks for itself.

What career path advice would you offer to a younger woman who’s aiming to be in the CRE business? Is being a mentor part of your personal mission?

My go-to advice for young women looking to enter the real estate industry is that you can never over-network with people in the business. Learning from other people’s experiences will help you narrow down your interest in an industry with a wide array of career paths. In addition, stay humble, but hungry. Dedicate your time to learning the market, but don’t burn yourself out by trying to know everything.

I love mentoring and being a resource for other young women. Building authentic relationships is rewarding for me and I believe including more women in this business is critical. Real estate intel is largely learned over time so it’s my mission to share what I know so that women I mentor can get their feet under them quicker than I did. If I can help one woman feel more comfortable about earning a career in commercial real estate, it’s the most satisfying reward!

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