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The New Closers: Why JRT Realty Rising Star Lauren Calandriello Is One To Watch

By: Miram Hall, Bisnow New York

Lauren Calandriello’s path to commercial real estate was, in her own words, kind of random. Now a JRT Realty Group real estate associate, she was introduced to the firm’s CEO, Jodi Pulice, after taking a college study abroad program in Italy alongside Pulice’s son back in 2012. Pulice, always on the lookout for young talent, invited her in for a job interview two years later.

“[Pulice] likes to hire young women into the business and train them up, because it’s a very male-dominated field,” said Calandriello, who has been with the firm for nearly five years and was named 2018 Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year by the Real Estate Board of New York this spring.

“As soon as she called me, I said ‘yes,'” Calndriello said. “I really liked the idea of being part of a certified [Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise] because, again, in this industry it’s still so male-dominated, to be a part of this kind of company gives me an edge.”

Standing out in the intensely competitive environment of New York City commercial real estate brokerage is a gauntlet. Many of the city’s most established brokers reflect on their early years, and the process of building key relationships and winning clients, as enormously challenging.

Women in the industry face a unique set of obstacles to navigate. While there is no denying there are a number of highly successful women who have reached the upper levels of the business, most real estate companies are still led by men.

A gender pay gap persists, too; across commercial real estate, women earn a median wage of $115K, compared to $150K for men, according to the Commercial Real Estate Women Network’s most recent benchmark study in 2015. That works out to be an average income gap of 23.3%.

Calandriello has heard the war stories from her more experienced female colleagues. Pulice often recounts times when, in her early career as a broker, she was asked to take notes or get coffee. But Calandriello believes working at JRT — which was established in 1996 and is said to be the largest woman-owned commercial real estate firm in the United States — has afforded her more training and mentoring than she would have access to at a larger firm.

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