Title: Managing Principal for New England, Cushman & Wakefield
Experience: 33 years
Prior to her elevation to managing principal of Cushman & Wakefield’s New England operations in late May, Carolyn Sidor led the firm’s national specialty practice group operations. After years of substantial travel, taking charge of the company’s New England operations feels like a homecoming, said Sidor, a former executive at Colliers International and CB Richard Ellis, who joined Cushman & Wakefield in November 2012.
Q: How long did the selection process take for your new position?
A: I heard about the opportunity last fall when Joe Fallon said he was thinking about relinquishing his managing principal duties, and thought I might be a candidate for the role. I’d never actually considered the opportunity because I really loved my national role, connecting with people across the platform. But I was intrigued by the notion of coming back to Boston. The leadership did the right thing vetting candidates and figuring out who would be the best person for the role. I’ve been doing a lot of listening and enjoy shifting my lens to the local scene.
Q: Which divisions within Cushman & Wakefield are a priority for growth?
A: I’m responsible for growth in New England – that includes Boston, Hartford and New Hampshire – and making sure we continue to build a platform here. The Cushman & Wakefield brand is 100 years old this year, amazingly, and it’s pretty iconic. Globally we have 46,000 employees. Locally we’ve had tremendous success representing tenants for a long time and helping them with business challenges including projects and development, lease administration and audit, strategic consulting and financial analysis.
One priority for our growth is our investor services platform. That’s agency leasing, capital markets, asset services. These are services that Cushman & Wakefield historically has provided and been a benchmark for, and we want to build that up in the Boston area. We’ve had some recent wins like The District in Burlington and Metro North Corporate Center (in Woburn) and downtown listings. Our landlords tell us they want greater access to tenants which, given the history of our office, we’re uniquely position to provide. Our project development services are poised to grow locally as well as nationally. I’m going to be taking a hard look at our specialties here and what we can continue to build, but it could be too soon to say after six weeks.
Q: As one of the highest-profile female real estate executives in the Boston area, how would you characterize women’s progress in the industry?
A: There are a lot of success stories over the years. Our top two producers globally over the last two years were women. (Regional Managing Principal) Roberta Liss oversees the New England and mid-Atlantic markets (for Cushman & Wakefield). Mary Doyle leads our asset services, and Barbara Elia leads portfolio management. When you think about it, it’s like, “Whoa, we’re not doing too badly.” Ultimately women and men rise to the top by virtue of working incredibly hard, and something as basic as a willingness to listen.
Q: What about racial diversity?
A: I’m not going to lie: as an industry I don’t think we’ve done a great job on this front. That’s an honest response. But our corporate leadership is really quite passionate about this. Companies with diversity perform better. We look more like our clients, we’re more resilient and we’re better overall at retaining talent.
Cushman & Wakefield has a diversity and inclusion council that’s new this year. The company did start a women’s integrated network last fall, so there’s a way to bring women together to share information, best practices, helping people develop leadership skills. More affinity groups are in the works. One that’s already launched in the company and we’re going to do here shortly is a future leaders group.
Q: In your career have you seen other times when there were so many job opportunities in the industry?
A: I can’t remember a time that would be similar but that speaks volumes in terms of the opportunities for folks to be able to get into this business. There’s more awareness of the industry than there was 10 or 20 years ago. I’m not sure people knew 30 years ago you could have a career in commercial real estate. They didn’t recruit on campus. It was not something they felt the need to do for whatever reason. But some companies have woken up and they understand the fight for talent is fierce. Everyone wants to foster an environment that’s a great place to work.
Sidor’s Top 5 Sports Accomplishments As A Non-Athlete:
- Winning the 2013 office Masters golf pool
- Winning the 2006 office NCAA March Madness pool
- Co-leading the Newton North High School Gridiron Club in 2010
- Finding and surviving “Baseball Heaven” on Long Island on a 30-degree March day in 2005
- Watching every single pitch of the 2004 Red Sox playoff and World Series run