Lauren Plant was in for a dose of culture shock when she left her position at Cambridge Assoc. in Boston in favor of a new job at Hudson-based real estate developer Calare Properties.
While the position in investor relations offered an opportunity for professional advancement, the 30-year-old Plant made the switch from a large organization to a small one, from an urban workplace to a rural one, and from a diverse workforce to a company where she was the only female employee.
“We’re out in Hudson, and it’s kind of out in nowhere compared with Boston,” Plant said. “And the world that I’m in is predominantly men. There’s only so many ways men can work together, because you can get sick of the same mentality, and it’s good to get a female approach to it.”
Since joining Calare in March 2014, the Gibbs College graduate has been an advocate of reshaping the company’s culture to make it more hospitable to women. Calare executives, Plant said, have recognized the need to diversify the company’s workforce, hiring a consultant to advise them on recruiting and hiring women and minorities. Plant is now one of eight female employees.
Her responsibilities include fundraising from institutions and other investors to support Calare’s rapid growth, having acquired more than 15 million square feet of commercial real estate worth $650 million in little over a decade since its founding.
To support the fundraising mission, she’s also been active in raising the company’s profile as Calare expands its marketing division. Plant urged executives to update the company’s original logo and modernize its website.
“I said, ‘You know, guys, if you really want to get the name out there, you’ve really got to get out there and make (the logo) more appealing,’” she recalled.
Calare hired Cambridge-based Agency 3.0 to revamp the logo and website. Then Plant, who is responsible for uploading investor statements, quarterly reports and tax documents, worked virtually around the clock redesigning the investor portal to make it make it more user-friendly.
Plant credits Calare executives, including President Bryan Blake and Director of Marketing Charles Nolfi, with fostering a workplace culture that encourages employees to speak their mind – not that Plant needed much encouragement.
“That’s never been a problem for me,” she said.
Outside the office, Plant volunteers for the Best Buddies Massachusetts and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Leominster native grew up in an artistic family, with an accomplished pianist father, and she took up ballet at age 3. A former member of Danceworks Boston, she now coaches a team of girls ages 3 to 11 at the Harvard Academy of Dance with a lifelong friend.
“We have a passion for everything we do,” she said.