Colleen Wevodau, a recipient of NAIOP’s 2018 Developing Leaders Award, is completely immersed in the real estate industry. She lives and breathes it, and her clients gravitate to her due to her deep understanding of their businesses and her ability to deliver.
Wevodau joined accounting firm Baker Tilly in 2006 and has excelled in forming relationships with clients and building a career focused on commercial real estate. She is actively engaged in the firm’s GROW (Growth and Retention of Women) initiative, which promotes the career development of women leaders in accounting, consulting and business professions, and takes the opportunity to mentor young women who are considering the accounting profession.
Wevodau is invested in NAIOP – from her local NAIOP Northern Virginia chapter to her membership on the Trends II NAIOP National Forum and the Corporate Tax and Finance Subcommittee. She is a NAIOP Research Foundation Visionary, one of a select group of the CRE industry’s rising leaders who are selected to engage with the Foundation’s governors and invited to contribute perspectives toward the Foundation’s research. Outside of NAIOP, she serves on the boards for Calvary Women’s Services and the JDRF Real Estate Games, held annually in Washington, D.C.
NAIOP: How do you keep your long-term professional goals in mind during the course of your daily work?
Wevodau: I believe my day-to-day activities actually prepare me for my long-term goals. Yes, it is sometimes easy to be bogged down with daily administrative tasks, but when I step back and take a minute to re-evaluate, those somewhat mundane tasks are what are actually needed to run a business. And if I want to be successful in my business, I have to balance the big projects with the small tasks. Ultimately, that approach has prepared me to continue to progress and grow in my career.
NAIOP: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Wevodau: Confident humility: Be human like everyone else, care about others and take responsibility for your actions. Leaders earn respect when it is a two-way street, and humility requires leaders to listen and understand others’ needs. Confidence allows them to stand strong and make the tough decisions.
NAIOP: What do you wish you knew when you were first getting involved in commercial real estate?
Wevodau: In general I wish I knew how important relationships were when I started. It can be a small world and many of us in the real estate industry know each other, but it’s big enough that a mentor can help you navigate it all. Making connections and building upon those relationships has helped support me in my career.
This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2018 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s CRE.Converge 2018 conference in Washington, D.C. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program.
Marie Ruff is Communications Senior Manager at NAIOP.