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Because of our culture, the percentage of women in C-suite roles nationwide is very low. This is changing, but it will take some time. If you are a woman who wants to make her way up to a senior position in the real estate industry, you have to be persistent and have people by your side that want to see you advance. Be smart and be adaptable.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Alletto.
Christina is the chief people officer for Tzadik Management, an industry-leading multi-family property management company based in Miami, Florida. She is also the president of JM Real Estate, Inc., a commercial management, leasing and sales company based in Brevard County, Florida. Tzadik Management acquired JM Real Estate, Inc. in 2020.
Alletto spearheaded the integration process between the two companies, working to effectively assimilate Tzadik’s technology-focused approach into JM’s day-to-day business diligence. She oversees the HR, marketing and training departments for both Tzadik and JM.
She works to find the right people who fit with the company’s culture, creates employee engagement, successfully merges marketing and customer service initiatives, and creates training platforms to set both employees and management up for success.
In May 2016, Alletto joined Tzadik as its chief revenue officer. She later became the head of both the senior regional management team and human resources department. In addition, she played a crucial role in the company’s third-party management push. Her client development efforts propelled Tzadik’s expansion into Texas, South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, all within six months. Overall, Alletto facilitated Tzadik’s growth from just over 1,000 units throughout Florida to more than 10,000 units throughout the country.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

While I was in college studying to become a teacher, I was working part-time at a restaurant in a Holiday Inn. A developer from Cleveland, Ohio, and his partner were staying at the hotel for a few weeks and they kept telling me that I should work in real estate. Eventually, I took a part-time job with their company while I was still in school. Then, I got promoted and was offered a full-time time job. I’ve remained working in the real estate industry from that point on.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

Throughout my career, there have been multiple occasions where the company I worked for didn’t have the funds to hire an interior designer or a new contractor after one was fired. That’s when I stepped up and started taking college courses for interior and historic design, green space planning and general construction. I obtained my general contractors license in Ohio and North Carolina in order to build out several projects. The biggest lesson I learned from working at a smaller company for almost 30 years was that you always need to be able to adapt to just about anything. As long as you are willing to learn, and have the backing of the company and the team, you can go after anything you want.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, I have been working nonstop since the COVID-19 pandemic hit to make sure that we survive as a company and don’t have to make massive layoffs like other companies have had to do. It was important for us to quickly get organized and provide safety measures so that our employees felt safe in the office and our residents felt safe in their homes. We didn’t close any of our offices during the pandemic and were there 24/7 to assist our residents. We provided our on-site employees with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and kept supplies stocked.
JM Real Estate and Tzadik Management also put together a company stimulus package that helped their employees navigate the new normal and meet new demands. Employees could bring their kids to work and were also offered a bonus to go toward added expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those expenses include hand sanitizer, child daycare, indoor children’s toys, TV streaming programs memberships, and more.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes JM Real Estate, Inc., and Tzadik Management unique is the culture and high level of employee engagement. Employee engagement for most companies is 76% and we are at 83.7% because we believe in putting our people first. We’ve developed a culture where our employees know that we will be there for them no matter what. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, 98% of our employees showed up in the to work, in our offices and on-site at properties.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Early in my career, a Housing rep from the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal, who inspected the properties I was working at, saw something in me. He said he wanted to teach me everything he knew about real estate and the mechanics of the building(s) so that I could grow in the field. At that time, it was very rare for a woman to be in a senior position, such as a regional manager or vice president, and non-existent in a C-suite position. Women were mostly janitors, administrators, or leasing agents. He gave me a wealth of education, confidence and opened many doors for me.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?

Because of our culture, the percentage of women in C-suite roles nationwide is very low. This is changing, but it will take some time. If you are a woman who wants to make her way up to a senior position in the real estate industry, you have to be persistent and have people by your side that want to see you advance. Be smart and be adaptable.

What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?

  1. Remove the bias and the stereotypes.
  2. Figure out ways to support valuable employees who have to balance home schooling their children and keeping their job. Women make up 39% of the global job market, yet they account for 54% of the job losses during the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. A number of countries led by women have fared much better than male-led countries. During this pandemic, we need figure out why that is. Woman tend to lean toward collaboration and people skills. We need talent to get out of this crisis. How do we get all of the talent we need by ignoring half of our population?

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

If you are a younger woman who is having kids, you have to make the decision of whether or not to stay home with your child or go back to work and make sure someone else can take care of your child. I was blessed to work for a company that was flexible and allowed me to be adaptable when I had young kids, but not everyone has that.
Also, it is more acceptable for a man to be assertive and aggressive when speaking to others, but when a woman exhibits those qualities it’s often viewed as emotional. There is still the stereotype that men can do things better than women.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?

  1. It’s everchanging
  2. It allows you to learn something new every day
  3. You can be involved in the communities and make them better

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

  1. There are too many people that don’t have the opportunity to have decent housing because of the way that our political system works. We have to make housing a main focus and find out how other countries have successfully done it.
  2. Prioritize American renters on all levels. Even before COVID-19, one in four Americans could not afford their rent.
  3. Bring back programs designed to help renters that also give reasonable incentives for developers to create affordable housing.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?

Put your people first. If you don’t, no matter how much money you’re making, you won’t be successful in the end. People will do so much for you and will jump in when things get hard if you put them first. It’s all about making sure your people feel cared for.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Adaptability will help you change as the market and times are changing.
  2. Get all the education that you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean learning at college. Find a mentor and ask questions about what they do and how they do it. My mentor was a lady who was my rep and would inspect the properties I was involved in. She believed in me and taught me everything she knew about the industry to help me succeed.
  3. Never stop learning. Even when you’re at a senior level position, always be open to learning something new. I try to learn something new every day.
  4. Meet as many people as you can. Real estate all about building and maintaining relationships.
  5. Don’t burn bridges. Real estate is a very small world and you never know when you may cross paths with someone again.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 26 million are about to lose their home and we can’t let that happen. We owe it to ours kids and the generations to come to figure out how to correct something that’s not the fault of the people who are being affected. Yes, some of those 26 million people may not have been great tenants who always paid their rent on time, but that’s not the majority. Most of the people who will be affected are those that live paycheck to paycheck. We need some type of financial assistance package so that millions of people aren’t left without a home.

How can our readers follow you online?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-alletto-463b703a

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!