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Women need to be bigger advocates for themselves and for other women”, With Jason Hartman & Lynette Grinter

A lot of women I know prove themselves first, and let the work speak for itself. Men tend to carry the confidence first, take on challenges and prove themselves later. Women need to be bigger advocates for themselves and for other women because of this. Men need to see the capabilities in women despite maybe […]

A lot of women I know prove themselves first, and let the work speak for itself. Men tend to carry the confidence first, take on challenges and prove themselves later. Women need to be bigger advocates for themselves and for other women because of this. Men need to see the capabilities in women despite maybe not having the experience.


Asa part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynette Grinter. Lynette leads marketing at Truss, a marketplace for businesses to lease office space, and has scaled the business to reach thousands of customers. Prior to Truss, Lynette led ecommerce growth at Guaranteed Rate, Ticketmaster Resale and several venture-backed startups. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing at Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.


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

It really happened by virtue of technology. My background in digital marketing gave me experience with cutting edge consumer technology brands, but later I saw the enormous need for the real estate industry to embrace technology. Things like scalable personalization — reaching the right person with the right message at the right time were a huge opportunity. I saw it as an exciting time to bring those capabilities to make the customer experience in real estate better.

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?

At Guaranteed Rate, I managed the media launch of naming the Chicago White Sox stadium Guaranteed Rate Field. There was nothing like standing on the field, working on media interviews and watching #GuaranteedRateField start trending on Twitter. Within the first 24 hours, we had 22,000 comments, many of them negative, as Twitter will do. We shifted the narrative into the real success story — about a hometown entrepreneur bootstrapping a business to partner with a national icon like the Chicago White Sox. Ultimately that story resulted in a whopping 64 news stories.

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

Truss is an online marketplace that helps entrepreneurs lease space when they might previously have been ignored. The segment is large enough and our platform helps streamline the process so that Truss is able to help this underserved market. And the results speak for themselves. Every time we publish a new story about a customer who found their space with Truss, we see a lot of enthusiasm about taking the pain out of the process.

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

The Truss platform is streamlining the office leasing process using technology for entrepreneurs and startups. The market is at an interesting inflection point with so many coworking providers, and we are seeing a shift towards what the businesses renting space want. Truss is in a perfect position to show all of the options so they can make faster decisions.

For example, there have been startup clients that get funding and need to double their space within the month. We’ve helped people sign for new space in as little as five days so they can focus on growing the business.

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?

There are a ton of mentors on the way that have influenced me, whether with the skills of marketing, management or being a true influencer in an organization. At Guaranteed Rate, my CMO really helped me push my creative limits. In marketing, everything starts and ends with the creative. Doing the research to understand our customers, building a brand that resonates with that audience and then evaluating whether it worked. Often times reiterating the creative process again when results aren’t there. It was fun to build a brand talking to our audience like you’d explain it to your best friend. His insight to ‘just roll with it’ and create marketing that speaks like real people would always resonate with 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?

I think it’s partly that women aren’t in leadership positions so there is no one for junior people to emulate and look up to. And without a clear path to success, they may leave the industry.

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

Women who are in the coveted leadership positions can mentor and empower other women in their companies or industry. I find it’s fulfilling to give back by sharing some lessons learned, whether it’s how to navigate politics in the office or positioning yourself for success. Men can recognize the gender gap and give women a voice.

Companies who offer flexibility will help support women with families. Right now, technology is helping provide that flexibility, whether it’s using Zoom meetings, Slack channels or Expensify, work can be done remotely. And with all sorts of coworking options, we are seeing companies split offices that make it easier to commute. Companies who embrace options like these will build loyalty.

Society can support things like required paid maternity leave and diversity in the workforce that are proven to drive higher loyalty to companies.

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

A lot of women I know prove themselves first, and let the work speak for itself. Men tend to carry the confidence first, take on challenges and prove themselves later. Women need to be bigger advocates for themselves and for other women because of this. Men need to see the capabilities in women despite maybe not having the experience.

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

There is an enormous shift in the way ownership groups are building out their space, and renting their space based on the success of coworking. We’re seeing new segments of coworking, some tailored towards luxury, women only, pet friendly and creative segments. We’re seeing restaurants being used as coworking during the day. It’s interesting to see the demand for flexibility, a previously untapped need, evolve into these trends.

And the commercial side of the industry is beginning to leverage technology like Truss. Features like touring online, comparing spaces and selecting favorites were features that I worked on in travel and ticketing years ago, but are only now being integrated into commercial real estate.

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?

The continued reliance on manual efforts, when there is an opportunity to scale using technology. Brokers who call dozens of property owners for pricing on space instead of leveraging data from a reliable source is an example. It is not providing the real time experience that customers have come to expect.

The culture of the industry is focused on relationships, which is good, but the drawback of this is that new technologies aren’t always taken as seriously as in other industries, and have a harder time breaking through to provide a better experience.

As far as improving the industry:

  1. Implementing data platforms across the industry would be a great first step, so technology solutions can create more efficiencies and transparency of commercial real estate buildings.
  2. Larger companies supporting nascent technology providers would help prioritize the customer experience.
  3. And recognizing the flexibility that customers are looking for and providing solutions will be key to growth.

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

Focus on the opportunities for growth, not what you can’t do. With technology evolving, there are a lot of expectations from customers that commercial real estate solutions can provide. The founders at Truss have helped us bring the technology to the market, and empowered me to shout it from the rooftops through our marketing. It’s been fun building our marketing and seeing it work to help entrepreneurs lease their perfect space.

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. Get to know the industry — attend conferences, listen to podcasts, read the publications.
  2. Make every contact count — demonstrate you’ve done your homework on what customer needs are and how you can provide the solution. Truss does this in our marketing outreach all the time.
  3. Leverage social media — have an opinion and use your own voice. Authenticity is key
  4. Explore technology — is there a way to make a manual process easier? Probably.
  5. Talk to people the way they want to talk. Texting, Email, Phone, all of the above will help your business.

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. 🙂

Just treat people how you want to be treated.

How can our readers follow you online?

@lynettegrinter on twitter

www.linkedin.com/in/lynettegrinter/ on LinkedIn

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!

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