Women Leaders Find Support and Opportunity at Prologis
Logistics real estate has long been male-dominated. Breakthrough, a Prologis network designed to promote gender diversity and ensure gender equity within the company and across the industry, was founded on a simple premise. “Women represent half the population and half the talent pool,” says Ed Nekritz, Prologis’ chief legal officer and general counsel and Breakthrough board member.
According to Tracy Ward, SVP, Investor Relations, Breakthrough co-founder and current board member, “For the companies that are here to stay, the companies of enduring excellence, attracting and developing female leaders is a key business strategy.”
Grace Leung is succeeding in one of the most male-dominated of all real estate disciplines—development. Leung graduated from UC Berkeley in 1985 with a degree in architecture. Her undergraduate design work on an Oakland, California, community center won her a job straight out of school.
Despite Leung’s strong career start, she did not always feel that the wind was at her back. Early in her career, during a stint at an architecture firm, a particularly demanding client expressed doubt about Leung’s ability to handle an important project. Says Leung, “That experience taught me that people who aren’t familiar with your work may have reservations. However, once they work with you and see that you deliver, their concerns are erased really fast.”
Leung balances her commitment to serve customers and deliver strong returns to investors with equal emphasis on all dimensions of sustainability. Her focus on problem-solving and accomplishment has served her well in her career. She is the driving force behind Prologis’ first LEED certification in China, at Huiyang. In Huiyang and again in Beijing, she deployed LED exterior lighting. For Prologis’ new office in China, she reduced energy use with a combination of LED and T5 lighting, and she sourced furnishings and finished materials free of volatile organic compounds—doing right by her coworkers and the environment. Leung collaborates with local planning authorities to improve the aesthetic impact of her projects on surrounding neighborhoods. In all that she does, she ensures that her work is of the highest caliber and that her employees are fully engaged.
“My major accomplishment is finding the right talent and coaching my best performers,” says Leung. “Without capable professionals who are passionate team players, we will not be able to deliver quality projects and meet our goals.”
Leung is currently guiding her team up the learning curve to master designing for resilience and sustainability in China.
“Together, we are striving for excellence,” she says. “Our goal is to be the best in our business.”