Building success in real estate: Deborah Avery of PBA reflects on the impact of consistency, kindness and determination in her career

This International Women’s Day, PBA is proud to put the spotlight on a few of the women who are critical to the success of our business. From their tenacity and expertise to their leadership and passion, these women are truly raising the bar for the next generation – and breaking barriers along the way.

Deborah Avery serves as a senior property manager at PBA and has worked for our company for 10 years. Deborah oversees the day-to-day management of all of PBA’s properties, ensuring optimal tenant relations through her friendly demeanour and exceptional customer service. In addition to cultivating positive relationships with suppliers and contractor partners, Deborah plays an instrumental role in formulating, executing and monitoring all operating budgets for the organization.

Deborah’s foray into real estate began in residential sales – and unfortunately, she experienced gender discrimination at her first interview: “I was told that based on my age and gender, it probably wouldn’t be long before I was having children and that didn’t fit with the company’s direction.” While some might take this as a signal to exit the industry, it had the opposite effect on Deborah making her more determined to prove herself and her capabilities. From that moment forward, Deborah was extremely intentional in the way she showed up to work, noting that consistency in how she conducted herself and treated others was key to helping her navigate the challenging road ahead.

While some women may struggle to find role models, Deborah didn’t need to look far, citing her mother as one of the biggest influences on her career: “I saw her forge her path in an industry more geared to men. She was always professional, prepared and on time – and she demanded the same level of respect she gave to the men she worked with in residential sales.”

In addition to her mother, Deborah notes Cindy Howser, a property manager and former colleague as another influential mentor. Through Cindy, Deborah was able to learn from her mistakes as she always created a safe and open environment for discussion, learning and growth.

Since beginning her career, Deborah acknowledges that the industry has come a long way toward gender equity – but still has a lot of work to do. However, she is certain the next generation of women leaders will be more prepared and confident to handle the challenges ahead as they will “expect and demand the respect they deserve.”

Deborah’s advice to women who are navigating their careers is simple, yet powerful: “Never give up. Be tough, but respectful, and despite how anyone else behaves, always be kind. Reach out to someone who has more experience who may be able to guide you. Be a good listener. Soak up what you hear and see, good or bad and then decide what works for you.”