In 1984, I was obsessed with the idea of becoming a commercial real estate appraiser.
Back then, there were no graduate programs for commercial real estate, and no female mentors. The only way to
learn the business was to talk an appraiser into mentoring me and sponsoring me for annual Appraisal Institute classes.
So I did what all new college graduates with Russian History degrees did back then – I talked to anyone who would listen to find an introduction to the industry I wanted to work in.
I landed my first job in commercial real estate when my college tutor convinced her husband, an MAI real estate appraiser, to hire me as his assistant. I made $2.50/hour, the whopping sum of $400 a month before taxes.
I didn’t care that minimum wage was $3.35/hour then, and that I would be living below the poverty line. I had just negotiated my dream job: In exchange for being Frank’s assistant, he would teach me how to appraise commercial real estate, an industry controlled by men with very high barriers to entry. Jackpot!