Cheryl Gray has been named a Woman of Influence in North American commercial real estate for the second consecutive year. The head of special projects, operational excellence, at QuadReal Property Group is among designees in a newly introduced category for 2019 to recognize proptech innovation.
“We were looking for individuals who had the forethought and ingenuity to realize how to best make technology work to benefit her career, her company and the industry at large,” advises Natalie Dolce, national executive editor of GlobeSt.com, the sponsor of the annual awards now in their 26th year.
All of this year’s field of 200+ CRE influencers were nominated by industry peers and evaluated based on professional achievement, contributions to the broader real estate industry and their actions as role models and mentors for other women. Gray is the sole Canadian in the inaugural group of 10 innovators commended as trailblazers in embracing and integrating technology in real estate management, operations, leasing and investment services.
She draws parallels between the industry’s growing comfort with proptech and the emergence, earlier in the 21st century, of the green building movement. Like sustainability, Gray predicts smart buildings and services will simply become mainstream as the evidence of return on investment mounts. “Women in proptech are starting to realize the power they have to collectively drive technology,” she adds.
A prominent advocate for professional development, Gray will take office as the president of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) in September — becoming the organization’s first president from outside the United States. She joins nine other IREM members as 2019 Women of Influence.
“Each of them has made meaningful contributions to our industry, and elevate the profession of real estate management around the world,” says current IREM president, Don Wilkerson.
Recruited as a core member of QuadReal’s senior management team when the company was formed in 2016, Gray has prioritized the values of communication, collaboration and consistency within her operational excellence group. Throughout a career that has included positions as senior vice president of residential services and senior vice president, national services, at Bentall Kennedy, she has responded as social, economic, environmental and digital upheaval delivers challenges, risks and opportunities to real estate, while simultaneously transforming building occupants’ needs and expectations.
“No matter what happens in the world, those of us who manage real estate are impacted,” Gray reflects. “If you’re good in this industry, you’re constantly reinventing yourself. If you’re open to a variety of things and experiences, you’ll be more adaptable than the person who says: we’ve always done it this way.”
She has also been a leading contributor to shared industry resources, such as the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada’s recent Cyber Wellness Guide. She is a past recipient of the BOMA Canada Chairman’s Award and BOMA Toronto President’s Award and has served on BOMA Canada’s board of directors.