CORAL GABLES, Fla. – When Roslyn K. Berrin decided to start a career, she chose commercial real estate.
So what, you ask? Well, the year was 1955 and commercial real estate was dominated by men. Yet, she walked into the office of broker Ken Rosen and told him that she wanted to sell land.
“Developers did a double take when I walked into their office to make a presentation, and required that I, as a woman, be a repository of information rarely required of male brokers,” Berrin said in an article in the South Florida Business Journal. “Developers thought they were paying me a compliment when they said, ‘What I like about you, Roslyn, is you act like a woman, but you think like a man.’”
Berrin, now 95 years old, went on to found Berrin Realty Inc. in Coral Gables, Fla. “Things are very different today than when I started my career in commercial real estate in the early 50’s, a field that was completely dominated by men,” she recalls.
Berrin was recently given a lifetime achievement award by CREW Miami (Commercial Real Estate Women). CREW Miami has established the Roslyn K. Scholarship Fund to encourage the next generation of women pursuing bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in commercial real estate fields.
While she still holds an active license, Berrin no longer practices real estate on a daily basis. But she keeps a desk and office.
For Berrin, it’s important to encourage women to take risks and do what they love despite challenges.
“I have a note pad on my desk, given to me by a friend that says: Women who think they are equal to men lack ambition,” she says.