We continue today our celebration of some of the extraordinary women leaders we have working at Cape Group. Today we focus on Lan Zhang, our Chief Financial Offer.

How long have you been in the construction/development industry and why did you choose it as your career?

I have been working in the industry for 12 years. I was first introduced to development when I worked on a year end audit of a big developer for 8 months. By the end of it, I realized not only had I learned a great deal about the accounting principles, but also in depth knowledge about operations. There was always more to learn, to see, and to try in this industry. So I kept on going.

What has been the most significant barrier in your career?

A good mentorship has always been hard to find. A lot of times, people are extremely busy with the daily tasks, and couldn’t spare any time to coach. It is very important to form a relationship with someone you can trust, to get a second opinion, to point you to the right direction, to challenge your thoughts, etc.

What advice would you give to women trying to break into this industry?

I believe it is an industry that is easy to break into.  Unlike some industries where you will need complex core knowledge, or tough regulations, or innovative technologies, real estate has so many aspects that just about anyone can break into. The key will be to show people that you have what it takes to go to the next level, and it will always be the key elements, such as willingness to learn, great attitude, attention to details, multi-tasking etc.

What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organization?

  • Don’t be afraid to tell your boss about your goals even if it’s far way.
  • Make specific plans, from weekly all the way to five years, to ensure that you can get there, step by step.
  • Actively ask for feedback from your direct reports and other people in the organization.
  • Form formal and informal mentorship with people in your organization or in the industry.