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Interview with Kelly Gray, Commercial Real Estate Professional

Kelly Gray is a talented commercial real-estate agent. She has negotiated and closed multi-million dollar deals, thus becoming one of the most powerful women in the Miami Valley area. Gray humbly attributes her success to people who recognized her hard work and skills then supported her along the way. In a Lean In Dayton interview, she  reveals how two simple actions could be useful career-strategies.

Lean In Dayton: What spurred your interest to pursue a profession within the commercial real estate industry?

Kelly Gray: I have always had an interest in real estate and the business-focus of commercial real estate was right up my alley.  I enjoy helping both startups and large corporations secure locations to meet their business requirements. I have never been afraid to work in a male dominated field because I feel women are just as intelligent plus we often work much longer hours to accomplish everything on our plates.

Lean In Dayton: You have structured deals with tenants and buyers such as McDonald’s, CarMax, Montgomery County and Habitat for Humanity just to name a few. What valuable lesson did you learn while working with these key clients which led to your professional development today?

Kelly Gray: The most important thing when dealing with any client is to try to really understand what their goals and needs are in a location.  Visibility and access may be important to one client while price and flexibility are more important to another.  By keeping the client's best interest at heart, everyone wins. Patience and detail are key in my business.  There is rarely one decision-maker and every person involved has a different perspective and focus when looking at a deal.  While I have always been a detailed person, I had to learn to be patient in this field so I would not go crazy!

Lean In Dayton: You’ve been awarded by your community as a leader. For instance, you were listed as Dayton Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2007 and one of Dayton’s Power 50 Business Women in 2014 and 2015. In your opinion, how did these recognitions help leverage your career ambition and/or goals?   

Kelly Gray: Women tend not to "toot their own horns" which causes them to be overlooked.  The recognitions I have received really reinforced to potential clients that I have the skills to be a successful addition to their team.  I have been lucky enough to be connected with people who supported and recognized my efforts and helped to make sure other people did too. We should all strive to recognize the hard work of the people around us and pat them on the back.

Interviewed by Julene Allen

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Julene Allen