Presented By: Partner Insights
Industry Spotlight: Q&A With Withum’s Rebecca Machinga
Withum is recognized in the tri-state area as a leading public accounting and advisory firm serving the Real Estate, Construction, and Architecture & Engineering industries. Withum empowers clients with innovative tools and solutions to address their accounting, tax and advisory needs. Commercial Observer’s Partner Insights team sat down with Rebecca Machinga, CPA, CGMA, Partner, Real Estate Services Practice Leader at Withum to discuss being a woman in a leadership role in the real estate industry.
Commercial Observer Partner Insights: What qualities do you think are critical to be an effective leader?
Rebecca Machinga: As an effective leader, you have to trust your people to do their jobs and to do the right thing. It’s helpful to keep tabs on them, but don’t micromanage them during the process. You can determine that they’ve done what they needed to do on the back-end, but make sure they clearly know their responsibilities up front and that they need to ask for help and guidance along the way to meet expectations.
Great leaders also stay organized. Most people like to have a plan and like to know where they stand. Lay out clear expectations and timelines in the beginning, provide visuals and set clear goals for your team to follow. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do and deliver on the promises you make. This builds credibility and allows your people to trust YOU. Lastly, you have to know your people; know what makes them tick and what motivates them, and give them an opportunity to shine.
What advice do you have for young women starting out in the industry?
Machinga: Start locally. Get involved in your local industry community. When you learn who the key players and organizations are, you can network with those players on the local level. As you build your network, ask for introductions to people they know outside the local area. Investigate and join industry organizations that align with your goals and are conducive to being involved in with your schedule.
Make an impact—on your boss, your team and local area. Be trustworthy, proactive and always ask how you can help move the ball forward. You will be remembered for going outside of your normal duties to offer assistance. My last piece of advice is to read as much as you can about the industry. Trade publications are great resources for starting out.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career, to get you where you are today as a leader in the real estate industry?
Machinga: The biggest risk in my career was taking on the role of Practice Leader of the firm’s real estate group with no formal training to do so but with the will to succeed. I was trained as an accountant, but I had good people skills and was very organized. I had a broad business knowledge from working with my clients in real estate as well as other industries for over 15 years. I was trained as both an auditor and a tax advisor, so I was able to relate to both sides of the house. I was willing to try new things. Now having grown the group to over 50 professionals and tracking $20M in revenues for the current fiscal year, we’re dealing with much more than audits, tax advice and compliance – we present ourselves as leaders in our industry who are able to problem solve for our clients, so they can be success stories as well.
Join Rebecca Machinga and other CRE professionals at the 4th Annual Women in Real Estate Forum on June 16, 2020. Click here for more information.