Veena Jetti, founder of Vive Funds, a private equity firm specializing in multifamily real estate investments, met with National Today to discuss her experiences and struggles climbing the corporate ladder in a male-dominated industry. The feature interview is a part of a series of pieces by National Today in celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month. The series showcases the successes and challenges females and minorities currently face while thriving in the corporate world.
According to data compiled by Zippia.com, only 31% of real estate investors in 2019 were female. Per Jetti, one of the most significant issues women in real estate investing face is the constant challenge of having to prove their expertise time and time again while their male counterparts are generally given the benefit of the doubt. She recalled multiple instances throughout her career in which she was assumed to be someone's assistant rather than the founder of a company with over one billion dollars in transactions.
"We face a lack of women and minorities in leadership positions even though we are just as capable of driving success in our businesses," said Jetti. "Having strong, successful role models and mentors is vital for the next generation of women and minorities to succeed."
Jetti went on to detail her recurring issues with imposter syndrome. After jump-starting her career with a $1.2MM capital raise, she spent months consumed with the idea that she was bound to fail and put her family in a poor financial position. Having confided her fears at the time only to her husband, Jetti now reveals her struggles when detailing her professional journey to help young entrepreneurs who may find it beneficial to hear from someone on "the other side" of their career.
"I can now raise $1.2MM with one phone call," said Jetti.
"Currently, I am doing deals north of $100MM, and I still have those moments of feeling like I am going to fail. What helps me move forward is my mantra that if I'm not uncomfortable, then I'm not aiming high enough. We do not grow when we are maintaining the status quo; it takes discomfort and challenges to achieve new heights," Jetti added.
When asked about the historically low numbers of women in executive positions within the real estate industry, Jetti highlighted how unconscious biases amplify the problematic nature of the corporate ladder. While appreciative of the emergence of positive changes that are helping to rebalance the scales in terms of leadership diversity, she was adamant in her desire for more to be done. Attributing much of her leadership development to the minority women she met in executive positions early in her career, Jetti now hopes to serve as a similar figure for young women and minorities fighting their way to the top.
Vive Funds has taken an active role in transforming the landscape for women in real estate. The firm has implemented multiple policies to attract and retain top female talent. The creation of said policies was shaped by discussions that members of the Vive Funds team had with women to discover some of the common challenges they faced in the industry. The team found some of the most important topics of discussion related to work-life balance and company support when starting families or tending to personal priorities outside work.
"At Vive Funds, we have strived to be the leader in this change. By employing a few policy updates like unlimited PTO, paid parental leave for all new parents, including adoptive parents, flex scheduling, remote work, and a family planning reimbursement, our employees report higher levels of job satisfaction and that comes through clearly in the quality of work they deliver," said Jetti.
"It is a simple concept that many seem to ignore -- when employees, especially women overlooked for years, feel valued, they will also value your company. While I have seen more women in the workforce and leadership than when I started, we have far to go to reach true balance in the workplace."
Jetti encouraged companies interested in promoting diversity and inclusion to engage in meaningful conversations with minority employees and enact changes based on their feedback, noting how impactful transformations are derived from listening to their stories and the stories of other minorities in the community.
Vive Funds does not work or partner with any companies that do not hold similar values in this regard. Jetti has found that many companies need to be made aware that they are plagued by poor diversity and inclusion practices. As a company, Vive Funds does not remain silent on these issues, giving companies a chance to rectify the problem by installing more minorities and women into leadership positions before cutting ties.
"If they choose not to make any changes, they not only lose our business, but they also lose the value of diversity of thought that comes from having minorities and women in positions of power. Money is a driving force in change and you can make a massive impact by choosing to do business with people who also value diversity," said Jetti.
To learn more about Vive Funds or founder Veena Jetti, please visit https://vivefunds.com.
About Vive Funds
Vive Funds was launched to fulfill our mission of carefully curating high-quality real estate investments. Our innovative strategy and our detailed process drive our core value of investor-centric projects. Vive has developed a rich network of global business partners to make early and transformational investments in assets that have the potential to do great things.
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Original Source: Vive Funds' Veena Jetti Shares Importance of Diversity for Global Diversity Month