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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Women need to network with men

At age 70, Loretta Cockrum is one of the most interesting businesswomen I have spoken with in my career.

Her business career took a path with many twists. Cockrum was only in her 30s with two kids when husband became ill and passed away. She became her family's sole breadwinner. Though she was a homemaker for 14 years, her education and training was as a dental hygienist. She knew she needed a more lucrative profession. Off to real estate school she went and while there, she rubbed elbows with just the right contacts. Before long, she became involved in the investment side of real estate. "I shifted my energy to work,'' she says.

Today, Cockrum, runs Foram Group in Miami, a successful real estate investment firm that also is developing a large piece of property on Brickell Avenue. She says she learned along the way that business is a man's world. And, she has learned to navigate it.

While female professionals today are networking with each other, Cockrum thinks it is as important they put in the time to network with men. "Women need to have male mentors and friends. They bring a balance and perspective sometimes,'' she says. "I don't think you should alienate them. They have been supremely helpful to me.''


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