Walker & Dunlop’s Female-Led Lending Team is Challenging Industry Norms

Men have always dominated commercial real estate. But recently, women have made strides in growing their presence in the industry, and a recent occurrence at Walker & Dunlop serves as evidence of progress. The commercial real estate finance and advisory firm created its first all-women leadership team. Alison Williams, Angelica Dichoco, Stephanie Pratt, and Melissa Jahnke now head up Walker & Dunlop’s Small Balance Group.

Walker & Dunlop, which touts the diversity of its employees as an asset to its business, counts the creation of the group as a significant milestone for the firm. However, the company did not set out to break new ground internally. The company merely needed a squad to guide the strategic direction of its Small Balance Group (SBG) platform and, taking into account accomplishments, expertise, synergies, and a host of other factors that make for good leadership, the powers that be were left with four names—and those names just happened to be those of women. Now the executive group is tasked with growing SBG, which originates, underwrites, closes, and services loans of a minimum of $1 million for borrowers seeking to acquire, refinance or renovate multifamily properties.

“There is a need for diverse perspectives in commercial real estate. It is essential in this changing social and economic environment,” said Alison Williams, Senior Vice President and Group Head of SBG. “Our hope is that sharing real examples of women leaders in CRE promotes confidence and inspires women in the industry to continue to strive for excellence and achieve

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