What makes Teyra A. Ehlers Bilgray, founder and president of Administra PTY, Panama, stand out from the crowd is her contribution toward women empowerment in the industry. Read on to know more…
Teyra A. Ehlers Bilgray dons many hats. She is a lawyer, founder, and president of Administra PTY, a company that provides property management and consultancy services in Panama. Educating the community on issues of neighborhood coexistence, their rights and duties as owners of horizontal properties (PH) and the importance of giving value to a property is part of what Administra PTY does as a company.
But what stands out about this company is the fact that it currently employs 25 women, offers education support for staff members, and has a support network to allow personnel attends medical and school appointments during work hours without salary deductions. While this was not intentional, Teyra says that she likes to give more job opportunities to women in this line of work.
And she has observed that over the years, the real estate and property & community association management industry has been characterized by the high participation of women. Especially in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, where many positions within management and real estate companies are held by women. However, she feels that most of the roles at managerial and leadership levels are still dominated by men. “Nevertheless, this has not prevented women from climbing and gaining a leadership level. Today, we see women leading large management and real estate companies, but also in front of community associations organizations and becoming benchmarks in the profession worldwide,” says Teyra.
Bringing the right skills
Having been educated in law and political science and an executive master’s degree in business management, Teyra says that women can bring so much more to the real estate management sector. “Women have skills that distinguish us and that are potential tools for the development of the management sector. Our organizational skills allow us to keep order not only in our ideas but also in the execution of the work, which for me is the key to success. We are not afraid to ask what we want and what we need. Women are also more detail-oriented, and our maternal instinct drives us to always go beyond the expected limits. Our commitment, creativity, and ability to adapt to changes are always good assets. We are constantly facing challenges in all aspects of life, which helps us to better overcome obstacles,” she explains.
Keeping the drive
Being in the industry for 12 years Teyra’s passion for the industry has only grown. Ask her what drives her in the industry even today? She says it is the constant change in the industry that motivates her. “Knowing that every day there is something new that impacts the business forces me to learn every day and keep myself up-to-date in every aspect of the industry. This satisfies me both on a personal and professional level,” she adds. And it is this dynamism that keeps Teyra to keep searching for new opportunities. She also finds this field a good opportunity to meet new people, make good friends, and enrich herself by learning about other countries & cultures.
Having often heard that the industry can be a challenging one for women, Teyra advises women to never believe in that. Teyra says that it is important to believe in yourself even when others don’t. She adds that one must triumph and prove that we (women) can outstand with a high level of professionalism, responsibility, and projection. “Always try to keep the balance between work, family, and personal life. This perhaps is what has cost me the most during the last ten years. The real estate world and the property and community association management industries are time-consuming activities, and if we don't make time to take care of ourselves and to grant ourselves quality time, the energy to properly execute our business or work is reduced and is not renewed. We end up not enjoying our job and that is not the idea,” she adds.
Taking her inspiration forward, Teyra has always believed in sharing her experience and enriching others in the industry with her knowledge. “It is important to pay forward what you have received: be it experiences, knowledge, or learning,” she says.
The next step
Keeping true to her motto of passing on knowledge and experience, Teyra has recently started a new business that offers online meeting services for Homeowners Associations. “We just completed one year. Here we offer Homeowners Associations online meeting services and also grant them legal & technical support. This has been received very well within the industry and we are happy to see it grow,” says this mother of two, who is also a part of her organization.
Going forward, Teyra now hopes her 22-year-old daughter Natalia will continue in her footsteps. “I am hopeful that Natalia who has joined us will follow my steps and take women leadership in the industry to greater heights,” she sums up.