We spoke to Tracy Lea Neff, Regional Director, Delivery - Americas,  about her experience as a leader in a traditionally male-dominated field, how she got to where she is, and the steps companies can take to continue working towards a diverse workplace. 

Tracy, you’ve had a stellar career. What can you point to in your life that’s contributed to your success? 

My success is a direct result of my parents’ encouragement and guidance.  From a very young age my father engrained the need for excellence in math and science, the fact that I could do anything I set my mind to, and that getting a masters degree was essential!  My dad has his PhD so he set an extremely high bar for his children and told us we could achieve it.  My mother is psychotherapist – so as moms do anyways – she was my emotional support through the ups and downs of life. Thanks to her profession, she not only provided me with her motherly advice, but also, as she would say, “advice, that people paid for.”  She could look at issues I was dealing with from a professional perspective and provide me insights. 

You are Regional Director, Delivery at Unispace - what does that entail? 

Oversight of the North American Delivery Team and projects. Our people are so important to our success, so they get a large part of my focus. Ongoing efforts include growing, developing, training, and elevating the team as well as ensuring that our construction projects are tightly managed, which means keeping a close watch on safety, budget, and schedule. Above all, my main objective is ensuring a positive client experience. Going into 2020, my top focus for our team is Delivery Excellence, our all-encompassing delivery client satisfaction process. I am working on putting processes in place to better manage and control the financial aspects of our projects, identify and mitigate risk, have accurate data analytics for reporting, and fully support the Unispace Methodology. Really, we’re striving for continuous improvement, so the list really never ends! 

What’s your favorite part of working in design and construction management? 

My favorite moment is the satisfaction after completing a project and the look on the faces of the staff as they walk into their new office! It brings me joy to help teams transform the way they work and to impact the collaboration and innovation at the company, assisting them in taking their business to the next level. 

Gender equality has been a growing topic over the past few years and the theme of International Women’s Day this year is #EachforEqual, with a continued push for equality everywhere. Have you noticed significant changes as you’ve traversed the workplace landscape? 

Significant, no, but change? Yes! Companies that are evolved recognize the value of a diverse workplace and how that richness elevates everything they do. Many companies want their leaders to align with their customer base. It’s clear to me that a diverse company with a diverse leadership team truly will be the future key to success. Companies that are not diverse at each and every level of their organization, at some point in the future, will not be relevant. 

You have led and overseen numerous projects over the course of your career - what can be done to increase the likelihood that girls will grow up to be leaders in their field? 

Companies must ensure that there is a clear path for women to grow in their career, to move up into areas of more responsibility, and eventually into leadership positions. 

How close do you think we are as a society to achieving gender equality in the workplace? 

I think it is a way’s off, but I do believe it’s possible. 

Thank you for being a leader in your field! Anything else you’d say to young women interested in following suit? 

Go for it! 

Tracy Lea Neff 
Regional Director, Delivery

Known as an innovative real estate leader who leverages a unique mix of strategic, practical, operational and analytical expertise, Tracy has extensive experience managing large teams and multiple vendors. She is extremely capable of executing on all project deliverables from concept to completion by successfully applying her past experience to bring shared understanding to project delivery stakeholders. With experience developing large term capital plans to support a firm’s strategic goals, Tracy ensures that projects stay within budget and are delivered on time.