Mary Beyer Lell

Principal, Crawford SquareReal Estate Advisors

How did you choose the career you are in? A professor in graduate school guided me towards doing an internship in commercial real estate. I guess you could say it was luck that I was directed into a profession that I knew so little about and absolutely love.

What has been the most defining moment of your career? Having the opportunity to be on the ground floor of building a new company has been the largest accomplishment of my professional career. I am thankful every day to be on this adventure with partners who are smart, driven and supportive.

What are your goals for the next 10 years? For Crawford Square to be one of the largest full-service commercial real companies in the Southeast while serving the Birmingham community to make it be one the best cities in the Southeast to live.

Have you had a pivotal moment in your career? If so, what happened? The pivotal moment was stepping out of my comfort zone to be on the ground floor of something new–starting our company Crawford Square Real Estate Advisors. The past two years have shown me what I am truly capable of and that there is always more to learn.

What lesson has a mentor taught you along the way? Hard work is more important than luck … although having a little luck never hurts.

Do you have any advice for young professionals in the Magic City? Work hard and always do the right thing.

How long have you lived in Birmingham and what makes you stay here? I have lived most of my adult life in Birmingham – 15 years.  I moved away for a period of time to my hometown but returned to Birmingham. It is a beautiful city with great schools, restaurants, shopping and entertainment. I love raising my children here.

What can Birmingham businesses do to make the economy more inclusive for women in the workplace? The Birmingham business community has made major strides in recognizing talented women and giving them a voice within their companies and the community. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”

What does Birmingham need to do to take its economy to the next level? Birmingham businesses committed to keeping their headquarters in Birmingham and continuing to provide job growth will take the local economy to the next level. I hope companies like Shipt will continue to have a large presence in Birmingham.

What’s your favorite restaurant in metro Birmingham? There are so many…..but Chez Fon Fon is a go to….looking forward to trying Helen too!

What have you done to keep moving forward professionally during the pandemic? Our company had to work harder than ever during the pandemic.  We worked with hundreds of tenants during the closures.  I experienced professional growth as our clients were depending on us to guide them through an unprecedented time.

What have you done to keep moving forward personally during the pandemic? My personal life is generally hectic between my work schedule and my children’s sporting activities. The one silver lining of the pandemic was with limited business travel, we had some of the best family quality time we have ever had!