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Empowering Women 2023: Oppidan Investment Company

Empowering Women 2023: Oppidan Investment Company

More than a few firms have focused on recruiting and retaining women in the commercial development industry.

One of those is Oppidan Investment Company, a commercial property developer that has completed over 580 projects in 41 states and Canada. With a female workforce of 13%, the Excelsior-based company of around 50 employees stands a few percentage points above the national construction industry. Oppidan also has women serving in several leadership positions.

One program, in particular, nurtures female talent in the industry. Shannon Rusk, senior vice president of development, created the annual networking event “Women Lead Empowerment,” now in its fifth year. For decades, men have gotten together to discuss business while golfing, hunting, fishing, or doing other activities, she said.

“We wanted to open this up to not just a foursome, like in golf but to a group of women,” Rusk said. “We wanted to get a bunch of women together and do something embracing that says, ‘We see you, we value you, and we want you all to meet each other.’”

The event features well-known female business and nonprofit leaders who share stories and wisdom. More than 100 women — and a few men — have attended Women Lead Empowerment. “We’re doing this to stimulate relationships within the industry and have us all kind of come together and be better together,” Rusk said.

Jamie Korzan, vice president of investor relations, said the event has grown so popular that women fly into the Twin Cities to attend. She said that starting at 4:30 p.m. and ending around 7 p.m., the event caters to women with busy lives and children.

Oppidan also holds internal programs that, while not explicitly aimed at women, often reflect their interests. Rusk said Oppidan will “continue doing what we’re doing; we won’t let it drop off. We’d love to expand female roles within the organization.”

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