Darlene Carter on Why More Women Need to get Involved in Real Estate Development

Darlene Carter is the President of C.W. Urban. She brings 15 years of experience in real estate and home building sectors. Under Darlene’s guidance, C.W. Urban has made a significant splash in the Salt Lake City housing market with 15 projects in process, which consists of over 600 townhomes and podium style condo and apartments and approximately $200 million in total project costs. C.W. Urban is a boutique design, general contractor and development firm that is focused on infill, urban and suburban opportunities in the greater Salt Lake market. Darlene is the recipient of Utah Business Magazine 30 Women to Watch and 40 under 40 awards.

How long have you been in real estate and what do you love most

about the industry?

2020 marks my 15th year in real estate. Real Estate fulfills so much for me. You get to work intimately with people on a daily basis, which challenges and fuels your emotional intelligence. You solve extremely complex problems every day, which requires you to tap into your intellectual intelligence. Those skills produce a tangible structure, that turns into a community that is a part of shaping people’s lives and you walk away feeling like in some small way you changed the world and that speaks to my heart.

What makes C.W. Urban unique compared to the other real estate

companies in UT?

Honestly there is a lot. We aren’t just a real estate developer, we are a real estate developer, home builder, a design and architectural firm, a residential and commercial contractor, marketing firm and a real estate brokerage. I don’t know of any business around that has that many facets to their business as we do. Controlling that many aspects of the business is what allows us to have sole creative vision over our projects and execute on so many projects at the same time effectively.

How do you juggle being a mother and being in such a high-powered role?

Being a working mom is all I have ever known. I started in real estate before I was married and became a mom. In the 12 years of motherhood, my “title” has changed over the years, but the amount of time and heart I put into my job hasn’t. Logistically, I have always had a killer support system, starting with my husband, extended family and child care providers who are like family. Emotionally, I zap my 'mom guilt' by truly knowing that I am living the life that God intended for me and that I am showing my children that when you believe in yourself, you can achieve any dream you have.

What are some of the issues facing women in the real estate industry?

I think the biggest issue is just a lack of women participating. Commercial real estate and specifically real estate development, is still predominantly male. I think we just need more examples out there of women in the business so others can look to this career path and say, "Yeah, that is something I want to participate in," "I can see myself in that industry". I often participate in events or speaking engagements for that purpose alone, having a female face represent.

Is it different for women between residential and commercial real estate?

Absolutely. Residential is flooded with dynamic, smart, highly successful women. Residential also offers an ability to be an entrepreneur, have a flexible schedule and make a great income, that is very attractive as a working mom.

What do you love about Salt Lake City?

I love seeing our state grow and evolve, and I think you see that the most in Salt Lake City. There is an energy in SLC that you can’t find anywhere else in Utah. You can be downtown eating a great meal and attending a variety of cultural events, and you just look up and see the most beautiful mountains that you can access within minutes. I love how much people care about Salt Lake City. They use their SLC pride to continually innovate and improve our capital city.

What is a typical day for you?

They all look a little bit different, which is the best part. I love building our projects, but the thing I love building the most is our company. Our company is only as good as the talent of our team. As a result I spend most of my day focused on how I can support our team.

What is your greatest extravagance?

For sure my guilty pleasure is fashion and shopping. I love clothes, I love shoes and in the last couple years I got in an unhealthy relationship with designer bags. They are totally unnecessary, but I do love them. I don’t hate a great Gucci belt either.

What is your current state of mind?

Grateful. First and foremost I'm grateful. I love what we do and who I get to do it with. That makes hard things easy. I also always focus on just staying mentally strong and healthy. I do internal mental health checks multiple times a day. If something is off balance internally, I address it with myself.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Moderation. I love extremes. I try to fully commit to everything I am passionate about. I don’t seek balance. I don’t think it’s possible. I seek counterbalance.

On what occasion do you lie?

I rarely lie. I am brutally honest with everyone. The truth is, I probably should lie more. Intentionally, I would tell a lie if it meant keeping the confidentiality of someone else or unintentionally if I just plain forgot.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

First, I do believe I am beautiful, inside and out, but if I could get my 23 year-old body back, I wouldn’t be mad about it.

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