Q&A with CREW Atlanta Director Diane Lidz

August 14, 2020

As a way to get to know the CREW Atlanta leadership better, we will be interviewing the board members on their thoughts on CREW Atlanta, the commercial real estate industry, workplace issues and life in general. This month, we caught up with CREW Atlanta Director and Hartman Simons & Wood Partner, Diane Lidz.

Q. What attracted you to commercial real estate law?

It’s a good fit for me. I like the problem-solving and negotiating aspects of real estate law. My mother always said I loved negotiating with her growing up and usually won.

Q. What do you like about working at Hartman Simons as a real estate partner?

The firm encourages its attorneys to develop close collaborative relationships with our clients. I enjoy understanding our clients’ businesses and serving as a trusted advisor.

Q. What have you learned from the COVID crisis?

It’s been a transformative period for all of us. Previously, I thought I could never work at home and not have face-to-face contact every day, but I’ve learned I can be productive anywhere. I’ve also found I can be productive and still take more time for myself. Even as we begin to go back to the office, that’s a lesson I will take into the next phase of my career.

Q. What keeps you up at night?

The uncertainty of this period keeps me up. I am a planner and there are so many things we don’t know – when COVID will end, when the work will come back, what the real estate market will look like.

Q. What is the most important thing you’re working on right now?

I’m handling the retail leasing for the Interlock mixed-use project in West Midtown. It’s fun to drive by this exciting project and see it rising from the ground. In rural Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, I am negotiating the leasing of land for solar farms. The solar leases to power companies have a high level of complexity and I like that challenge.

Q. What makes a successful leader?

I like to create an environment where team members feel welcome to contribute their opinions. We all benefit from openness. One thing I focus on is running meetings with discipline. I have a one-hour meeting rule – no meeting runs more than an hour and people appreciate that and pay attention.

Q. What is your best advice for women in commercial real estate?

Make time to get out of your office and network. I did not do enough of this when I was a young lawyer. You may not golf or like big stuffy events, but find a way that you can network that is enjoyable and fits your personality. It will be rewarding.

Q. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the way I balanced my career and raised two children who have become kind, generous and productive adults.

Q. What are your favorite words of wisdom?

You can have it all. Just not all at once.

Q. Who is a mentor or a personal hero?

Lori Kilberg, a past president of CREW Network and a partner at Hartman Simons, has given me so much good advice. And she tells it to you straight.

Q. What keeps you busy outside of work?

Yoga is my passion, and I keep a varied exercise routine with my daughter that includes Pilates, weight training, walking and biking. My day doesn’t feel right if I don’t start with exercise.

Q. What is your last book read?

“The Moment of Lift,” by Melinda Gates. She has had an interesting and inspiring journey.

Q: What has CREW done for you?

CREW has helped me find my leadership voice. My experiences at CREW – working as a mentor, committee co-chair and now on the board – have awakened my passion to help others. One of the things I enjoy most is watching younger women come into themselves and find their voice and leadership style.