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| 2 minutes read

Claim Your Space: Identifying and Leveraging Your Highest and Best Use

“Highest and best use” (HBU) is commonly understood in the real estate industry as the reasonably probable and legal use of land that is physically possible, appropriately supported, and financially feasible, that results in the highest value. But what about applying the concept to ourselves? What does it look like to identify our own HBU and then leverage the result to amplify the strengths of others around us to maximize our own potential and success? 

I was privileged to explore the answers to these questions with Alyssa Zabell (Rockrose Development), Rhonesha Byng (Her Agenda), Molly Holder (Spotify), Clara Jimenez (Johnson & Johnson), and Kelly Harbour (Goulston & Storrs) during the second annual Goulston & Storrs Claim Your Space panel. While the benefits of identifying and leveraging one’s HBU are beneficial across gender lines, our conversation focused on the advantages that maximizing efficiencies in the workplace through delegation, mentorship, leadership, and picking your battles, among other things, can have to women in particular.

Why? Women are frequently asked to manage and carry a disproportionately heavy load as they climb further up the career ladder. And they do so often (although certainly not always) without a sense of how to accomplish it all when seemingly missing the support needed to flourish. Getting caught in the weeds—going to all the meetings, drafting all the emails, scheduling the follow-ups, doing yourself what others can and are actually hired to do—commonly blocks opportunities many women have to identify their own highest and best use. And it’s not always smooth sailing to break free and define what your HBU could look like if you found a way to solve for those obstacles. 

Luckily, the power of women’s voices is strong and inclusive. Through sharing experiences and frameworks, the panel offered concrete and practical approaches to navigating the increased responsibilities success almost always brings. 

As one panelist offered, our highest and best uses can literally change by the minute. Today could be the day to delegate to your teammate, understanding it may require some additional time and energy in the short term but lead to significant efficiencies down the line. Approaching leadership as something to be done through influence, not authority, could be the key to unlocking potential one day that leads to streamlining processes a month later. And intentionally saying no or staying out of a particular conflict that does not directly involve you (even though you feel invested on a higher level) might save you the energy needed to take on the project you’ve been advocating to run that pushes your career forward. HBU is a balance and, if we can find it through trial and error and leveraging the strengths of others, our own success can shine even brighter.

As we commence the season of thankfulness and reflection, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to our panelists and, as importantly, the guests who attended our second year of Claim Your Space. Thank you for joining us and confirming the value that women’s voices have in shaping the path forward.


Bottom line, the presence of women seems to diminish the problem of “pluralistic ignorance” — when individuals in a group underestimate the extent to which others may share their concerns. Although male directors may want more information on issues confronting the board, it is the women who are prepared to admit when they don’t have the information that they need to understand those issues. Through their presence, women enable boardroom discussions that are more nuanced and deeper.


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