Colorado Springs native Tiffany Colvert, 32, is a woman working in a realm dominated by men: commercial real estate sales and leasing. The only woman in the field at NAI Highland, Colvert said her gender has only helped her business career. With a bachelor’s degree in city planning and urban development, Colvert volunteers in six civic organizations dedicated to improving the city’s business community. She is vice-chairwoman of the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority and co-chairwoman of the South Academy Redevelopment Task Force Board. At Highland, she specializes in retail and restaurant investment sales and leasing. She sat down with the Business Journal this week to talk about her motivations.

What are the advantages of being a young woman in this field?

In my book, it’s not about age or gender. At the end of the day, it all comes down to hard work, doing the best for my clients and getting results. Results speak for themselves.

What are the disadvantages?

I can’t write my name in the snow, and I’m too young to be in AARP.

Describe your business success.

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Since I started with Highland, I’ve been doubling my production year over year. This year was no exception, and it certainly helps to be part of the best team and have an improving market. I closed $15.9 million in sales and I leased more than 240,000 square feet of space.

Why do you volunteer?

I am big believer that if you want something improved, it doesn’t do much to sit around and talk or complain about it. You have to go out and do something about it. I view my role on the boards as a small way to effect some positive change.

What projects on the URA are you most interested in and why? 

Undoubtedly, the most exciting project right now is City for Champions and the Olympic Museum. It’s insane to me there are people opposed to the Olympic Museum or a stadium downtown. That’s exactly what the city needs right now. We need to grow and evolve. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. There are more projects that will transform the city — south Nevada, commercial development at Gold Hill Mesa.

How should south Academy Boulevard be redeveloped?

Being a native of the Springs, I’ve watched the rise and fall of South Academy and am honored to be a part of the South Academy Redevelopment Task Force. I’m adamant about not just having another report collecting dust on some city bookshelf … the report outlines very specific steps that should be taken to begin to help revitalize the area … from burying overhead transmission lines to improve the public realm and walkability, to redeveloping vacant space into creative reuses, improving police coordination and creating incentives for investment in the area.

What has been challenging for the Downtown Review Board?

The board is basically the planning commission for downtown. It’s easy to determine if a parking variance meets our review criteria, but a homeless shelter, not so much. It’s challenging to make decisions objectively when there’s emotional response from the public.

How did your career evolve? 

After high school, I wanted to get away. I packed up my car and drove to San Diego for college. After college, I worked for a real estate developer and my husband worked for a business management solutions company in San Diego. One day, we just looked at each other and said: what are we doing? We love to be outdoors, hiking, running and biking. We went on a hike there. It started off nice, and then it looped around and under a freeway. You know, this would NOT happen in Colorado.

How can Colorado Springs retain more young professionals?

A few things are needed. Jobs are critical. If there aren’t quality opportunities, people won’t be likely to relocate or stay here. And by jobs I mean either employers offering diverse positions with competitive pay or resources for entrepreneurs and creatives. A vibrant urban area is also key. We need better public spaces, more walkable neighborhoods, diverse housing options and better infrastructure. Most importantly, the city and the public needs to not only be open to change, but embrace it.

How would you advise other young professionals? 

If you aren’t doing something you love, change it. Then work as hard as possible at the thing you do love. Hard work separates the successful from everyone else.

What is the last book you read?

Success Through Stillness by Russel Simmons. With so much going on day-to-day, this has been a great read.