Women Who Built Us: Cecilia Bonifay

March 5, 2021

Cecilia Bonifay

Cecilia is Partner and Chair of the Land Use and Development Practice for Akerman, LLP and is a 25-year industry veteran. She is a member of the CREW Past Presidents Council and received the Legacy Award in 2018 from CREW Orlando. She also serves as a national member of CREW's Education Committee and participates in the formal mentoring programs. Cecelia was most recently selected as one of four women to be honored with Florida State University's 2020 Inspire Award, which recognizes alumnae who have distinguished themselves as leaders within their industry and whose hard work and determination serve as an inspiration to current students and young alumni at the university. 

What skills do you believe are key to your success? 
Being part of the Akerman law firm has allowed me to move forward through the years and achieve invaluable experience as an attorney and as a woman in various management positions. I was the first woman appointed to the firm’s Executive Committee which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm, which now has over 25 offices and 750 attorneys throughout the country. I was also a long-term member of our Board of Directors. The firm has always been supportive of my membership in various community organizations which allowed me to move into leadership positions in those organizations as well. I have also tried to be not just a good leader, but also a good listener. To be an effective leader, you have to listen to those around you and acknowledge their contributions.   

Have you had any notable experiences – good or bad – relative to being a woman in this traditionally male-dominated field?  
Most of my experiences have been positive, although I still feel that we need to have more women involved in commercial real estate. CREW has been a great organization in terms of its mentoring women in the field of real estate, making leadership positions available at the local level with the ability to also make a difference at the national level. Our programming is top notch and as a result, we attract key leaders throughout the community to participate with us and get to know us as leaders in our field.   

In one sentence, what would be your advice to women just entering the professional world.   
Always be the consummate professional in the way you do your job and the manner in which you deal with others. 

Members: Connect with Cecelia on CREWbiz