+Ava Goldman +Cindy Clare +Lili Dunn +Deirdre Kuring +Julie Smith +Terri Ludwig +Sheryl Brown +MaryAnneGilmartin +Sue Ansel +Amy Anthony

Long before Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In movement began, women had been breaking barriers and shattering multifamily's glass ceiling. Indeed, they've taken our industry by storm by introducing innovative technologies, chasing competitive contracts, ushering in IPOs, chartering new initiatives, and redefining resident services.

To honor them and the important role women have played in our sector's success, MFE is celebrating 10 women who have excelled in their careers and are now revered as top thought-leaders guiding our industry. The women featured here came into the business at a time when stereotypes about women's labor efforts revolved around leaving the workforce for marriage and family. Yet, through their determination and dedication, these women have proved they can do it all, setting the stage for the next generation.

Most of the women portrayed here attribute their early success to women who came before them whom they admired and respected, whether it was a family member or a professional mentor. Since then, the ­tables have turned, and our subjects have become the women they once revered, role models whom the industry's up-and-coming leaders look to for guidance.

Though there's still room for improvement, trailblazers like these 10 women are responsible for the tremendous progress our industry has already made, providing a path for all the progress yet to come.