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Women in 















ith 37 years into a commercial real estate career that has seen 
her close over $650 million in transactions, it is easy to point to 
2017 “Women in Power” recipient, Judi Butterworth as one of the 
most successful executives in the industry today. But what those 
numbers don’t show are the years of hard work, struggle and 
learning that propelled her to the heights she has reached today.

When the current ORION Investment Real Estate Senior Vice President 
entered the industry after time spent selling radio advertising and 
print, she enjoyed the freedom and opportunity it afforded her. “I 
first got into the business because I liked the challenge of every day 

being different and there was no cap on income,” Butterworth says. 


 However, it was 

far from smooth sailing from the get-go. In an industry defined by the mentor/mentee 
relationships that help young brokers learn the ropes, Butterworth did not have that 
one experienced person to show her the 
ins and outs.  As one of the few women 
in the industry, finding another sales 
person to mentor her was a challenge. 


 “I didn’t make money for the first 

five years,” she admits. 



Butterworth found her groove. Her first 
big deal involved a shopping center 
listing she secured. Even though she was 
still a bit inexperienced and a coworker 
told her the property would never sell, 
she put in the work and managed to sell 
it for a healthy six-figure commission. 


 “I got the buyer and seller together 

in the conference room, and we spent 
45 minutes talking about [Arizona State 
University] sports and 15 minutes on the 
deal,” Butterworth says.

Advice to the Next Generation

Those early years were just the beginning. Since then, 
Butterworth has built a career that has seen her spend 
several years at CBRE and DeRito Partners, a stop 
at Velocity Retail and, now, ORION. 


 During that 

time, she has risen to the top of the retail industry 
in a career that has included shopping center sales, 
tenant and owner representation and leasing retail 
redevelopment retail projects. 


 While Butterworth is 

quick to stress that she has always used any struggles 
in her career as learning opportunities, she does not 
suggest young women today take the same route she 
did, because everyone should have leadership invested 
in their success. 


 “If you don’t have someone who 

wants you to be successful training you, don’t go 
[to that company],” she advises. 



Butterworth is 

putting her money where her mouth is by lending her 
experience and guidance to team member and ORION 
Associate, Lacey Eyman.

A Rare Résumé

Recently, Butterworth has been a part of the movement to adaptively reuse defunct big box spaces for 
new uses like putting a Planet Fitness in an old Circuit City or placing a PGA Tour Superstore in an empty 
former Kmart. 


That varied career has made her an expert in the retail industry with unmatchable 

market knowledge. Because she has worked on so many different types of deals – and represented every 
side – she brings a unique perspective to every deal. 


 She also spent six years on the Arizona program 

committee for International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and later spent three years as the State 
Director for Arizona, the only woman ever to hold the post.