Women & Business: Lori Z. Hardiman

“For most of my career, I have had to learn to be adaptable and make trade-offs to get everything done.”

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Vice President and General Counsel
The First City Company 

A few years after earning her J.D./MBA from Georgetown University, Lori Z. Hardiman left her job at a D.C. law firm to move back to Pittsburgh and start a family. She joined The First City Company, a real-estate business started by her father, so she could develop a healthy work-life balance while raising her children.

In the years that followed, Hardiman accomplished much. She nurtured a family, helped to create and manage a family foundation, and in 2002, she won second place at a local cookie competition for her Christmas jam pot cookies — despite her claim of being “not much of a baker.” Even more impressive, Hardiman did all of this alongside a successful 30-year career at The First City Co.

“I have achieved a work-life balance that gives me mental stimulation and purpose while still affording me the ability to enjoy the life I have created with my supportive, successful husband and children,” she says.

As Vice President and General Counsel, Hardiman negotiates and coordinates financings, leases, and property issues for The First City Co.’s five shopping centers — property totaling roughly 1 million square feet. Over the years, she’s helped the company navigate tenant bankruptcies and, most recently, an unexpected pandemic that ended with three of its shopping centers being sold. After successfully updating and closing several property deals before interest rates spiked, First City’s primary focus has shifted to leasing its five-remaining well-located properties. Hardiman looks forward to the work that’s about to transpire.

Hardiman’s advice to other women in business is to achieve a work-life balance through discipline and commitment.

“Now that my children are grown and need me less, I have been able to re-engage with my other hobbies and interests. But for most of my career, I have had to learn to be adaptable and make trade-offs to get everything done,” she says. “Life is all about choices.”

“I hope to be able to spend some of my professional time in the future helping to get the country and the economy back on track,” she says.

Hardiman credits the Biblical verse “From those to whom much is given, much will be required” as the best advice she’s ever received. “I use this piece of Biblical wisdom to stay focused during the difficult times and to remember to be grateful for the opportunities I have been given,” she says.

For more than 10 years, Pittsburgh Magazine has spotlighted exceptional businesswomen within our pages and at quarterly networking events. Join us for a vibrant conversation with our four inspiring honorees and a keynote speaker at our Women & Business Awards.

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