As Managing Partner of WAV Group, I was trained early on by my father that every person has an equal opportunity for greatness. He used to tell me “everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time just like you do so never get intimidated by someone in a position of authority or power”. His counsel taught me to ignore any thinking that I may somehow not be good enough because I am a woman. I have charged through situation after situation where I was the only woman in the room without ever thinking I wasn’t good enough to be there or worthy enough to have an opinion or lead an initiative. My dad’s tutelage has served me very well. I am doing my best to instill that same belief system in my daughter. So far it appears she is not only blind to gender stereotypes but ethnographic differences as well.
I know that I am not the norm, however. Many women did not grow up in households where they were told they are just as strong, qualified and capable as their male counterparts. This is where organizations like WomanUp! come in. For industries to self-correct, it is vital that we create opportunities for everyone to be surrounded by encouragement, inspiration, and training to be the best they can be.
Three years ago, a group of approximately 300 men and women sat in a hotel conference room in Pasadena, California, to discuss the role of women in leadership roles in the world of real estate. Since that day, founders Sara Sutachan and Debra Trappen have not only continued to spread their message of empowerment, but have also grown the event to encompass three full days attracting more than 1,000 people to the Loews Coronado Bay in San Diego.
Women make up roughly 60 percent of REALTORS® in California, yet only one-third of leadership positions in brokerages home to over 100 agents are held by women today. In the latest report from the California Association of Realtors®, these numbers remain largely unchanged as time passes. It is time for all of us to identify those professionals that are interested and capable of taking on leadership positions and encourage them in any way we can.
The first day’s sessions, emceed by Jennifer Berman, (https://bermanandpollinger.com/about/about-berman/) featured WomanUP! founder Sara Sutachan giving the attendees an update on the state of things in real estate. And based on the previous year’s statistics, up seemed like the only direction.
Sessions throughout the first day included “Taking the Leap,” which focused on how to apply skills and lessons from WomanUP! to everyday challenges, as well as “Women, Wine and Wisdom,” hosted by Alycia Mondavi and WomanUP! Co-founder Debra Trappen.
Subsequent sessions revolved around empowering women to pursue leadership roles and making the jump to pursue C-Suite level positions.
As the news cycle continues to include stories of women speaking out, regaining power, and overcoming obstacles, events like WomanUP! continue to grow and expand on their foundations. Increased attendance, more speakers, and most importantly, more opportunities for growth and recognition, play a vital role in giving women the exposure necessary to create change in the future of real estate.
Bernice Ross, real estate coach and general badass in the real estate world, published an article on Inman) breaking down how and why women are continuing to excel in the real estate space.
While WomanUP! is a terrific program that has drawn attention to the leadership inequality in our business, the organization cannot give women the chance to lead and grow without all of our help. It’s up to every business owner and leader in real estate to self-evaluate their organization’s hiring and promotion practices. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
• Do you consciously or unconsciously bias decisions towards men?
• Are you doing what it takes to encourage your high potential female employees to step up and take on more authority”
• Are you asking your women for new ideas and initiatives where they can shine while helping your company be stronger?
• Is leadership training a key part of your training curriculum?
• Have you examined your own upbringing to see if it is helping or hurting you to see women as equals?
• Are you gender blind?
• Are women in your company receiving equal pay for equal positions?
If you answered no to answer of these questions, then it’s time for you to step up and do your part to ensure that you are tapping into all of the amazing leadership potential of the women in real estate.
If you’d like to join the movement, go to https://www.iamwomanup.com/.