What Are You Waiting For? Close The Female Leadership Gap Today

How I believed in myself to make a massive change, and how you can, too

The Harvard Business Review reported that men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women will only apply if they meet 100% of them.

That poses a question for anyone who wants to close the gender leadership gap. Nothing can fully, 100%, prepare you to lead an organization — except actually leading an organization.

But if many women are reluctant to take a role unless they feel 100% prepared, how do we get more women leading in real estate?

Recently, I said yes to a major life change. My husband and I were both born and raised in New Jersey, but we moved ourselves and our two kids to the San Francisco Bay Area. I never thought I’d do something like this. It had taken him three years to convince me to move one hour from my hometown, but in just three months, we decided to uproot and move across the country.

What changed, you ask? I saw what was possible.

I had the opportunity to listen to women I admire on the WomanUP!® stage and as part of my work on #CBWomen. They shared stories about taking risks, succeeding, failing, and still managing to prioritize family. They had one thing in common: they seized opportunities when they were presented.

By creating visible role models, then providing the connections and education that help women get comfortable with taking the chance. That’s what the #CBWomen initiative aims to do — make sure every woman can see herself as a leader and provide the resources to her develop leadership capabilities and the connection to a network that can support her on her path.

If she can see it, she can be it.

How is there still a female leadership gap in a female-dominated industry?

According to the NAR 2018 Member Profile Report, women account for more than two-thirds of all real estate agents, but less than half of non-selling broker-owners. In fact, the Coldwell Banker Real Estate 2019 Examining Women and Leadership Survey, found that even in female-dominated industries like real estate, more than one-third of Americans agree that women still face a “glass ceiling.”

How do we shatter the glass ceiling?

Having conversations about what’s needed to succeed, the challenges that women in our industry face and highlighting the ways we can support each other is key to achieving more female representation in brokerage leadership and at the broker-owner level.

At the 2018 Inman Connect New York, the leaders of WomanUP!, founded by the California Association of REALTORS®, started that conversation. They created a platform that raised the visibility of women who are role models, a place to share leadership lessons, and an opportunity for women to build connections.

Coldwell Banker is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of WomanUP!, especially this year, as they launch their first national conference and because it was the inspiration for #CBWomen.

The Coldwell Banker network has a large and powerful group of women leading their companies and the industry. The #CBWomen initiative is a way to shine a spotlight on the awesome role models within our network and provide opportunities for learning, connection, and inspiration. Here’s how we’re doing it:

  • #CBWomen Podcasts: Female trailblazers share their success stories to empower others. Most recently we’ve featured: Liz Gehringer, Joan Lonergan, and Molly Hamrick. Search Leave Your Mark: The Coldwell Banker Podcast to find them all.
  • #CBWomen Spotlights: We highlight superstar women in the Gen Blue network and in the real estate industry on our blog.
  • #CBWomen Think Tank: We vet our ideas through our network to ensure we’re doing what’s most impactful. The #CBWomen Think Tank is a group of accomplished, powerful women who advise on the issues facing women in real estate and how we can best address them.
  • The Women’s Choice Award: As a “9 out of 10 Customer Recommended Real Estate Agency” this award gives all the companies and agents in the Coldwell Banker network the chance to share our values with their customers and clients.

How do we know what role models can do?

I am an example of the power that role models have to inspire.

Their stories showed me the limitations I had put on myself and inspired me to take this leap. Before my work on #CBWomen, I would have been part of that statistic: a woman who would never reach for the next opportunity if I wasn’t 100% sure that I could do all of it really well. Their courage and confidence as role models showed me that being 60% sure I can do something is enough to try. I don’t need to wait for that impossible 100% in order to do something that will expand my experience and put me further along my own path to leadership.

So what are you waiting for?

Sure, being 60% confident might be a risk. And it’s definitely uncomfortable. But with so many examples of amazing women who have taken that risk, it shows all of us that it’s possible.

Working on the #CBWomen initiative opened my eyes to the wealth of role models for women who want to lead, and to the various kinds of leadership that exist in real estate. Most importantly it opened my mind to the idea that am a leader, too.

If you’re looking to lead in your business, find your role model. WomanUp! and #CBWomen are great places to start.

To find out more about how Coldwell Banker can be the place that supports you and your business, visit CBWomen.com.

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with Adopt-a-Pet.com that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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