No matter the industry, the number of successful women in professional careers is growing. And to celebrate, the world pays tribute to the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women with International Women’s Day on March 8th.
The real estate industry has seen incredible growth of women in power with the REIQ appointing 2 new female Board Directors, Anita Brown and Julie Boyd, and the appointment of Danni Addison, the CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia in Victoria.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, realestateVIEW spoke to a few inspiring, successful women in Real Estate to find out the trial and tribulations they face and how they overcame challenges to pave the way for their success.
Ruth Roberts – Director of Woodards
A determined, self-made and family orientated woman, Ruth climbed to success through hard work and persistence. Without a tertiary education, she entered the industry at the age of 37. Ruth stated, “I was raised in a family where it was more important for the boys to focus on their education and career as they would have to support a family. And when I approached local agents, no one was interested in employing a 37 year old mother of three, to be frank. I was lucky to be given an opportunity at a local office to get my foot in the door.” Once she was in, Ruth worked seven days a week for nearly 20 years to get to her current position, turning a 2 staff business into a blossoming 18 employees.
But what motivated Ruth to keep pushing? “When I first started, it was my family’s future. But now that my career is established, and I have my own personal brand, I get a lot of satisfaction from being really good at what I do. I haven’t lost my determination to keep getting better. It’s great to be in a place in my career where I can say, ‘I’m actually really good at this’, it’s taken me a long time to accept that (and say it out loud!)” she says.
When asked what advice she would give to other women to overcome inequality, she said “the buyers will see many male auctioneers but as a female, you stand out. Don’t try to change who you are to try and fit the typical mould of the real estate industry. Be genuine, and be you.”
Anna Thomas – COO of Stockdale Leggo
Another inspirational leader, Anna has an impressive resume with a Masters in Business Management and a Marketing Bachelor and has previously worked for some of Australia’s largest corporations, in a number of industries.
Like many women, Anna was faced with many challenges in her career but after facing rejection for a role simply because a man had been employed longer, Anna set out to prove herself. “I didn’t feel my gender or age were an issue but I quickly realised they were and from that day on the fire was lit and I was never going to take that response again.”
Now a working mum, Anna said her greatest challenge is the every elusive work life balance. “Initially it was a struggle I’m not going to lie, maintaining balance and operating a large company was a huge ask on myself and at times I was overwhelmed. I felt like I was losing my mind but I knew once I got the ball rolling I could do this”, she says.
Driven by the motto “never give up and never say never”, Anna continues to push her triumphs. “I think in life I have always wanted to prove to myself more than others that I can do this, I can be a successful woman in the corporate world, be it male dominated or not and continually learn and always take on new challenges.”
And has it paid off? “Today I’m privileged to say I’m Chief Operating Officer of one of Victoria’s strongest real estate companies which is ultimately run by 900 dedicated, driven and passionate people who love real estate.”
Carmel Baker – Group CEO of Hodges
Focussed and resilient, Carmel Baker is responsible for ensuring that the next chapter of the business’ history is as successful as its last 160 years including expanding Hodges’ network into more areas of Victoria and putting the successes of its people at the forefront of the business.
Carmel’s drive for knowledge is undoubtedly not lacking with a Bachelor of Business and Commerce, a Diploma of Business (Franchising), a Diploma of Banking and Finance and formal studies in Strategic Planning and Executive Management and numerous other courses including the Foundations of Leadership at Harvard.
A successful career has always been a driver for Carmel but as a working mum, there’s no doubt that balancing work and family life has been a challenge. “Most of the industries I’ve worked in have been male-dominated, and I have filled roles that have never been held by a woman before. This of course has come with challenges and it has meant that I have needed to rely on a combination of a strong sense of self-confidence and work very hard to succeed in these roles,” Carmel states.
Carmel has strong advice for other women trying to push through the barriers. “Make sure you are able to illustrate your value to the company in monetary terms. Men tend to speak in monetary terms about their worth to a company. Women on the other hand, lean towards speaking on loyalty or aligning values. Whether it is in regards to a raise, promotion or parental leave, know how much you are worth in dollar terms and don’t undersell yourself. Focusing on your goals and having confidence in your own ability will lead to your success – regardless of whether you’re male or female.”
Join realestateVIEW in congratulating these women on the success they have achieved and honour all women who are striving to break down the inequality barrier.