Breaking the Glass Ceiling

A strong vision and detailed planning went into the Madera Association of REALTORS®’ award-winning women’s conference.

When Sabrina Brown, education chair at the Madera Association of REALTORS®, learned about the Supporting Women of Real Estate grant offered by the National Association of REALTORS® and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, she saw an opportunity to discuss business leadership and member involvement with women in her central California community. She shared the vision with Madera’s board of directors, which fully supported creating an event. That’s how “Women Who Lead ~ Breaking the Glass Ceiling” was created.

Madera—which describes itself as “the largest little association in California”—would go on to be one of 10 REALTOR® associations awarded $2,500 for creating new and innovative programs focused on advancing women in real estate. Last year, the grant specifically supported one-day conferences designed to inspire women to take on greater leadership roles in both business and organized real estate.

Women Who Lead, which took place Oct. 20, was an interactive workshop for women wanting to seek positions of leadership in the real estate industry, either within their brokerage or at the local, state or national association. The goal was to provide participants with tools and connections necessary to advance into leadership roles. As such, the workshop included mentor matchups, panel discussions and roundtable discussions. “Providing members with educational opportunities that can advance their careers in business is an integral part of what we do as an association and an important factor in member retention,” says Brown.

The mentor matchups were a key part of the program, giving their members an opportunity to network with female panelists who could then help them set goals and develop a plan to advance in leadership. “Panelists were a diverse group of women working as leaders at the local, state and national levels and who had different backgrounds and paths to leadership positions,” says Brown. “Most of the panelists were involved in multiple leadership roles across different fields, not only real estate. We also placed an emphasis on how membership, and taking advantage of member benefits, helps individuals develop the skills necessary to become leaders.”

Providing members with educational opportunities that can advance their careers in business is an integral part of what we do as an association and an important factor in member retention.
—Sabrina Brown, Madera Association of REALTORS®

Attendees told organizers that they appreciated the insight provided by a diverse panel of women with whom they could relate. Not only did the panelists share their success stories, but they also shared the struggles they faced on their way to obtaining leadership positions and how they overcame those struggles.

Another valuable takeaway: Members enjoy workshops that require them to participate. “While listening to speakers is a great way to learn, having member participation and encouraging dialogue between the speakers and the audience and among the attendees takes the experience to another level,” says Brown.

The workshop exercises required attendees to break away from the group they arrived with to meet the panelists and other attendees, which kept them engaged and promoted networking.

“We look forward to putting together more events like this one in the future,” says Brown. “Providing our members and our community with education that can help them advance in their careers is a key part of our mission as an association. We also want to continue to motivate women in our community and offer them an opportunity to make connections with individuals who can help them reach success.”

Angelica Ramirez is the association executive for Madera Association of REALTORS® in California.



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