An Avenue for Associations to Groom More Women Leaders

Applications are now open for the Women’s Council of REALTORS®’ 2023 Supporting Women of Real Estate grant.

Wednesday marks International Women’s Day, and state and local REALTOR® associations can honor the occasion by applying for the Women’s Council of REALTORS®’ 2023 Supporting Women of Real Estate grants. The grants, which are made possible by a partnership between the Women’s Council and the National Association of REALTORS®, provide state and local REALTOR® associations with the opportunity to fund one-day conferences focused on advancing women in real estate. Ten grants of $2,500 will be awarded in June. 

Through the events funded by the grant, the Women’s Council seeks to empower women to pursue entrepreneurship and take on greater leadership roles in the real estate industry. The council also seeks to offer women networking opportunities that facilitate relationship-building and encourage audience participation and the generation of new ideas. “We’re hoping to provide something innovative that will inspire female professionals and business leaders,” says Women’s Council President Chris Pelkola Lee. 

Though programs funded by the grants are focused on supporting women, men are welcome and encouraged to attend. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion is another key objective of the grants, and applications demonstrating DEI elements will receive special consideration. 

Since 2019, 32 grants totaling $100,000 have been awarded to state and local REALTOR® associations. Winners in 2022 offered a diverse range of programs, including: 

  • The Madera Association of REALTORS® in California hosted a program called “Women Who Lead—Breaking the Glass Ceiling.” 
  • The Prescott Area Association of REALTORS® in Arizona hosted a program called “Inspiring Women Through Connections.” 
  • The Richmond Association of REALTORS® in Virginia hosted a program called “Advancing Women’s Leadership in Real Estate: Defining, Owning and Leveraging Your Value.” 

The Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS® in Illinois, a 2021 winner, used its grant to support its Celebrating Women in Real Estate conference. The conference featured a panel of top female leaders in real estate, including 2018 NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. The speakers shared stories about their own professional development and the mentors who influenced them. “We wanted to inspire future dynamic women leaders who maybe don’t know they are leaders yet,” said Springfield board CEO Jeff Kester after the award. 

The Women’s Council hopes to develop and strengthen partnerships with state and local REALTOR® associations and create value for members of both the council and NAR. Founded 85 years ago to support women who were barred from membership by many local REALTOR® associations at the time, the Women’s Council has since evolved and expanded its mission to focus on enriching women’s professional and leadership development.