Local and state REALTOR® associations can now apply for the Women’s Council of REALTORS®’ 2022 Supporting Women of Real Estate grants, which help to organize a one-day conference around women’s leadership in real estate. Ten grants of $2,500 each will be awarded, with winners selected in June.
Through the grants, the Women’s Council seeks to encourage and empower a new generation of women leaders. “We’re hoping to provide something innovative that will inspire female professionals and business leaders,” says council President-elect Chris Pelkola Lee. The council also aims to develop and strengthen partnerships with state and local REALTOR® associations and create value for members of both the Women’s Council and the National Association of REALTORS®. To date, the Women’s Council has awarded 22 grants totaling $75,000. “The news is getting out, and each year we have more and more applicants,” says Lee. “Success to us is having people put these events on.”
The Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS® in Missouri, a 2021 winner, used its grant to support its first Celebrating Women in Real Estate conference in November. 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,” says Springfield board CEO Jeff Kester. “We hope this will help them to create their own path.”
The Springfield board’s conference attracted approximately 150 attendees, and the association is already planning the 2022 event, which is expected to attract 200 to 250 attendees. “Without the Women’s Council grant and their knowledge and support, we would not have had a catalyst to do this,” says Kester.
The Terre Haute Area Association of REALTORS® in Indiana, which also received a grant last year, used the funds to put on its Women’s Leadership Conference in December. The conference, which brought in more than 100 attendees, included speakers from WEthrive.live, a company that offers networking, coaching, and professional development for women, and the Stiletto Agency, a company that teaches safety and situational awareness to women. “The grant gave us the ability to get started,” says Association Executive Tracey Malooley. “We got sponsors to cover the larger costs and brought in local experts. We’d like to do something like this again in the future.”Launched in 2019, the Supporting Women of Real Estate grants have been part of the Women’s Council’s mission to create a clear, compelling voice for women in real estate. Funding is provided by the National Association of REALTORS®, which has supported the grants since the program’s inception. Founded 84 years ago to support women who were barred from membership by many local REALTOR® associations at the time, the council has since evolved and expanded its mission to focus on women’s professional development and the cultivation of future leaders.