During COVID-19, the business community learned that if you treat people with dignity and respect, and lead with empathy, consumers will respond favorably to those efforts and look to partner with the companies and the products and services they provide. Knowing full well that a business should never forget the people and clients it serves, no matter societal and economic challenges, at CENTURY 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie my mother Iris and her entire team of professionals has been leading and growing our organization since 1987! Not only did it take courage to run a real estate business as a woman back then, but she also showed amazing strength to lead her brokerage with empathy and encourage other women to enter the workforce. As Chief Operating Officer, I’m part of a team that continues her legacy of empowering women in this business, not only as agents but in corporate positions as well. For other women in the industry or those wanting to begin a career in real estate to see a company led by women who value their experiences and understand their unique challenges and societal pressures, gives us credibility and authority most others cannot claim. It sets us apart from other companies in the market and is a direct result of our current brand leadership position in the Garden State. And it helps us recruit successful women to our organization.
Years ago, when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, his wife, Michelle, said (paraphrasing), “If you see it; you can be it.” When female sales professionals from other companies or new agents looking to build a business in real estate see our ‘why,’ and how we empower women to be the best they can be, they are much more likely to affiliate. Just last week, for example, we hired a top producer away from a competitor (two-letter acronym). Despite her husband being flabbergasted by the move, in the end he realized, after sitting down with us, that his wife’s move was “going to help her grow.” That to me is powerful. There’s something very rewarding when you can change someone’s world. I get emotional even just thinking about it. In “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling there’s the quote, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” It’s a deep statement and one that is the foundation for how we as an organization empower women, and my advice to others for doing the same.
A few tips: 1) Build your own “pack.” It’s very important to surround yourself with people who you can trust and rely on. I rely tremendously on my support network. I learned that for me to grow, I also needed to help others grow for me to work ‘on’ the business as opposed to ‘in’ the business. It’s also very important to surround yourself with people who are better than you. Remember, if you’re the smartest one in the room you’re in the wrong room. 2) Participate in industry and community groups. Affiliate yourself with the Women’s Council of Realtors as well as NAR. Get involved with community events, Social media pages. Surround yourself with powerful women who get “it” done! 3) Interview several companies. Choose the company that is willing to spend the time getting to know you on an intimate level in order to enhance your strengths and build on your weaknesses.
When a woman has a true advocate, someone who is going to not just tell you that they care about you, but show you how they care about you, then that’s the difference. There has never been a better time in history for women to succeed in real estate. There’s a new reality. What was 10 years ago is very different now. Yes, women have been making strides as top producers and agents for many decades now, and by all accounts, there are more women than men in the industry. The biggest change is that today, what was once mainly a man’s domain, broker ownership is moving more towards equilibrium. I’m proud to have been raised by my mom who has been a leading member of the CENTURY 21® family who has led with empathy and empowering women in real estate for 40 years. It’s a game-changing value prop for companies, agents and, more importantly, homebuyer, seller and property investor clients.