Throughout Women’s History Month, our NextHome brokers, owners, and associates have reflected on those who paved the way for us today: women who lead fearlessly and leave the world a better place for all of us.
In our great grandmother’s lifetimes, women weren’t allowed to own their own property. In our grandmother’s lifetimes, women were denied the right to vote. In our mother’s lifetimes, women couldn’t obtain a mortgage without a male co-signer.
Even today, only 20 percent of those in real estate’s corporate leadership roles are women, while more than 65 percent of sales associates are female.
Research has shown that companies are 15 percent more likely to experience above-average financial performance when gender representation is prioritized (McKinsey and Co. Insights). When gender and ethnic diversity are combined, that number goes up to 25 percent. In the UK, the highest performance in McKinsey’s data set was associated with senior-executive teams exhibiting the greatest gender diversity.
That’s the broad industry overview. Focusing on NextHome, here’s what I know as a woman in corporate leadership: women’s voices matter.
Six out of NextHome, Inc.’s eight departments are led by women. Of more than 610 NextHome franchises nationwide, 55 percent are owned by women. I am better because of the courageous examples of female leadership that surround me.
This Women’s History Month, we asked some of these women what helped them become successful in their own spheres. They each pointed to other women who came before them.
“I have been extremely fortunate to have one of the best women leaders in the world, Wanda Ott, as my mother,” said Krystle Hicks, Owner of NextHome TwoFourFive in Forest, Virginia. “Not only is she my mom, but she is my business partner. Wanda has always instilled in me that you must always do what is right, even when it is hard. You must always have integrity and be committed. That is the path to success. She has shown me that a happy person is much more fun to be around than a miserable one; you choose your happiness – you need to own it. And finally, but most importantly, she has shown me the prime example of a leader who others want to lead them.”
Wanda will be the first to tell you that paving the way for future generations requires sacrifice and courage.
“For most of my adult life, I have worked in a support role for other business owners,” Wanda said. “To leave the comfort and security of that role just seven years ago at age 57 and to start my own company as a first-time principal broker was a huge risk, but one I have never regretted. I love that my daughter and I can lead and serve our company, in addition to being recognized as professional leaders in our community. It gives us great joy to inspire, mentor, and train our team of 28 agents to be successful in their businesses. I love that I have a legacy to pass to my daughter. Together, we can inspire my four granddaughters to be women who can achieve whatever they want to because they have seen that example in their grandmother, mom, and aunt.”
Other powerful NextHome female broker/owners also learned powerful lessons in leadership from their mothers and grandmothers.
“One of the greatest lessons I learned about leadership was from my Granny,” said Melia Campbell, Owner of NextHome Campbell Realty in Marysville, California. “I saw that people always seemed to want to do what she asked them to do. There was no arguing and complaining, she was a natural leader. As a 30-something mother of four children I asked my Granny how she did it. She looked at me, smiled and then explained, ‘If you ask someone to do something, and expect that they will do it, you are rarely disappointed.’”
Her grandmother’s example has not only helped Melia become a better leader, but also given her the confidence to become an example of female empowerment to others around her.
“I would love to see strong women as the norm in our society and I feel an obligation to mentor other females who are looking to achieve something more than is expected of them,” Melia said. “As a woman in leadership, I am being watched for who I am, how I respond in different situations, and how I treat others. As I fearlessly embrace my own strengths, I hope that my example can help other women accept who they are and stop apologizing for it.”
Women throughout the NextHome are not only building thriving businesses, but also using their positions to help inspire their associates.
“I am honored and humbled every day that the agents in my offices have trusted me with helping them grow their careers,” said Christie House Theaux, Owner of NextHome Cutting Edge Realty in Lafayette, Louisiana. “I am thankful for the people in my life who have been mentors and leaders for me to look up to. These people taught me that leadership is, at its essence, about loving and lifting others up. I hope to help others with my time on this earth.”
Being an example of leadership is a balancing act for many of our members, but the future these remarkable women are building for others is priceless.
“Women in real estate leadership roles may find themselves having to balance competing demands from clients, colleagues, and family,” said Carolan McDermott, an associate at NextHome Real Estate Rockstars in Valencia, California. “In spite of these challenges, there are many rewards to being a woman in a leadership role in real estate. As a leader, you have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of clients, colleagues, and friends. Plus, you have the chance to mentor and inspire other female real estate professionals and provide them with encouragement and support.”
Christie’s 5-year-old son recently asked her, “Why aren’t superheroes real, mom?”
“I told him ‘they are real – you’re looking at one,’” Christie added with a smile. “He said, ‘Mom, you’re just a mom.’ I said, ‘No, all moms are super heros but shhhh, don’t tell.’”
“I hope to help others with my time on this earth, I hope to inspire young women to find their voice, their passion, their success but most of all, I hope to be an example, a leader and super hero every day to my three boys, so they grow up and understand and support the women super heros in their life,” added Christie.
This Women’s History Month, and always, we are thankful for the female examples that inspire us, and we will continue to try our best to be that example for future generations.