sheCENTER(FOLD) Edie Fraser

Chairman and Founder, STEMconnector®/Million Women Mentors® (MWM)

Edie Fraser

Edie Fraser has spent her life in the service of equality with a passionate vision for a better tomorrow. Having led national poverty programs and worked to advance women’s gender equality for decades, she has a precise understanding of women’s progress. Discussing her life, Fraser alternates seamlessly between lessons learned in childhood and her biggest professional challenges, detailing her storied career and how the future is developing for women in America. 

NAWRB: In your opinion, what is the most important success women have had in the last 50 years?

Edie Fraser: Successes have been achieved and we celebrate them, and yes, we want parity. Studies show that it could take as long as 117 years to reach parity in the private sector. Let’s advocate for parity within every government institution, business, profession, organization, and in higher education.

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sheCENTER(FOLD) Tami Bonnell

CEO of EXIT Realty Corp. International

Tami Bonnell

Tami Bonnell is the embodiment of leading by example. Always recognizing the value in people and staying true to her word, she has crafted a 30-year career and made it her mission to help as many people succeed as possible. In this conversation with NAWRB, Bonnell relates corporate leadership lessons alongside parenting tips and provides a look at the life of one of the most important women in real estate.

NAWRB: Who has inspired you most throughout your life?

Tami Bonnell: The first person is my mother. She died very young, in her forties. I’m one of six kids and the number one thing that she said to all of us is, “Never say, ‘I wish I had.’” You get to a certain point in your life, and if you haven’t experienced things that you really wanted to that are on your bucket list, you may reach a point when you can’t. My dad always said, “Your standard is the lowest level you’re willing to accept.” I always thought that was such a smart line because if you didn’t give your best today, whatever you gave the worst of was your best. That’s the reflection of you. Anytime he said it I’d go in and inspire people.
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Women’s Advancement in Real Estate: An Interview with Sara Sutachan

What was the inspiration behind WomanUP!? What motivated you to become involved in the women’s movement?

I’ve actually always been a feminist. My mom is a single mom—my dad has always been around—but my mom was a really strong independent woman and she’s my role model. I came to work for the California Association of Realtors® (CAR) and had another amazing role model in Leslie Appleton-Young. I’ve always been attracted to follow strong women, and read books and articles about the women’s movement and the gender gap.

In my role at CAR, I oversee the industry and broker relations, and part of that is interacting and building relationships with the brokerage community and meeting with them on a regular basis. As I met with CEOs and some of the largest brokerage firms in California, I always wanted a balanced room. What I found was that I was hard-pressed to find that balance because the people who led the larger brokerage firms tended to be male.

I’d been noticing this, and even if it wasn’t a large firm, I would make sure women sat at the table. I thought to myself, “This is crazy. We should do something about this.” I couldn’t really drive it home until I got a call from Gretchen Pearson; she was going to speak at a women’s event and said, “I want to know data. Do you have any data on women leaders?” We really didn’t at that point. I had my own personal experience with not finding those women on the rosters, so then we dug into the data. I had my staff look at the largest brokerage firms in California and Google which leaderswere men and which were women. We found that 36 percent of firms were either run by women or had women at the C-level or in management at the top California brokerage firms with over 100 agents. We analyzed a list of approximately 200 of these firms.
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Leading the Way Toward Gender Equality

On a stormy Thursday in January I had the honor of attending a meeting at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on the financial position of women in the European Union (EU). Experts and policy makers from 14 EU Member States gathered in The Hague to talk about the economic independence of women in their respective countries.

In the Netherlands, but also in other EU countries, we see more and more women obtaining degrees in higher education and finishing their degrees faster than men. However, this educational outperformance is not reflected in our current labor market. The Netherlands Institute for Social Research has conducted research at the request of the Emancipation Department of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science that focuses on the early career phase of young women and men in the Netherlands. The first steps young professionals take in the labor market can be instrumental to the trajectory of their careers and possibily offer an explanation for the current position of women in the workforce.

The study conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research shows that in the first 18 months after obtaining a degree, there are no significant differences between young women and men in regards to becoming employed. However, what is significant is that in the 18-26 age group, working women are less often working full-time than men. The differences are striking with just under 40 percent of women working full-time, compared to 70 percent of men.

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sheCenter(fold) – Danielle DiMartino Booth

Founder & President of Money Strong, LLC, and author of Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why The Federal Reserve is Bad for America

Danielle DiMartino Booth

Danielle DiMartino Booth exemplifies the passion and unique perspective powerful women bring to the table. Chronicling life milestones—such as having college dreams pulled out from under her at the last minute and the process of writing her pioneering book on the Federal Reserve—the mother of four shares sage guidance with women and consumers, providing abundant food for thought about the future of our industry and country.

Interview by Desirée Patno

NAWRB: You have attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and at Austin and Columbia University in New York. Which of these educational institutions and/or cities do you hold most dear?

Danielle DiMartino Booth: San Antonio College. I was accepted into the scholar’s program at New York University; I was one of 15 individuals who were admitted to their journalism program who was then admitted to their really elite group of high school seniors in America. We were to go to one different country every year as part of the program; Russia would have been that first year.

They were going to pay for half of my education in New York; this was my life dream come true. As soon as I received my acceptance letter my father informed me that he hadn’t been paying his taxes for several years and that I wasn’t going to any university, my parents were going to be getting a divorce and I might want to consider community college.

It was one of those formative moments in my life and I was forced to go off to community college. I was working probably 80 hours a week at the time, even as a high school senior, to make my way and help my mom. I entered community college as bitter as you can imagine.

I emerged two years later with the ability to start at the University of Texas at San Antonio with a great degree of respect for kids who have nothing and are forced to start in community colleges and keep going. That’s where I started and I kept going.
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SheCenter(FOLD): Marcia Davies

NAWRB: What is your favorite characteristic of Washington, D.C.? What sets the nation’s capital apart from other cities in which you’ve lived?

Marcia Davies: Washington is a beautiful city, with all of its historic landmarks and rich culture. We who live there sometimes don’t stop and really appreciate when we see a monument or the cherry blossoms in bloom, that it is unique and beautiful.

I think what really separates it is you definitely feel the political energy when you work in Washington. Sometimes it’s subtle and other times, like most recently with the inauguration, you feel it in everything, whether it’s your commute or how hard it is to get into a restaurant or make reservation. There is a real political vibe and energy. We know when Congress is in and when it’s going out. I really think that it makes it a dynamic place to live and work.

I have been privileged on several occasions to be in the White House, and not just see it during the holidays when the beautiful Christmas decorations are up. I’ve attended meetings in the Roosevelt Room and as I’m leaving I always stop before I get on the other side of the gate to take it in for a moment, thinking, “Wow, I was just in the White House.” Then in 10 minutes you’re back in your office. For a lot of people, that’s not a normal day. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been able to do that on more than one occasion.

I can honestly say that when I was growing up I never thought I would be in a meeting, let alone more than one meeting, in the White House. And it happened.
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sheCenterfold Rebecca Steele

CEO and President of Sigma Associates, LLC

Rebecca Steele


Rebecca Steele, an incredible courageous woman and mother, reveals her valuable lessons as a senior

executive woman leader. From playing junior Olympics basketball to her excitement in advancing women’s

inclusion, Steele shares her unique journey and what the future holds for her life and career.

NAWRB: What have been the proudest moments in your life, professionally and personally?

Rebecca Steele: Well, I have a lot of proud moments. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career, but mostly ups. My proudest moments are when I could build successful organizations and was given the opportunity to lead, motivate and execute. A perfect example was the challenge to build, grow and integrate Countrywide and Bank of America’s retail sales platforms. That was huge!

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Personal Interview: Kelle Nolan

1. What do you enjoy doing when you’re out of the office and work isn’t on your mind?

What I most enjoy doing is spending time with my husband and our two dogs. We enjoy being outdoors and going for walks. I enjoy crafting, scrapbooking, and anything that has to do with being creative. These are the top things that I try to concentrate on when I’m trying to relax. I also like to read.

In my crafting I concentrate on rubber-stamping and scrapbooking, paper crafting is how a lot of people refer to it. When I do read it’s usually about self-improvement or motivation. The book I’m currently reading is Be Obsessed Or Be Average by Grant Cardone.

2. What is something most people don’t know about you that they would be surprised to find out?

I think people would be surprised to find out that I enjoy watching golf tournaments on TV. Most people find them very boring, but I actually like watching them.

3. Who is a role model of yours? Why do you look up to this person?

Professionally I would have to say Jackie de Maria, a former employer of mine. She is definitely a professional role model, she demonstrated to me that a woman in a very high position within an organization that is male-dominated can have it all. Jackie balanced her professional career, home life, children, and was a strong, effective leader. She’s someone I look up to and had as a mentor early on in my career.
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Carla Harris

Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Appointed by President Barack Obama Chair of the National Women’s Business Council

Carla Harris


From Wall Street powerhouse to selling out Carnegie Hall five times, critically-acclaimed author and speaker Carla Harris is a Renaissance woman. She details her journey through the competitive professional environment and her experience as a new mother, sharing the importance of family in her life and delineating the way a person can steer their career through dedication and perception.

NAWRB: Who has inspired you most throughout your life? How important do you believe having a mentor or supporter is to women professionals?

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Desiree Patno

NAWRB Founder and CEO

Desiree Patno


Desirée Patno, NAWRB founder and CEO, is a leading advocate for women in the housing ecosystem with over 25 years of experience. A trailblazer in several aspects of her life, Patno has always fought for a seat at the table and the right to compete and work alongside men. We showcase her, from her passion as the only girl in an all-male water polo league to her travels around the nation conquering her fears.

NAWRB: How did you get involved in the real estate industry? To what do you attribute your professional success?

Desirée Patno: Growing up, my parents were always designing and adding to their mini Hearst Castle. Most children do normal chores. Mine were helping my mother build her legacy. She started out with a 1,700 square foot home, yet  before it burned down it measured over 14,000 square feet. It was an incredible undertaking lasting more than three decades! The majority of their windows and skylights were all hand beveled and beautiful pieces of art. They put a dollar down payment on the home and after living in it for a full year, they purchased it for $30,000. Times were tough back in 1960. Multiple times their home was featured in local newspapers for a variety of reasons. My mother had hot pink satin couches completely wrapped in clear plastic and she painted several murals on the walls of Roman Revival architecture. It was not your typical home, it was my mother’s miniature showpiece carved out of the side of a mountain. 

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