LIVE Updates: 2017 NAWRB Conference – Power Lunch: Women’s Trade Associations, Collaboration for the Future


In our second power luncheon at the NAWRB Nexus Conference, Marcia Davies, COO, MBA mPower moderated an inspirational discussion about women’s collaboration with Lynn Bunim, Director, Membership & Special Products, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP); Lorena Fimbres, VP & Chief Business Development Officer, StemConnector/Million Women Mentors; Valerie Torelli, Torelli Realty, CEO & Board Member, Women’s President Organization (WPO); Desiree Patno, Leadership Advisory Board Enterprising Women & CEO of NAWRB; and Loreen Gilbert, President, WealthWise Financial Services, National Board Member, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).

These phenomenal women were motivated to advocate on behalf of women by personal experiences of gender disparity. Marcia Davies shares that she was inspired to give other women opportunities she did not have during her career.

In a dialogue on how we can insure that women achieve a seat at the table, the panel each presented their unique perspectives. All of the speakers agreed on the importance of providing a support system for women in the industry, from creating mentorship opportunities to utilizing personal relationships. It is important for women to support one another as allies instead of as competitors.

To help one another and form personal connections, women have to make themselves vulnerable and open. As Lorena Fimbres explains, we tend to hide our weaknesses from others when they can be our points of connection.

Another important theme was the power of groups. Any woman is strong, but women are stronger together. Lynn Bunim states that there is a power in numbers beyond just one-on-one relationships. A large support system can help provide women with knowledge of available resources and a wide range of opportunities. Moreover, a group of women can extend their outreach in terms of advocacy.

Setbacks are inevitable, but these women continue to be motivated and engaged in their work towards increasing Diversity and Inclusion in the housing ecosystem. For example, Desiree Patno remains motivated by seeing other women who are enthusiastic to collaborate on projects; Lorena Fimbres keeps herself updated on recent data that reminds her of the work that needs to be done; and Loreen Gilbert is motivated to help women across the world who do not have the same opportunities as women in the United States.

Lynn Bunim reminds us that persistence and collaboration are key to making a difference, which is why it is important to keep going despite setbacks. Her mantra to follow is: “She who stays at the table the longest reaches success.” The collaboration taking place at the NAWRB Nexus Conference is incredible to witness. We are helping more women to the table and making sure they stay there.

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