2018 NAWRB Conference Exclusive Testimonials


Burgandy Basulto is a Content Writer at NAWRB. She has a bachelor’s degree in both English and Philosophy, and a master’s degree in Philosophy. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves running, kickboxing, watching films, trying new restaurants she finds via Yelp, and experiencing other cultures during her travels.

As NAWRB looks forward to celebrating a decade as an organization, we are reminiscing about this year’s 2018 NAWRB 5th Annual Conference, “Year of Women,” which featured impeccable discussions, presentations and connections at a historical gathering of thought leaders and industry experts from across the housing ecosystem. This event showed that the industry can achieve great things for women’s economic growth and diversity and inclusion when men and women professionals and related industries work together, share each other’s resources and knowledge, and support each other’s successes as teammates instead of competitors. In case you missed it, read below from our incredible speakers and attendees as they describe their unique experiences and the benefits they received from being a part of this dynamic movement for gender equality.

Marcia Davies, COO, Mortgage Bankers Association

“The NAWRB Conference is designed to strengthen connections, learn from the best and recognize female leaders.  This year’s conference provided great content and the women in attendance are so inspirational.  Thank you for a great experience.”

Dr. Chitra Dorai, Former IBM Fellow, Master Inventor, VP of CTO Cognitive Services, Member of IBM Industry Academy & Academy of Technology

“The highlights were many, but if I have to pick one to distill it all, it’s the level of sharing— not holding back—but genuinely and authentically sharing so that people could walk away with increased knowledge and increased power to implement it.

To give you a more concrete example of that, the Opportunity Zones information—the panel was so fascinating. The tax information is so hard and so boring to read, ingest and think about it. The panel did a fantastic job in terms of what money qualifies, how to deploy it, what are the opportunities, thereby giving a different way for all the entrepreneurs and business leaders to tap into that new source of opportunity. There were other panels that gained upon the same themes of opening up opportunity.”

“For me, who comes from a technical background, I’ve attended hundreds of technical conferences and industry conferences. The first and foremost thing that made this conference stand out was the amazing generosity and sharing of the attendees. I have been to other computer science conferences, such as Grace Hopper Women’s Conference, which is all organized and attended by women computer scientists. What I saw here was the level of women leaders making a change in whatever field they were in. Whether they were head of a large-scale real estate firm or brokerage, they were all at the top of their profession but still they were genuinely sharing how they got to the top, not making it look so easy but sharing the troubles and obstacles that they had to overcome and how they stayed tenacious and persevering.”

“For a person like me who left the corporate world and took the risk of leaving and starting afresh, that message was really reassuring because it was inspirational to see all these women beating all the odds that were against them and becoming the master craftsmen of their craft.”

Judy Hoberman, President of Walking on the Glass Floor and Selling In A Skirt- International Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Author and Mentor

“The caliber of the speakers was amazing. I learned a lot about different organizations that I didn’t know before. Also, it wasn’t directed just at real estate. It was directed at women in business and I thought that was amazing. The speakers and panels were my highlight. I really like the Investing in Opportunity Act and the Veterans Panel, as well, and of course I liked mine.”

“[My panel] was very different because it wasn’t one category. It was about sex trafficking, homelessness, education, health wellness, and self-confidence. So it was really a nice mix but we all kind of moved it all together so that was good.”

Vanessa Montanez, Sales and Business Development Manager, National Specialized Sales & Strategics Markets, US Bank Home Mortgages

“The quality of speakers and audience attendees was excellent—superior, amazing, driven, both the men and women.”

“[At next year’s conference], I’d like to see higher participation in attendees. I was afraid of doing it in Chicago because of the number of attendees but I am happy and pleasantly surprised. I think by word of mouth and doing more highlights and viral, we will get more attendees. We have to keep the [Women in Red] theme because I loved seeing the sea of red here.”

Adenike “Nike” Fasanya, Owner, Marvel Ventures Mortgage, Inc.

“For me [the highlight of the conference] was just the women—just being in the same room as these women. This was not fluff. This was substance, this was brains, this was passion, this was power. So, I’m leaving so energized, so motivated, so blessed. This has been a great experience for me.”

“Every single panel had an “A-ha” moment for me. That is what I love about the program and the sheer diversity of the programs and the diversity of the women. Every single panel gives you something to take away. My brain is literally filled light bulbs right now.”

Karen Collins, Founder and President, Collins Collaboration

“The highlight of the conference for me was the high-quality women that were present, including participants and the speakers, and the quality and range of information that was shared by all.”

“I think I would classify it as a ‘boutique conference,’ so, as a result, you are able to get to know the ladies and chat with the ladies and the speakers, and the men. Not to exclude the men because they were present and that engagement was also fabulous.

Genail Anderson, Shareholder, Peterson & Price, APC

“The highlight for me would be all of the great minds and collaborators in the real estate ecosystem coming together and actually sparking the creativity in all of us to put things together and how we can help each other and how we all fit in. It’s not all about ‘How can you help me in my business?’ but ‘How can I help you?’ I see ways I can help you that I didn’t see before because we’re all together in this room, looking at every piece and putting it all together. That is amazing, and this is one of the best conferences I have been at.”

“It’s all about getting the word out and letting people know how great it is that way we can all build our contacts and our network of real estate professionals even further. Again, it’s not about what can I get out of it. All the time I’m asked, ‘Do you know anyone who does this or is in this market?’ Before I would say ‘Well, I could try and find you someone,’ but now I have this huge rolodex of people that I can refer, and I have the feedback to know they know what they are talking about, you can trust them and they are going to do great things. I just love it.”

Monda Webb, Business Development & Relationship Manager, EarnUp

“[The highlight of the conference was] reconnecting with old friends and meeting news ones. I say ‘friends’, and I don’t use that term loosely. The women I connected with are interested in not only creating relationships but building and maintaining relationships. They’re like minded and that’s very important to me. These are powerful women in the industry doing powerful things, but they’re still operating on a human level.”

“There were so many firsts. Dr. Chitra Dorai, the first Indian woman to be an IBM Fellow in  160-odd years. We had another first with Rebecca Steele, the first woman to take on the U.S. Government with the things that have been done to her. And yet, these women are very approachable, very ‘Hey, what can I do for you?’ They are servants and they want to service mankind, and that I appreciate. We all feel the same way, and we just continue to build and lift and grow and love off one another.”

Lisa Dunn, Realtor, Casa Bella Realty Group

“I went to the conference last year and I just thought it was great. It’s a different group of women and a completely different sphere than what I’m normally involved in. I thought it was great to meet people from different industries, people I can meet and brainstorm with and find out things I didn’t know existed out there. This year I said, ‘I have to come back.’ I have to hear more, I have to meet more people, I have to see how they can help me expand doing the work that I do and how we can work together and better serve our clients and serve the industry.”

“I’m looking forward to a lot of the government entities talking. I do a lot of work within the FHFA and VA world for real estate. I do it helping homebuyers, but I need to learn more about the USDA and how we can use that in an area where people don’t normally think of. I’m from Orange County, California. People don’t think of USDA but you can use that loan there. There are people here that do things that have connections within the VA world, so I can continue trying to do my work so more veterans—women veterans— can become homeowners but expand my knowledge base and the people I know in the industry I know I can go to for assistance.”

Tina Patterson, Principal, Jade Solutions, LLC

“The one message that I heard repeatedly is that when the tide comes in we all rise. Okay, that sounds good, but how do we do it? This conference actually put some real substance behind that statement. That means you ask me if I have a resource and I make suggestions and I do it.”

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