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The 2019 NAWRB Conference, Redefining Leadership, has come to an end this week, but for all our senior executive and industry expert participants, this is just the beginning of newfound relationships and forward-thinking dialogues that were formed during this informative and invigorating professional mastermind event.
An overarching theme for attendees was the power of relationships and helping each other reach our unique goals. Industries and individuals across the housing and real estate ecosystem are capable of achieving greater social impact together than they can alone. Our inspiring speakers gave attendees golden nuggets of wisdom that they can apply to their professional and personal lives, and they informed them of developing trends and tools that are being poised to influence the way many industries operate in the future.
SHETalk speakers and panelists gave useful information about how we can help more women advance into leadership positions, from the C-suite to the board room. Chris Boyle, Chief Client Officer of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac, and Scharrell Jackson, Partner, COO, and CFO at Squar Milner LLP and CEO and Founder of Leadership in Heels, are among those who have earned their way up the ladder to be the only woman in the room. With their experiences and knowledge, they are encouraging women to own their worth, prepare for the position they want and seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
Chris Boyle mentioned the importance of not only having a mentor but also a champion: “We need champions, not just mentors and sponsors. We need male champions, too. Ask for the champion that is going to take you to that next level.“ In addition to having a champion, don’t be afraid to be your own champion and advocate for yourself within your company. “We often minimize what we bring to the table,” stated Scharrell Jackson. “We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable by tooting our own horn.” Boyle adds that you should not be afraid to ask for the salary you believe is appropriate for your position: “If you’re capable and qualified, you should be paid that salary.”
And if your dream is to sit on a board, our “Women on Boards” panel, moderated by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020 Women on Boards and Berkhemer Clayton Retained Executive Search, and a lead advocate for the SB 826 Women on Corporate Boards Bill that passed last year in California, shares invaluable tips on how to get a seat at the table. The panelists agreed that serving on nonprofit boards is key to getting on corporate boards, along with networking with the right people, growing a good reputation and thinking strategically.
Other panels provided eye-opening yet sobering facts about veterans, homelessness and the aging population. Veterans have skills from the military that would help them be more successful in civilian life. In fact, Erica Courtney, President of 2020Vet and Zulu Time, U.S. Army Aviation Major and NATO Gender Advisor, states that veterans are two-thirds more likely to contribute to the community and twice as likely to outperform civilians as business owners. However, American society does a poor job of helping veterans reintegrate back into civilian life and in the workforce. Women veterans, who are 2 million in number, often feel invisible. This is why Zulu Time is building a holistic veteran transition center focused on community integration that is cognizant of the unique needs and experiences of veterans.
Currently 553,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the United States. Representatives from LA Family Housing, WISEPlace, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and Union Station Homeless Services had a meaningful dialogue about the causes of homelessness, which are often linked to physical health, history of trauma, job loss, mental health , domestic violence and a catastrophic event, not mental illness and addiction. A combination of increased outreach, housing, employment opportunities, political will and community engagement is needed to provide every homeless person a home.
John Figueroa, CEO and Managing Partner at Baily Cavan Capital LLC, stated that housing and healthcare are pressing issues for the aging population. “A vast majority are trying to figure out how to change to meet the needs of the growing aging population,” he shared during his panel. “Three out of four have multiple chronic disease states and are taking multiple pills a day.” Dementia is often putting families into poverty with out-of-pocket costs that are 81 percent higher than other chronic conditions.
More families are choosing to not put their elders into nursing homes, so the aging population are being cared for in a variety of different settings. Attendees learned of new technology developments that are being created to assist caregiving and manage healthcare.
Having a wide breadth of knowledge from an array of industry professionals representing the entire economic ecosystem is a fitting demonstration of the NAWRB’s growth in the last ten years. With our combined resources and expertise, we are building a dynamic resource for future generations. Moreover, we are forming consequential connections with each other in the process. To find out how you can support and partner with NAWRB today, email Lucille.Chaney@nawrb.com.