California’s Cooling Housing Market: Symptom of National Affordability Issue

The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast of California’s economic and housing market reports that housing will continue to cool into the year 2020 despite current job growth and strong economy. The economists attribute the weakening to falling home prices in major markets and decreased demand.

Economists anticipate the demand for housing will decrease in California’s major markets even though recent trends indicate the state’s overall economic strength, including improvements in the job market.

According to a report by CNBC, California’s average unemployment rate is expected to rise to an average of 4.5 percent this year and then decrease to 4.3 percent in 2020 and 2021. Also, the state has added the highest number of construction jobs, amounting to 28,500, in the past year.
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Road to Gender Equality – Keeping Women Ahead in the Labor Market

For  enturies, women have faced injustice and fought for equality to men. Examples of this are in the fight for women’s suffrage beginning in the late 1800s, the inability for women to serve on a jury pre-1919 or for a single woman to open a bank account in her own name as little as roughly 50 years ago. Being a woman has not been seen as advantageous, at least from a historical standpoint. In regards to the workforce, it wasn’t until 1975 that the Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against women in work, education and training.

Even from that point, women still faced difficulty competing with their male counterparts in acquiring better positions and, despite the Equal Pay (Amendment) Act of 1983 allowing women to be paid the same as men for work of equal value, equal pay has still been an issue for some time. 

Yet, with all the struggle of women for equality, in recent years women—specifically Millennial women—have surged ahead of many of their male counterparts. Nearly 60 percent of all college students are women, demonstrating a growing gender gap (in favor of the female) in higher education—often times considered the “ticket” to a high-paying job. 
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Failure for Success in Women’s Leadership

Long ago, I received some leadership advice from a good friend that has continued to resonate within both my work and personal life for years: Take chances. When you fail, admit your failures and learn from them. The fear of failing can be paralyzing, and leaders must do more than fail at random or simply learn from their mistakes. Being a true leader requires having the confidence to trust yourself and take risks, for it is only through taking risks – and often failing at them – that you can innovate and improve, explore new ideas, and pursue excellence for yourself and your team.

Failures give us the opportunity to reset, learn and grow, and a leader understands that it is crucial to take advantage of these opportunities. Your reaction, response and recovery from failure can be an incredibly powerful path to success. When you let go of the fear of failure and instead seek active learning, adopt various perspectives, embrace continuous improvement, pay it forward and – most importantly – never give up, it will allow you to lead teams through a journey of discovery, innovation and success.

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Discrimination in the AI Industry Contributes to Discriminatory AI Systems

A new report from New York University’s AI Now Institute titled Discriminating Systems: Gender, Race and Power in AI highlights the diversity crisis in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector and its effect on the development of AI systems with gender and racial biases. 

The lack of diversity in the AI sector and academia spans across gender and race. Recent studies show that women comprise only 15 percent of AI research staff at Facebook and 10 percent at Google. Women make up 18 percent of authors at leading AI conferences, while more than 80 percent of AI professors are men. Representation of other minorities is also sparse. Only 2.5 percent of Google’s workforce is black, while this is true of 4 percent for both Facebook and Microsoft. 

According to researchers, AI’s lack of diversity extends past the underrepresentation of women and other minority groups to power structures and the creation and use of various AI systems. Most of all, the report suggests that historical discrimination in the AI sector needs to be addressed in tandem with biases found in AI systems. 
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Don’t Bring Your Whole Self to Work: Bring Your Best Whole Work Self

As I look back on my twenty-five-year career in corporate America, I am struck by and struggle with the Diversity & Inclusion (“D&I”) and employee engagement mantra to “bring your whole self to work.” That might surprise you if you know me: I started my career working on D&I, and have worked on D&I inside and outside the workplace ever since. Some may even consider me a champion of D&I. But it is my passion for D&I that brings me to the conclusion that it is time to break the “bring your whole self to work” myth.

The idea behind this mantra is simple: if employees bring their whole selves to work, they will feel better about the workplace, and by extension be happier and more productive employees (and human beings). That sounds good on paper. The problem is this: you shouldn’t bring your whole self to work if that means behaving badly. Or said differently, you should bring your best whole work self to work, not your “whole self.”
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A Primer on Opportunity Zones Investing

The opportunity zone program was enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Reform with the goal of directing long-term capital investments into underserved rural and urban communities. This program is viewed by many as the most ambitious federal tax incentive program for taxable investors to invest in real estate in decades. With an estimated $6.1 trillion of unrealized capital gains, the program uses a free-market approach to create economic resurgence and job creation in the low income and blighted communities.

Qualified opportunity zones are “economically distressed communities where new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.” To qualify as an opportunity zone, a locality had to be nominated for the designation by its state governor and certified by Treasury.  Treasury certified 8,764 census tracks in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five possessions, including the entire island of Puerto Rico. 

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In Remembrance of Laurie Maggiano

This January marked the first anniversary of the death of Laurie Maggiano, who served as Servicing and Secondary MarketsProgram Manager at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Laurie was an influential leader in the mortgage industry, a role model to her peers, and a beloved friend to many professionals in the housing ecosystem. In honor of her life and memory, NAWRB is sharing heartwarming stories from those who had the pleasure of working with and befriending her.

NAWRB had the honor of featuring Laurie as our sheCENTER(FOLD)in Vol. 4, Issue 4 of our magazine. In her interview, she shared her favorite professional accomplishments, her journey to the top in a male-dominated industry, her love for theater, and words of wisdom for future generations of women professionals.
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Happy Fourth of July!

Today marks 243 years of independence for the United States! The Fourth of July is a day in which the nation celebrates the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence signed on July 1776. In commemoration of Independence Day, the U.S. Census Bureau has released interesting facts about the Founding Fathers, the nation’s changing population and the various ways Americans celebrate this national holiday.

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