Celebrating Veterans Day with Erica Courtney

NAWRB would like to give special thanks to NAWRB Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) Member Erica Courtney, President of 2020vet and Zulu Time, U.S. Army Aviation Major, NATO Gender Advisor, and California Commissioner on the Status of Women & Girls, appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, not only for her service but also for her contribution to NDILC and the NAWRB community.

Erica Courtney is a U.S. Army veteran having served in various positions to include; military police, scout helicopter pilot and paratrooper. As a trailblazer, she was part of the first group of women to go Cavalry and the first to graduate the Advanced Armor Cavalry Course. Erica continues to serve the nation as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve under the Joint Chiefs of Staff working on Women, Peace and Security initiatives as the only NATO certified Gender Advisor working at political and strategic levels.

To celebrate Veterans Day, NAWRB is releasing Erica Courtney’s story on being a Woman Veteran. Don’t miss this impactful life story about the trials and tribulations of being a woman veteran and how Erica Courtney persevered for the United States of America!

Part 1 of 6
I am proudly part of the 1.4 percent of American women who served in the military. The day I signed the paperwork to join as a teenager the Gulf War kicked off and I watched tanks fire through the night on TV thinking, “What in the world did I do?” Having grown up in surf city USA (Huntington Beach, CA), I was never exposed to the military. To emphasize this point, the first time I walked into an Army recruiting office I had sand in my hair and sun-kissed skin; I was with a friend of mine and said, “Hi, I am thinking about joining the Marines,” not even understanding the difference in services. The recruiter took a few looks at us, confused, and had to be thinking, “Sucker!” Having always been athletic and adventurous, I thought why not. I would rather try something and hate it than wonder what it would have been like. College was a bore and I was ready for the unknown.

“Get off the bus, you maggots!” Welcome to Military Police Basic Training. What was wrong with these people? Why so much yelling? Okay, bag in hand off the bus I went into the barracks. This is actually where Hollywood gets it right. There’s lots of yelling, climbing, learning, bonding and trying to stay under the radar. Except, I learned early on that was pretty hard for me. I was a runner breaking six-minute miles, and one particular drill sergeant could not stand that there was a female in his fast group and did whatever he could to break me. He was an infantry man where they did not work with women. There were many days of unnecessary hazing to the point he was counseled by the officers. He tried to make me cry, but failed. Many more attempts would follow. I learned early, never let them see you sweat and there is no crying in uniform.
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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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Facts on the Current State of U.S. Women

This month is Women’s History Month, dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the central role of women in American history. In honor of this occasion, NAWRB presents important facts by the U.S. Census Bureau on the current state of women in their latest Facts for Features piece.

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Artificial Intelligence in Real Estate: How to Leverage the Disruption

Discussions about how artificial intelligence (AI) will alter the workforce as we know it is a hot topic among thought leaders, including those in the housing and real estate ecosystem. While some fear that improvements in machine learning and cognitive intelligence will present a threat to jobs—which is certainly an important concern—others see AI as a helpful tool for real estate professionals.

When hearing the term “AI,” people often think of chatbots and Siri or Alexa; however, experts see AI as having greater potential as a common helper in the real estate industry—being able to communicate with buyers in an intelligent manner and identify important signals for property regulations, such as RegTech.
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Women of Color: A Powerful Demographic for the Future

Portrait of group of businesswomen standing together in office

The statistics are captivating: American Express OPEN’s 7th Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report reveals that businesses owned by women of color have grown 467 percent since 1997. Numbering 5.4 million, minority women-owned businesses comprise 46 percent of all women-owned firms, have over 2 million employees and generate $361 billion in annual revenue.

In the recovering American economy, why aren’t women of color being touted as a powerful demographic?
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Stop Being A Fly on the Wall

Everyone gets stuck. It’s part of life. It’s part of business. We all have blind spots, energy slumps, personal and professional limitations and challenges that often we might not seem to be able to get over.

But getting stuck can be especially frustrating when you are a CEO and everyone looks up to you for leadership and guidance.

Surprisingly, in situations like this, 95 percent of us think that if we just try a little bit harder, it’ll all work out and we will be able to resolve our challenges and eventually ‘get unstuck.’

When I work with executives who are ‘feeling stuck’ I usually tell them a story that goes something like this: “In a quiet room, on a hot day in July, a small fly burns out the last of its short life’s energy in a futile attempt to fly through the glass of a window pane.”
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sheCENTER(FOLD) Quinn Palomino

Co-Founder and Partner, Virtua Partners

Quinn Palomino

Quinn Palomino is the Co-Founder and Principal of Virtua Partners, a fully-integrated, private equity and real estate services firm. In this intimate discussion with NAWRB, Quinn shares her incredible story as a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant, her experience growing up in a mix of both American and Vietnamese cultures, the words of wisdom she lives and works by, and more.


NAWRB: What was your childhood like growing up in Vietnam?

Palomino: My family evacuated Saigon, Vietnam on April 30, 1975 after the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. The image that many people may recall is of helicopters leaving from the rooftops of the U.S. Embassy that day. Approximately 125,000 individuals like my family evacuated and many of us were allowed entrance into the US as refugees. My family was sent to Fort Chaffee in Arkansas and provided refugee housing in the barracks at Fort Chaffee as part of the what the U.S. military called “Operation New Life.” And it was exactly that for my family and I, an opportunity at a “New Life.” We later settled in Orange County, California in a little suburb called Mission Viejo.
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Special Guest Interview with Wendy Federman, Award-Winning Broadway & Film Producer & President of Foolish Mortals Productions

What is a Producer?
“A producer is a rare, paradoxical genius: hard-headed, soft-hearted, cautious, reckless, a hopeful innocent in fair weather, a stern pilot in stormy weather, a mathematician who prefers to ignore the laws of mathematics and trust intuition, an idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, a stage-struck child. That’s a producer.”
–Oscar Hammerstein II

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CA Passes Women on Corporate Boards: Disrupting Real Estate Businesses

NAWRB had the pleasure of writing a formal letter to the various committees on the California State Assembly and Governor Jerry Brown regarding the passing of SB 826 bill, which requires that at least one woman be on the board of publicly held companies in California by year end 2019. 

At time of writing, California Jerry Brown has officially signed the SB 826 bill this year, a landmark legislation requiring female representation on corporate boards. Despite concerns over its potential efficacy. The bill is an important step in diversity and inclusion, as well as for the advancement of women.

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