In our second session of the day, Toni Moss, CEO of AmeriCatalyst LLC, moderated a discussion on the economic forecast for women in the housing ecosystem with special guests Marcia Davies, COO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and Tami Bonnell, CEO of Exit Realty.
Although she supports the advancement of women into the C-suite, Davies began by making a nuanced point: “Not having the highest title doesn’t mean we haven’t gotten to the top.” Everyone has their own definition of success; your peak may not necessarily be another’s peak.
On the topic of ongoing changes to Dodd Frank, Davies notes that revisions will hopefully bring clarity to rules that gave the industry some uncertainty. Regarding the question of whether GSE systems are outdated, Davies replies that it is continually innovating products and programs that are creating more choices for consumers. The main issue regarding the GSEs is the reform to take them out of conservatorship, which Davies believes will be a legislative process.
Next to take the microphone is Tami Bonnell, who shares her thoughts on the future of real estate. The industry, she says, goes through cycles all the time, but she does not believe it will be taken over by technological processes. Purchasing one’s primary residence is an important, emotional decision, and consumers seek help from agents with first-hand experience who will help them through this process.
Bonnell enlightened the audience with her unique business model for Exit Realty. Her business model has four components: 1) With a focus on the “business of real estate,” they find out what is working today and what consumers are most responsive to; 2) They help form exit strategies for not only consumers but for agents, realtors, brokers and more; 3) They give everyone an opportunity for a vested interest in the company, which leads to better company performance; 4) Exit Realty has a built-in mentoring and retirement program for its employees.
To conclude the session, both Davies and Bonnell offer advice for women looking to find success in the industry. Davies suggests that you expand your knowledge base by seeking new experiences. By doing so, you will expand your horizons and opportunities. Bonnell advises that you have accurate knowledge from a national, state and street level; consider getting an investor designation; and find your niche where you can fill a need. Areas to focus on include investment, international and senior business.
Thank you to these phenomenal women for being an incredible source of information for our attendees and the future women of the housing ecosystem.