NDILC Women Leadership Principle #3 Believe with Council Member Teresa Palacios Smith

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As the CEO & President of Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE) Real Estate Brokerage, Advisor & Investor for AmicusBrain—AI for Aging Population, CSO for ZuluTime, Publisher, Connector and a National Speaker, Desirée Patno’s network and wealth of knowledge crosses a vast economic footprint. With three decades specializing in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem and owning her own successful brokerage, she leads her executive team’s expertise of Social Impact, Gender Equality and Access to Capital, and provides personalized consulting services to the Real Estate and Family Office community.

NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) recently introduced their Ten Women Leadership Principles, which they collectively created to help women in the workforce become more effective leaders at any stage of their careers, and empower other women to reach their full potential. This is a universal guide for all levels of leadership, and any woman can benefit from applying them. This week, NDILC presents the third principle, “Believe” shared with a personal story by NDILC Teresa Palacios Smith, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, HSF Affiliates LLC. 

In the upcoming weeks, each of these principles will be presented in detail with a personal message from an NDILC member about her experiences applying these principles to her professional and personal life. To learn more about the NDILC, please visit www.NAWRB.com/NDILC/.

Women Leadership Principle #3: Believe by Teresa Palacios Smith 

Believe: Whatever the Mind Can Conceive, It Can Achieve.

“Think and Grow Rich is not about money. Does it seem out of place or sorts to reference a book whose title suggests financial aspirations during a once in a century pandemic when everyone is thinking about safety and survival instead of personal growth? 

Originally it did to me as I sat barricaded in my office week after week, my mind kept wondering about the book that has inspired me to overcome so many obstacles throughout my life since the summer of my teenage years when I first became spell bound by the book’s spirit.  This book written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 is where the leadership skill #3 stems from. 

I now wonder, might there be wisdom during this covid-19 pandemic where both our very lives and our financial well-being is relentlessly being attacked.  The answer was yes as the centerpiece of Napoleon’s book or signature saying was “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”

This optimistic refrain or blueprint for a life of abundance, I believe would serve our society well as we all seek to come out of these trying times together, yet unfortunately for some with the loss of others. Together to me as Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion is a word and concept I personally and professionally cherish.

Together is now taking on an elevated meeting as we are all seeing our country and the world coming together in a way that we all wish would continue long after the pandemic. Conceiving togetherness will lead to achieving togetherness. This however will mean believing and having positive thoughts during what undeniably are negative times in so many ways.

As Leaders, how can we extend a message of hope and how will we specifically need positive thinking? Positive thinking about how precious life is which is what fuels social distancing. Positive thinking about our responsibility to our fellow humans is a major part of why we wear masks as not to infect others, even when we don’t know if we might already be infected. Positive thinking will lead to a cure.

Positive thinking will lead to a rebound to our economy and our industry. Indeed, what we can conceive and believe we can achieve and for now we must all. Think and Stay Safe.”

NDILC’s Ten Women Leadership Principles

  1. Acknowledge Trailblazers: Know and learn from the women who came before you. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants: “So, what does a trailblazer even mean? Defined in the formal context, it is a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country or wilderness; pathfinder; a pioneer in any field of endeavor; a vigorous independent; a person who is the first to do something that other people do later.  Implied in this definition is the fact that these people are leaders, risk takers and are not afraid to push boundaries.” Read More
  2. Keep Achieving: Effective leaders always keep learning. There is always something to learn and improve upon: “Achieving. Learning. Growing. Changing…all words that are used very often to tell us what we should be doing and what we must be doing in order to survive and be effective in today’s world.  No one would debate the need for continuous learning and growth. Information continues to bombard us from every angle, but is that really knowledge?” Read More
  3. Believe: Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
  4. Pass the Torch: Give opportunities to future generations of women. Your legacy will be the people you help along the journey.
  5. Know Yourself: Be authentic and lead in a way that is true to you. Own your unique talents and strengths, and empower those around you.
  6. Speak Out: Unconscious bias is present, but ignoring it only perpetuates it. Take a stand and speak out.
  7. Listen: Never assume anything about anyone. Everyone has their own story that makes them who they are.
  8. Be Present: Sharing your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Do it with intention by truly being present.
  9. Prepare for the Future: Women with advanced skills today will be ready for tomorrow’s challenges.
  10. Lead by Example: Inclusion isn’t enough. Press for parity and strive for excellence in everything.

Stay tuned for other articles that will expound on each of these principles to assist women professionals in applying them to their individual goals. 


The NDILC is dedicated to raising the number of women leaders and growing women’s employment and empowerment at all levels in the housing ecosystem. The Council, composed of senior executive women, works diligently toward gender equality and obtaining equal opportunity for women across America. To learn more about the NDILC, please visit www.NAWRB.com/NDILC/.

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