Raising Women to Take the Lead

When I was growing up (I don’t want to date myself here), I can vividly remember commercials on TV depicting women doing what women were “supposed” to do — the laundry, childcare, puttering around the kitchen.

We’ve come a long way, thankfully, but creating meaningful opportunities for women has a long way to go yet. And some sectors of business have had a rockier start than others.

Take the housing and mortgage industries for example.

Both have been largely male dominated, though inroads are being made. Today, there are many organizations committed to greater gender diversity in the mortgage industry. And a great deal of research is being conducted to get it right. A 2018 McKinsey Women in the Workplace study found that to gin up leadership roles for women the idea must be treated like a business priority, holding leaders accountable.

And there are a great many awards and events that showcase the great accomplishments of women in the industry — a further testament to it being taking seriously. The Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem is dedicated to being “a leading voice for women” in our sphere. Each year they present their Leadership Awards to those women who exhibit fearless leadership skills and help raise awareness for mentoring.

Similarly, in 2018, the National Mortgage Professional Magazine launched an annual event “Mortgage Banking’s Most Powerful Women,” to honor to the leadership achievements of women in the mortgage industry.

But it wasn’t always so rosy for women. You don’t have to look far for an example — that great bastion of real estate, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), was comprised solely of men at its inception in 1908.  

It didn’t take long for women to do what they do best — find solutions. They came up with their own brand of leadership — and just like that, with spunk and drive, the Women’s Council of Realtors was born in 1938. Men need not apply.

A support system grew organically — women helping women. That kind of sisterhood opens a great many doors.

And NAR? Today, 62% of members are women. Sea change!

Women have naturally flocked to real estate because of pay parity — after all, commission knows no gender. Sales and support roles burgeoned with women.

But women must strive for greater positions. I’m talking about key roles in the C-suite. The senior-most ranks of not just the housing sector, but every sector of business.

It’s important that women take the lead whenever possible. Leading in a business once dominated by men is transformational for women. It creates ever more possibilities for us all.

And it’s crucial to identify our star power early. That’s where the Hamilton family shines. We have learned to zero in on a high-performing, high-potential talent pool that we can groom for managerial roles. Fearless women who can excel and advance to support the company in key positions.

According to the latest figures from Catalyst research, the percentage of women in senior management roles in the United States is 29%. Before you scoff at that low number, consider that it is actually the highest ever recorded. But we obviously need to do better.

We need active encouragement. Encouragement is infectious. And it creates a network of support. A foundation. The type of support that generates confidence…which in turn leads to bold leadership roles. All the while creating change — change that ripples. The Hamilton family has that foundation.

It’s true — a growing number of women are breaking barriers in our field and in many others. But while change won’t happen overnight, it’s important to ignite the passion that will create an easier path for the next generation.

Once upon a time, strong women in leadership roles were few and far between — now they are gaining in strength and numbers.

The women in the Hamilton cohort share a bond. They know they are an inspiration and resource for each other. More importantly, they trust the leadership that the Hamilton family provides.

Industry-wide, trust like that is new — and it’s a work in progress.

Anna Beltran
President & COO