• The goal of "Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate" is to spark a shift in how women treat each other in the industry.
  • The even will take place January 13, 2016 in Mesa, Arizona.

Suzy Levenda said she founded an event where female real estate agents congregate to celebrate and support each other for a simple reason: “Women treat each other like shit.”

The sixth “Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate” will kick off in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 13, 2016, and focus on themes including media manipulation and “creating change on the language of body image,” said Levenda, business and development manager at the Bookspan Baker Team of HomeStreet Home Loans.

As in past years, the bi-annual event will honor five women and one man for representing the ideals of “inspire, encourage, mentor and lead” in the industry.

Featured speakers include Katie Willcox, the founder of Healthy is the New Skinny; Jon Jorgensen, a New York City-based writer and artist; and Mary Ellen Claussen and her daughter Holli Zehring of the non-profit Ophelia’s Place.

The goal of the event is to spark a shift in how women treat each other in the real estate industry. What Levenda said she’s learned is that if “we simply share our story (whatever that may be) coming from authenticity and transparency, we break down the wall of judgment and criticism.”

Attendees of a past 'Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate'

Attendees of a past ‘Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate’

“We learn we have much more in common and we are no longer a threat to each other,” she said. “We find a commonality or a vulnerability that bonds you.”

So far, 460 attendees — including more than 400 real estate agents and brokers — have registered for the event. Keller Williams Realty and Re/Max are among real estate firms that have purchased dozens of tickets for their agents, she said. Up to 40 more tickets are available.

Todd Bookspan, a managing partner of the Bookspan Baker Team of HomeStreet Home Loans, will emcee the event.

“Todd always makes a joke about why he’s allowed to host a women’s event. He says because he has three daughters,” Levenda said.

Part of what inspired Levenda to launch “Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate” was an Inman post by Katie Lance titled: “Where Are All the Women Leaders in Real Estate?”

Lance has been a speaker at the event in the past.

Best Teke Wiggin.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that the latest “Women of Strength; Cultivating Leadership in Real Estate” will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona, not Mesa, Arizona. A previous version of this story also incorrectly stated that Katie Lance and Suzy Levenda have emceed the event. They have been speakers at past events, not emcees. 

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