As Women’s History Month draws to a close, the NDILC came up with a list of 10 principles companies and individuals can implement to help women become more effective leaders, in today’s challenging environment and into the future.

We’re nearing the end of Women’s History Month, which is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the central role of women in American history. Across the country (and the world), women are currently facing unprecedented changes and challenges in their personal and professional lives due to the COVID-19.

Not only are women dealing with limited mobility in carrying out their professional duties (which is stressful on its own), but some are having to care for children and family members around the clock as schools and other facilities shut down.

Times are tough — but women are tougher, and these times will test them as leaders in all aspects of their lives.

To help women navigate this new environment with the best tools possible and to inform companies on how to nurture the success of their female leaders, the Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) has introduced a list of principles for female leadership. 

The council is composed of senior executive women, including well-known leaders in the real estate industry, who took several months to curate the best set of leadership principles that are simultaneously modern and universal.

Listed below, you’ll find the lessons these executive women leaders came to learn throughout their careers in the real estate ecosystem. These principles were curated to help women become more effective leaders in the workforce at any career stage as well as empower other women to reach their full potential.

This list is a universal guide for all levels of leadership, and any woman can benefit from applying these principles.

The 10 women leadership principles

1. Acknowledge trailblazers

Know and learn from the women who came before you. We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants.

2. Keep achieving

Effective leaders always keep learning. There’s always something to learn and improve upon.

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.

How companies can help women leaders

The last principle should be followed by individuals and companies alike. While individuals should do their best to make sure they’re positioning themselves for leadership opportunities, it’s up to companies to provide women and other groups opportunities to develop their skills and prove their talents. 

Inclusion isn’t enough for ensuring long-term diversity in the industry. In other words, it’s not enough to add token women in top executive positions or in the boardroom to ensure long-lasting gender diversity at all levels of employment in the workforce.

Rather, it’s important to press for parity in everything — from opportunity to attainment, from recruitment to reward and from pay to promotion. 

Although talk of gender diversity in the workplace — especially in top executive positions and boards — has been a more prominent public concern, the advancement of women in these levels has been slow-moving.

Gender discrimination and unconscious biases are still obstacles female professionals have to face when attempting to climb the corporate ladder. This is especially true for women of color, who represent only 1 in 25 senior leaders in the workforce.

Employers who do understand the importance of having a more diverse top-level workforce are still not making it a business priority or part of their strategic plan.

Rather, they rely on good intentions in the hiring and promotion process, which, more often than not, fails to cover the unconscious biases that affect people. Companies that have improved in advancing more women to top executive positions make gender diversity a formal business priority. 

In addition to providing opportunities for sponsorship and mentorship for women and minorities, other valuable tools include:

  • Providing career development planning specific to women’s needs.
  • Applying the same metrics of job performance evaluation to both men and women.
  • Providing equal career opportunities to both men and women.
  • Creating a culture that embraces women’s leadership styles.

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 its website

Desirée Patno is the CEO and president at the Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desiree Patno Enterprises, Inc. She is also the chairwoman of the NDILC. You can follow Desirée on LinkedIn and NAWRB on Facebook.

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