One of the most rewarding experiences I have as CEO of Kris Lindahl Real Estate is working with an all-female leadership team. We didn’t set out to make it that way. We believe in putting the right people in the right seats, and the best people for our leadership chairs right now happen to be women.
I’ve worked with some of these natural leaders for years. Others just recently joined us. Some have deep real estate experience. Others come from different industries and look at real estate with fresh eyes. Given their unique perspectives and experiences, I asked them to share their thoughts on where real estate is headed and how the industry measures up as a place for women to thrive.
I should mention that our leadership team isn’t a monolith. We have different personalities, we don’t all think the same way, and we often get into spirited debates. But three major insights emerged from our discussions that I definitely found worth sharing.
1. Real estate is a highly appealing profession for women, especially when they come from other industries
Our leadership team sees real estate as a welcoming industry that offers strong opportunities for growth. What I especially liked hearing was that the women who joined us after years and decades in different industries wish they had started their life in real estate much sooner.
“Real estate is absolutely a woman-friendly industry. Women are often struggling to balance work, life and home. In real estate, you have the ability to make your own schedule. If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen real estate way earlier.” – Katie Lambert
“I felt stuck where I was, and I wanted an opportunity that I could grow with. Real estate has definitely provided that.” – Meghan Levorson
“I never imagined that I would be changing careers after 20 years in the automotive industry. It was a bold move, but I’m glad I made it.” – Angela Schliinz
“My parents ran a husband-and-wife real estate team for 20 years, so I’m a second-generation real estate professional. I saw the lifestyle they created for me growing up, and I wanted that for my family, too.” – Kat Pap
“As a solopreneur, I longed for collaboration and a team of like-minded, driven individuals. Now I have that, and I never want to go back. In corporate accounting, I longed for more energy and fresh ideas. Finding real estate was like finding a needle in a haystack, and I’m so thankful that I did.” – Chrissy Horst
2. Your competitors aren’t in real estate — they’re in Silicon Valley
Many of the women on my leadership team mentioned that they’ve seen the real estate industry start to deliver the same customer and employee experience as high-tech industries. They enjoy being a part of that push, which they see as long overdue.
“People want from real estate what they’re getting from Amazon, Instacart and Uber: speed, convenience, reliability and transparency.” – Katie Lambert
“Buying and selling homes is now at everyone’s fingertips, and they want a fast and pain-free process.” – Kat Pap
“Real estate has been forced to find new ways to buy and sell homes quickly. Virtual tours and programs like our Guaranteed Offer are making buyers and sellers do business differently. Consumers want a customized approach where they can choose how they want to do business. You have to offer multiple products and experiences to tailor the experience for each individual.” – Angela Schliinz
“Technology will be huge, but there will always be a need for human interaction. People don’t want a cold, impersonal transaction when buying the biggest purchase of their life.” – Kris Kovalik
“Today, customer service starts with service to each other. You have to check your ego at the door, roll up your sleeves and help your colleagues get things done. The only way to deliver exceptional service outside is to have the right culture inside.” – Chrissy Horst
3. Women are well-represented in real estate leadership, but there’s room for improvement
My team overwhelmingly sees real estate as a woman-friendly industry, especially compared to some of the businesses they came from. But there’s also a desire for more female representation at leadership levels.
“I know a number of females who are amazing leaders in the industry. What I’ve seen is fair, and I think women are truly appreciated in their roles.” – Meghan Levorson
“Women are well-represented in real estate, but I’d love to see even more in leadership roles. I don’t think we’re fully where we want to be, but the change is happening. As women leaders increase, we’re advocating for other women around us, which is helping raise up even more women who will continue to fight for change.” – Angela Schliinz
“Real estate is for people who are highly driven, as well as those who can master the soft skills of client care. Women can deliver that gracefully and without skipping a beat.” – Chrissy Horst
“When I entered the business, it was a ‘good old boy’ world. Technology seems to be changing that, as the ‘good old boys’ don’t want to change. I’m also a real estate instructor, and out of 10 instructors for course 1, I’m the only female. I still get the feeling that when a woman has a strong presence in this industry, she seems ‘bitchy,’ while a man is ‘strong.’” – Kris Kovalik
“I spent 23 years in a male-dominated industry where leadership talked about hiring and promoting women, but men made the important decisions. Women were called ‘equal,’ then asked to order lunch or clean up the conference rooms. It’s inspiring to work with strong, opinionated and talented women — and to be seen not as women first, but as powerful and highly capable people who just happen to be women.” – Katie Lambert
If the women on Kris Lindahl Real Estate’s leadership team are any example, I think we can feel as good about the future of real estate as I do about the future of our company.
Kris Lindahl is the founder and CEO of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, the #1 team-owned real estate brokerage in Minnesota and #12 nationwide.