Although there are many women in real estate, there are far fewer in leadership roles. Correcting the imbalance requires everyone to lean in and create a culture that allows all to thrive, team leader Adam Hergenrother said.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian. He believes that business is nothing but a conduit for personal growth and embraces the company’s vision to Love How You Live. When he’s not leading and growing his organizations, you can find Adam either in the mountains or out in nature with his wife and three children.

I will be the first to admit that I do not understand all the unique challenges and demands that women face at work, at home and in society at large. And, yet, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside some pretty remarkable women throughout my career. In fact, most of my companies are led by women.

Although that may have happened “by accident,” upon reflection and many conversations with those leaders, it’s clear to me what attracted these women to my organization and what has kept them here year after year as they have grown and moved into leadership positions throughout the company. 

Yes, I could take responsibility for helping to create opportunities for these women to become leaders in real estate, but that’s taking too much credit. True, I created an environment of growth. However, these women saw the possibilities, leaned into the work, and created their own opportunities for leadership many times. 

The real estate industry has historically been a profession where women could succeed and thrive. Real estate is a woman-dominated industry and as of 2020, 64 percent of Realtors were women. However, despite that statistic, women only make up 20 percent of senior leadership positions in real estate companies. That is simply not enough.   

As real estate entrepreneurs and business owners, there is much we can do to create an environment where women can become leaders in real estate.

Here’s how real estate leaders can create an inclusive environment for all women and help them create paths toward leadership: 

Create a culture of inclusivity and choice 

Creating a culture that aligns with your vision and mission for your company requires focus and intention. For me, that means culture and company where the business is nothing but a conduit for personal growth.

When, we, as leaders focus on the whole person and embed that into our culture, it creates a place that promotes understanding of obligations and responsibilities outside of work.

It fosters a results-based company that allows for freedom and flexibility with schedules. It creates a company where inclusivity is at the forefront and opportunities abound. 

Women also value choice and the ability to influence how their career and work evolve over time. As business owners, knowing this, it’s our responsibility to encourage those conversations, help the women in our organization create personal and professional development strategies, and promote ownership over career choices.

This is all part of an inclusive — and individualized — culture. No one wants to be pigeon-holed into stereotypical roles. I’ve seen first-hand with the women leaders in my organization just how powerful it is to focus on the individual. 

Actively recruit women 

Once your culture is established, it’s important to be sharing the vision widely and often to attracting individuals who would thrive in a supportive environment that believes in work-life presence. But that is only the first step.

Consider some of the various women-run organizations or women’s leadership organizations that you could connect with to find your next top agent or leadership team member. Professional organizations provide a great opportunity to recruit individuals who are already looking for growth and investing in themselves.

Creating internship or “apprentice”-style opportunities at your organization is another great way to provide exposure to your company for women while getting an idea of whether they would be the right fit for your organization.

Sharing career opportunities, providing access to those opportunities, and going where women leaders already are is part of actively recruiting women to the real estate industry. 

Provide coaching, training and mentorship 

Coaching, training and mentorship programs are all a huge part of creating women in leadership. Perhaps your hire a one-on-one coach for an emerging leader.

Maybe there is a senior leader in your company who wants to mentor a few newer agents. There could be several leadership training seminars or courses that you know would be beneficial to the women on your team who are interested in leading in real estate.

These are all great options and opportunities to invest in the growth of the women leaders on your team. You invest in them, and in turn, whether they stay with your company long-term or not, you will have created more women leaders in real estate, and that is a good thing. 

Promote from within the company 

I have always been a big proponent of promoting from within. This is how you can really develop and help create opportunities for women leaders in your organization. I have experienced this firsthand over the past 10 years, and it has, no doubt, been a contributing factor to our company’s success.

Here are a few examples:

  • My listing coordinator became my executive assistant and is now my chief of staff
  • Another listing coordinator became our director of agent services
  • Our marketing director became our sirector of operations and is now the VP of operations 
  • An agent in our brokerage became the productivity coach and then team leader 
  • Our client services coordinator became our national director of client services 

Yes, these individuals and many more are all women leaders in my companies. By hiring from within, you can see their work ethic, develop growth plans, invest in the appropriate training and keep growing together. 

More than half of the U.S. population is female. I would like to see the number of women leaders in real estate, and all industries, reach that level of equality. As real estate owners, we can lean in and help make a difference. As a father of two daughters and a leader of a company with 75 percent female employees, I strongly believe that representation matters.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s companies and culture here.

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