In a shifting real estate market, the guidance and expertise that Inman imparts are never more valuable. Whether at our events, or with our daily news coverage and how-to journalism, we’re here to help you build your business, adopt the right tools — and make money. Join us in person in Las Vegas at Connect, and utilize your Select subscription for all the information you need to make the right decisions. When the waters get choppy, trust Inman to help you navigate.
Real estate leaders should be intentional about building futures that reflect the world around us.
That means working and personal lives that are at times chaotic. It means more women in leadership and a real estate industry whose diversity more closely reflects the nation.
That was the advice from two female real estate leaders who both said they’ve learned to stop chasing a mysterious sense of balance, embraced the at times hectic reality of life and worked to lift others up into all levels of the industry.
Kendall Bonner, broker-owner of RE/MAX Capital Realty, and Kymber Menkiti, president of Keller Williams Capital Properties, joined an Inman Connect Now panel to discuss their roles as working mothers who are leading in real estate.
Bonner recalled bringing her daughter to a reception where she was “probably one of two Black or African Americans in the room of hundreds of leaders.”
“She was 14 at the time. I remember she looked around and she said, ‘Mommy there’s not a lot of Black people in this room,'”
Bonner said. “I was like, ‘Yeah honey, right now that’s something in our industry we’re working on, we’re trying to grow, I’m intentional about [diversity, equity and inclusion].’ I think we all should be.”
Bonner and Menkiti both spoke about their commitments to creating more leaders in real estate.
Menkiti is honoring her mother’s commitment to lifting women up into leadership positions through a scholarship that helps women get through real estate school and licensing. It’s called the Lift as You Climb scholarship.
“The only pathway to get more women in leadership and more women on these panels and more women sharing their stories is to get more people in the door,” Menkiti said. “As we are seeing more women rise through the ranks, it’s critical that we are continuing to elevate and continuing to tap on the shoulder.”
Both acknowledged women as long-time crucial players in real estate.
“It’s critical for us to see each other as colleagues and not competition,” Bonner said. “That’s part of the challenge is that we convince ourselves there’s only so much room for us and is there room for all of us? I think there is.”
Stop chasing perfection
Menkiti and Kendall both talked about recent events including changes brought about by COVID-19 that helped them to find balance in their working and personal lives.
“I realized my imperfection is my connection,” Bonner said. “I don’t have to be perfect anymore.”
“It’s the inner workings of the inside of us — the spirit and the soul,” Bonner said. “When that’s happy, and that’s content and that feels like it’s connected to something bigger than ourselves, then that’s when everything we do to me makes sense.”
Menkiti said COVID helped to embrace the reality of each person’s life.
“In some ways I love the Zoom world. The kids are coming through the background, things are happening. That is actually the real deal. That is what’s happening,” Menkiti said. “Whenever I’m on a Zoom with a woman where that’s happening, I’m like, ‘Stop apologizing. That is your life, that’s real. That’s what’s happening.'”
Bonner recommended real estate professionals work on setting realistic expectations for themselves and others in their personal and working relationships.
“That’s our problem, we keep going, going, going. We don’t allow ourselves to heal,” she said. “We don’t allow ourselves to process. We’re just like, ‘Nope, I’ve got to be strong, I’ve got to be better, I’ve got to be faster, I need to do more.'”
“It’s like stop. Take a breath.”