The Women in Real Estate Brunch, organised by Drooms, took part during the UKREiiF Conference in Leeds last month and brought together a group of talented and accomplished women to share their advice and stories. With a focus on celebrating achievements, fostering a supportive community, and sharing valuable insights, the event provided a platform for women to empower one another in the real estate world. In this blog post, we share our top takeaways from the event.
The Women in Real Estate Brunch took place in the beautiful location of Tattu Leeds, which provided a much-needed break from the UKREiiF conference. The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as women from various backgrounds, including agents, brokers, investors, developers, and lawyers, gathered to network, share experiences, and gain inspiration from one another.
We started with a lively panel discussion, where our speakers their stories of successes and challenges, how the industry has changed for women, and their advice on finding mentorship and community with other women in the industry.
Importance of taking risks
Michelle McCann, CMO at EG, shared some great advice regarding the importance of taking risks and stepping outside one’s comfort zone. She encouraged attendees to constantly challenge themselves and explore new opportunities as they strive to advance their careers.
“Sometimes it’s important in your career to take chances and branch out to new opportunities – and put yourself outside your comfort zone. I’ve consistently tried to challenge myself and those who work for me on their quest to further their career. Overall, there’s not just been one risk…there have been many. I encourage others never to stop learning and experiencing what the world has to offer” – Michelle McCann.
Networking and building strong industry relationships
Another important topic discussed during the panel was the significance of developing strong industry relationships. Rachel Miller, Investment Director at Housing Growth Partnership, emphasised the value of establishing mutually supportive connections with like-minded individuals, regardless of gender, as they can empower and benefit each other in the long run.
“One of the key points for me was about the importance of developing industry relationships. Sometimes that could be a mentorship (or a sponsorship) dynamic, but I’ve also benefited hugely from establishing mutually supportive relationships with like-minded people – frequently, not only other women! Often where there is no immediate transactional advantage, these people can become those that truly empower you in the future, and you can do the same for them. Networks of people you may be less close to are equally helpful in making connections through different parts of the industry. Real estate is all about partnerships and relationships, so having a solid reputation and a good network is invaluable.” – Rachell Miller
Work-life balance for women in Real Estate
A struggle for work-life balance in such a challenging industry as real estate also came up during the discussion. Caroline Harper, Chief Planning Director at Be First, shared her insights on maintaining the right work-life balance and prioritising personal well-being. She encouraged attendees to leverage quieter periods to focus on other aspects of life, such as pursuing hobbies or engaging in sports. Caroline emphasised the importance of having options and not feeling trapped in a demanding work environment.
“Work tends to come in peaks and troughs, so take advantage of those quieter times for prioritising other things. I do a lot of sports, for example. And, for me, I like to feel that I have options. For example, previously, when Work has been relentless, I’ve ensured I have alternative job options. Not because I necessarily wanted to leave but because having options meant I didn’t feel trapped and was instead choosing to work in a challenging role. For me, that works absolute wonders for both my sanity and commitment to work.” – Caroline Harper.
Women-Only Groups in the Real Estate Industry: A Necessity for Empowerment
The real estate industry has historically been male-dominated, but in recent years, there has been a significant push for gender equality and inclusivity. As part of this movement, the question arises: Do we need women-only groups in the real estate industry? Shannon Conway, Residential Director at Glenbrook Property, shared her experience of initially avoiding such events but later finding them highly beneficial for networking and professional growth.
We can’t agree more with Shannon. Women-only groups in male-dominated industries provide a safe and supportive environment for women to connect and discuss the unique challenges they face in a male-dominated industry and brainstorm solutions. This camaraderie helps build confidence, assertiveness, and resilience among women, empowering them to navigate their careers more effectively.
Fireside Chat with Fareen Lalani: Overcoming Challenges and Fostering Leadership in Real Estate
During the Women in Real Estate Brunch, a fireside chat with Fareen, Senior Development Director at Kier Property, gave attendees invaluable insights into her journey and experiences. Fareen candidly shared her challenges in the past, including her parents’ initial lack of belief in her real estate career. This resonated with many attendees who have faced similar familial expectations. Fareen’s story served as a reminder that following one’s passion and carving out a unique career path can lead to success and fulfilment, even in the face of initial scepticism.
Fareen also discussed the challenges of giving negative feedback, particularly when it may be taken personally by team members. Fareen’s insights shed light on the importance of effective communication and setting up a path to improvement while considering individuals’ emotions. Fareen shared her experiences of being told during interviews that she didn’t have the ‘right look.’ Fareen’s openness shed light on women’s challenges and reinforced the need for continued efforts to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities for all.
We would like to thank all panelists and participants for attending our event. Here is a photo album from Women in Real Estate Brunch in Leeds. We hope to see everyone join our Women in Real Estate Community and participate in our exciting events throughout Europe.