Leanne Pilkington, President of REINSW says it's time to take a stand

Inspiration: Leanne Pilkington, President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW.

Inspiration: Leanne Pilkington, President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW.

Following the 2018 Women in Real Estate conference (WIRE), REINSW President and Laing+Simmons Managing Director, Leanne Pilkington put pen to paper giving expert advice for women to put into practice.

"I never wanted to stand out because I was always part of a male-dominated workplace and industry," she says. "I didn't want to separate myself."

But after attending a women's networking event, Leanne emailed 12 women to ask if they'd like to join her for lunch and a chat about the real estate industry.

When 65 women turned up to the lunch, she knew she was on to something and Real Women in Real Estate was born. But Leanne still wondered why women's events were necessary. As she held more events, she answered her own question.

"In my experience, women communicate and engage differently when men are not in the room," she says. "We want to be in a position where we can be vulnerable and communicate without being judged. And this makes women's events important.

"Women need to be inspired by others who have stories and challenges similar to their own. Real estate has been a boy's club for a long time, especially in corporate leadership. But women are succeeding and thriving as managers, directors and agents every day. They just aren't as visible or vocal as the men."

But being visible and vocal don't guarantee success. Leanne says you must listen to feedback, take it on board and make changes where necessary.

"As a female leader, you cop a lot of flack for not solving every problem affecting women in the workplace. But understanding the challenges and showing how you overcome them sets the path for others to follow.

"As women, we know how to juggle competing responsibilities and understand the power of efficiency. This puts us in the perfect position to adapt to and embrace the benefits of technology in the real estate industry.

"By 2022, 50 per cent of businesses will lose staff because of technological advancement. However, new jobs will arise in 38 per cent of those businesses because of technology. This means we have an opportunity.

"Tech-enabled agents will do a better job, that's a fact. But at the core of our profession are the skills that can't be replaced. Skills like complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, negotiation and collaboration. These are skills agents - and in particular, female agents - exercise every day. We have these skills in abundance.

"So, while we can dazzle our clients with new technologies - and we should - soon all agencies will have the same advantages and clients will once again respect what only we can offer: hyperlocal knowledge and emotional intelligence."

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