It cannot be denied that being a woman in any industry comes with challenges. The real-estate industry, although predominantly women, has its own share of gender-related inequalities. Back in 2013 when she got into the real estate career, Lauren was not only a woman, but a young 23-year-old woman going up against much older men and women agents & dealing with predominantly male attorneys and lenders. She remembers promising herself that she would never allow anyone to bully her at work.
“There are two main challenges I would say women face in this business,” states Lauren. “The first is the lack of respect from some men. Ironically my long-time lender and attorney are both men, but many of the other agents and especially attorneys will try to talk down to you no matter your experience level. They will bully you, discredit you and even put you down or insult you.”
Lauren feels that sometimes women are not viewed as serious businesspeople. A lot of times she has noticed that fathers of clients do not respect the agent if they are women because they feel they know better.
“The second reason is the opposite. I have lost many clients when a significant other did not want their partner to communicate with me because I was a woman. Whether it be a lack of trust or jealousy, I am not sure. On the flip side, males reach out with false pretences all the time pretending they want to buy a house but really, they want to take you on a date… Even facing these challenges though, women are fierce, resilient, creatures and are absolutely killing it in this industry despite the roadblocks,” states Lauren.
A Resolute Leader
To Lauren, one of the most important qualities a leader can possess is knowing the difference between a leader and a boss. “A boss, well they boss people around, they dictate, they manage, they set rules. A leader guides their people and leads by example. A leader listens, takes recommendations, and is open to ideas and suggestions,” shares Lauren.
As a leader herself Lauren believes in motivating and supporting her team, and picking them up when they are down. “I was always a leader I think from when I was a kid. I was the captain of every sports team, I was the one who picked everyone up when they were down, motivated them, and believed in them. I wanted them to be the best version of themselves. I still do that to this day.”
At REX’s First Class, all agents and team members are encouraged to have a voice and to express themselves. Lauren practices transparent management and an open-door policy and is always up for suggestions from her team. She says, “A leader is someone who puts themselves second so their tribe can come first. In our office, I care about you as a person and a friend first. I care about your health, your family, your struggles, and your life. As for business, I am your number one fan, your biggest cheerleader, and I love bragging about my agents for all the world to see.”
Another thing that Lauren has learned from her experience is failure is a part of a leader’s journey and a part of life. She shares, “You cannot possibly thrive in anything until you failed first. And then failed again. Then again. I learned when I was just starting out that failure is a massive component of being a real estate agent. You can either let it destroy you or you can embrace it. I chose the latter.”
During her free time, Lauren enjoys reading personal development books in order to keep growing as an individual and leader. Whenever she feels like she is falling into a slump Lauren seeks her husband’s advice and that helps clear the fog. “The other day he came home with flowers, we danced and made muffins and boy did we laugh. He just knows when the real estate roller coaster is on the downhill, I need some help,” mentions Lauren.
Lauren’s mother also plays the role of her executive assistant and has been a constant support to Lauren throughout her journey. “I would not be anywhere near where I am without her support, encouragement, and all her hard work,” says Lauren.
Words of Advice
To other entrepreneurs on their own journeys to success, Lauren says, “Be yourself, always! No matter where life takes you or what job you land. Never change the person you are for your boss, your co-workers, your clients, or anyone in between. Also – Embrace the haters. There will be a lot of them. Success breeds it.”