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Women's Council has interviewed some of the most influential thought leaders in the industry, who have generously shared their practical tips for success in real estate. Check out these "Leading Women."

In this series of interviews, we cover the essentials that you need to know to build a real estate business – from creating that sought-after "work-life balance" and motivating agents, to staying on top of trends in a rapidly evolving marketplace and how industry involvement can give you the competitive edge.

Leading Women: Harriet K. Konter - A Trailblazer for Women in Real Estate

Posted May 2017
A Georgia native, Harriet K. Konter was a trailblazer for women in real estate, tenacious in her passion to prove that women can hold leadership roles and make a career out of real estate.
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Leading Women - Judy Gibbons: Luxury Leader

Posted April 2017
Adversity can impact people in a way that gives them purpose and drive. Judy Gibbons, a broker-associate with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago and president-elect for Women's Council Chicago, knows that well.
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Meet the President: Sherri Souza, PMN

Posted December 2016
Sherri Souza, the 2017 National President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® and a broker/owner with Broker in Trust in Livermore, California, has become a passionate member and advocate of Women's Council. So it’s surprising to hear she initially hesitated to join the organization.
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Leading Women - Bernice Brubeck-Wong, PMN

Posted October 2016
There is an old Chinese proverb: "If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."
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Leading Women - Rebecca Thomson, PMN

Posted August 2016
When a friend’s father suggested Rebecca Thomson consider a career in real estate, he thought it would leverage her interest in sales. He was right. Little more than a decade later, Thomson is Vice President of Agent Development with @properties, the largest independent brokerage in Illinois and one of the top 12 residential brokers in the U.S.
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Leading Women: Angeline Kopka

Posted May 2016
Women's Council Past National President, Angeline “Angie” Kopka turned 100 years old on April 17, 2016. Kopka continues to inspire us all to push boundaries and aim high.
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Leading Women: Pamela Banks, PMN

Posted January 2016
If you’ve served as a Women’s Council leader with Pamela Banks, 2015 Florida State Chapter President and a sales associate with RE/MAX DIRECT in Wellington, Fla., you’ve probably received one of Banks’ famous orchids. “I told the leaders that orchids thrive when they’re in the right environment, just like human beings. When you put someone in the right place, he or she thrives,” says the avid orchid collector and WCR leader.
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Meet the President: Melissa Zimbelman, PMN

Posted December 2015
Melissa Zimbelman, 2016 National President of Women’s Council of REALTORS®, would be considered a success by almost anyone’s definition.
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Leading Women: Leslie Rouda Smith

Posted September 2015
Over the years, Leslie Rouda Smith has been through trying relationships, both personal and professional, that made her question her abilities as a leader. And in her career, she's learned a lot of lessons the hard way. "I've had people try to keep me down, but I learned not to take no for an answer," she says.
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Leading Women: Elizabeth Mendenhall

Posted August 2015
When Elizabeth Mendenhall says, "I come from a long line of REALTORS® and volunteers," she's not kidding. Members of her family have worked in real estate in various roles for six generations. And she's carrying on the tradition as CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, MO, where the focus is on innovation and automation to position agents to serve today's tech-savvy clients.
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Leading Women: Linda Lee

Posted May 2015
As president of Women's Council in California and a broker-associate and partner of the Keller Williams San Diego Metro market center, Linda Lee, CIPS, CRS, GRI, PMN, leads a life that is a bit of a whirlwind. She's the number two producer in her office of 230 agents and holds numerous roles with her local, state and national association, so there are always meetings to attend and people to see. In fact, in 2014, she says, "I spent close to 105 nights in hotels at various meetings."
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Leading Women: Dianne Christian, PMN

Posted February 2015
Franklin, TN, native Dianne Christian has watched her hometown change from a charming small town to a rapidly growing suburb of Nashville. Christian has used her ability to connect with people, as well as her strong market knowledge, to build a thriving independent real estate company in the area.
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Leading Women: Sindy Ready

Posted December 2014
For 2015 National President Sindy Ready, joining Women's Council occurred from a little motherly advice. "Honestly, I said, 'I don’t understand why I would join a women's only group. I don't understand the benefit,'" Ready recalls. "My mom said in a very motherly way, 'just shut up and join Women's Council. Trust me, you will get it later.'"
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Leading Women: Wendy Forsythe

Posted September 2014
Sometimes fathers really do know best. It was her dad's advice ("If you want a career in business, you need to learn to sell.") that prompted Wendy Forsythe to enter the real estate industry while still a business student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Forsythe since has risen to executive vice president with Carrington Real Estate, where she oversees global operations for more than 30 offices and 1,400 agents.
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Leading Women: Sherri Meadows, PMN

Posted March 2014
REALTOR® Sherri Meadows got her start working part-time with a real estate agency during high school and has steadily progressed in the profession ever since. Meadows was installed recently as president of Florida REALTORS®, which boasts more than 118,000 members, and she serves as a broker and chief executive officer of three Keller Williams offices in Gainsville, Ocala and Summerfield, Florida.
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Meet the President: Jo Kenney

Posted December 2013
For Georgia REALTOR® Jo Kenney, she believes it's vital for a real estate professional to be the best resource possible for clients when counseling them through their real estate transactions. And those skills are built through industry involvement and market knowledge. Likewise, as Women's Council's 2014 National President, Kenney believes it is critical for the organization moving forward to also be a top business resource for its members, so they feel their time and money is well invested.
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Leading Women: Lola Audu

Posted April 2013
An international background has been one key to the success of Lola Audu, CRS, GRI, associate real estate broker and owner of Audu Real Estate in Grand Rapids, MI. Audu grew up in West Africa, attending an international missionary school in which the student body came from more than 50 countries. Another key to Audu's success has been her skillful use of online media, including her popular blog that generates more than a million hits annually.
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Leading Women: Patty Kelley

Posted January 2013
As Patty Kelley takes on the role of president of the Nevada Association of REALTORS®, she recognizes that it was the training and skills she honed through Women's Council that helped her become the leader she is today. What started with an invitation to attend a local chapter meeting became her launching point for more than two decades of industry service.
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Meet the President: Anita Davis

Posted December 2012
"If I could name one benefit of belonging to Women's Council, it would be the relationships you build," says Anita Davis, Women's Council's 2013 national president. "The bonds you build with fellow members and officers are forever. I know I can pick up the phone and talk honestly about what's going on in my business, and they can do the same for me." And, in a competitive business such as real estate, that is priceless.
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Leading Women: JoAnne Poole

Posted August 2012
Over her more than quarter century in the real estate business, Baltimore REALTOR® JoAnne Poole has held a number of volunteer positions within the profession. "What's most rewarding is watching people grow and helping them until they realize their growth," Poole says. Check out her keys to success in real estate.
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Leading Women: Marie Barth

Posted July 2012
Based on her 40 years in the real estate business, Marie Barth, ABR, PMN, of Lakewood, WA, credits her success to her concern for clients. "I think the real key is a caring heart. When I interact with clients, they know I care," she says. Barth is co-founder and owner of Designated Escrow, Inc., and broker and vice president of company development with ALLEN REALTORS®. She is also a member of the Lakewood City Council.
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Leading Women: Sue Adler

Posted March 2012
Sue Adler continues to excel after a quarter-century in the business. She's been a leading agent with Keller Williams for the past seven years, consistently ranking among the company's top 35 REALTORS® out of approximately 82,000 across the U.S. She was also named one of the "100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders" by Inman News. What's behind her success?
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Meet the President: Bobbie Nelson

Posted December 2011
As a residential specialist with an independent real estate company, Bobbie Nelson has tapped into the potential of association involvement to build her business. With Women's Council, Bobbie has contributed as a leader on the local, state and national levels and will serve as 2012 National President. We recently sat down with Bobbie to discuss her business strategies, as well as the role she sees for Women's Council in a challenging industry.
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D'Ann Harper: A Passion for Real Estate

Posted August 2011
"I really didn't intend to make it a full-time job," says D'Ann Harper of being encouraged by a family member to get her real estate license, "but I absolutely loved it from the minute I started." Today, Harper has seven offices with 350 sales associates and, through it all, she stayed true to her original business model.
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Leading Women: Margo Wheeler Willis

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
When 2011 President Margo Wheeler Willis first joined real estate 17 years ago after retiring from the Army, she also joined Women's Council and learned quickly the power of building relationships to transform your business. Now more than ever, she says, the organization should be embracing its core values – relationships, education and leadership – while at the same time providing just-in-time education and networking tools through convenient technology channels. It's a tall order, but with a great plan in place and top-notch leadership training, Women's Council is more than ready to get the job done in 2011.
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Leading Women: Molly Kay Hamrick

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
When Bob and Molly Kay Hamrick purchased CBPR, she was already the top franchise agent in Las Vegas, and he was the top broker. Under their direction, the gross commission income of CBPR/Las Vegas increased from $7.9 million in 1997 to more than $30 million in 2006. Through their unique management style, the Hamricks have coached agents through the tough times more recently. Today, the company includes 325 agents and 40 staff. In July 2010, CBPR appeared on REALTOR® Magazine's list of the "Top 100 Real Estate Companies" in the U.S.
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Leading Women: Colleen Badagliacco

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
Colleen Badagliacco has been an influential leader in real estate for decades, first with the California Association of REALTORS® and then NAR. Today, she’s a major donor for RPAC and also works with calREDD, an initiative to pull together all California real property records regardless of status. This month, she shares her tips for success in real estate with eConnect.
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Leading Women: Cynthia Shelton

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
Six years into her real estate career, Cynthia Shelton, CCIM, CIPS, CRE, GRI, made the switch from residential to commercial and never looked back. She currently specializes in the sale of investment properties, such as net leased retail, grocery-anchored shopping centers and office properties for Colliers International in Florida
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Leading Women: Vicki Cox Golder

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
For NAR's 2010 National President Vicki Cox Golder, CRB, there is never a moment to sit still, but this expert time-manager is ready for her hectic year ahead.
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Meet the President: Deborah Tatum Gilmore

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
As Deborah Tatum Gilmore, ABR, GREEN, GRI, PMN, SRES, of Marietta, GA, begins her journey as Women’s Council of REALTORS®' seventieth national president, she realizes that as much as real estate has changed since the organization was founded in 1938, some basic principles remain the same.
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Mary Tennant: Taking on Challenges

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
A willingness to seize opportunities and work hard have propelled Mary Tennant to her current position as president and chief operating officer with Keller Williams Realty Inc. Tennant oversees Keller Williams’ international support center, which provides training and support for nearly 60,000 KW associates in the U.S. and Canada.
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Leading Women: Phyllis Brookshire

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
Real estate is in Phyllis Brookshire’s DNA. In her current role as regional vice president of the Allen Tate Company, she brings more than 20 years of real estate experience that she honed working at York Properties, a construction, property management and real estate company founded by her father.
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Sherry Chris Builds Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate from the Ground Up

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
Without realizing it at the time, Sherry Chris learned at an early age about what would become one of the foundations of her career. As the eldest of four children and the daughter of working parents, it wasn't unusual for Chris to come home from school and prepare family meals, help with housework and anything else her mom needed. Chores at home taught her structure, discipline and of course, responsibility, all of which she applies in her current role as president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.
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Accelerate Your Career with Volunteer Leadership

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
When you’re working hard to develop your real estate career, the idea of taking on a leadership role in an industry organization might seem lofty, but totally impractical. After all, there’s no time, and such roles would cut into your ability to actually be a REALTOR®. While that sounds reasonable, the exact opposite is true, according many leaders, who say that industry involvement gives you the competitive edge to build your business. Hear from industry leaders Cathy Whatley, Sharon Millett, Adorna Carroll, Barbara B. Lach and Pat V. Combs.
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Ebby Halliday & Mary Frances Burleson: A Pioneer and Her Successor Parlay Simple Principles into Big Business

Posted Leading Women Archive Prior to 2011
It was in Dallas in 1945 that real estate legend Ebby Halliday sold her first house. She was asked by the husband of one of the customers of the millinery store she then owned to sell cement houses, because, as he said, "If you can sell those crazy hats, maybe you can sell those crazy houses." Halliday went on to sell an astounding 52 cement houses in the next nine months.
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