William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Top 10 Women In Real Estate

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Top 10 Women in Real Estate

In comparison to a few decades ago, the number of women in real estate has significantly increased in the 21st century. It is important to note that women were a part of the real estate industry since its inception in the late 1700s, but it is not until the the late 1800s that they slowly started to move into the roles of agents and brokers.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 67% of all Realtors in the United States are women. This is a significant increase from just a few decades ago when real estate was a male-dominated industry and women were heavily underrepresented. In fact, back in the 1970s, aspiring female homeowners in the U.S. weren't allowed to finance their own purchases.

While the number of women working in real estate has increased significantly over the years, there are still sectors where women are underrepresented in the real estate industry. In sectors like commercial real estate, women make up only 37% of of the overall workforce and hold only 9% of the industry’s leadership positions.

Despite the fact that the real estate industry was historically dominated by men, women continue to push back existing boundaries. Today, the industry is much more diverse, and women are playing a critical role in shaping the future of real estate.

Here are 10 excellent women leaders who are breaking the glass ceiling in the real estate industry and creating space for other women for continued growth.

Key Points
  • Historically, the real estate industry was largely male-dominated and women only started becoming agents and brokers in the late 1800s
  • According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 67% of all Realtors in the United States are women
  • Among the top influential women in real estate include Ila Corcoran, Bronwyn Leigh Jones, Claudia Willard, Hope Atuel, Kenisha Robnett, Leslie D. Hale, Mary Fitzgerald , Melissa Alexander, Rochelle Atlas Maize and Sharelle Rosado

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning, financial management, and real estate here. More on disclaimers here.

10 Influential Women In Real Estate

1. Ila Corcoran
Ila Corcoran

Ila Corcoran is the Senior Vice President, Real Estate Operations at Bay Street Capital Holdings, a Black-owned investment advisory, wealth management and financial planning firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA.

Her introduction to real estate began after her family experienced foreclosure. Born out of necessity to secure housing and develop career capital that would propel her into the opportunities systematically unavailable to her community, she saw potential to help people create security through housing and homeownership.

At the start of her career, Ila began as a property manager among a team of 4 others managing more than 300 units across southern California. Simultaneously she obtained her Real Estate License, a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from California State University Long Beach and a minor in both Business and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Ila found her passion within the residential industry, and for 2 years, she worked closely with homeowners and real estate professionals in order to help them maximize their investments and avoid the threats of discount buyers and or foreclosure. In 2021 alone, she led a team to close annual sales of more than $80m in transaction volume across numerous states. Her sales volume for the past 5 years stands at $10.4 million.

She strongly believes that financial and housing security is a right that all people are deserving of. During her free time, she enjoys serving apartment communities across Los Angeles as well as non-profit housing spaces dedicated to those experiencing homelessness.

Ila is taking in new clients in 2023 and you can schedule an appointment with her here.

2. Bronwyn Leigh Jones

Bronwyn Leigh Jones is a Realtor at The Oppenheim Group as well as the founder and CEO of Coral Sustainable Services, LLC. The company facilitates introductions to customers and source capital, grants, equity and debt capital in the USA, Australia, Asia, India and Europe. As a real estate advisor, her greatest pride and joy is helping her clients find their dream homes.

Before venturing into the real estate industry, she was an actor, singer, and model in Bondi Beach, Australia. In 2014, her journey in real estate began when she became a key advisor to the International WELL Building Institute.

With a reputation of maintaining confidentiality when working with her clients, some of who are public figures in the entertainment industry and professional athletes, she has successfully managed to build a close network of strong lifelong relationships.

3. Claudia Willard

Claudia, a native of Venezuela, has been a resident of South Florida since 1999, and a licensed real estate broker associate from 2003. Before becoming a Realtor, Claudia previously worked in the Property Management Division of Algebra International GMAC Real Estate, overseeing leasing and management of residential properties.

She together with her husband Justin Willard founded the Willard Realty Team Corp and so far they've managed to sell close to 500 homes. These are among the highest numbers recorded among teams serving South Florida.

Her cultural insight and fluency in both Spanish and English have enabled her to foster and maintain excellent relationships with international clients.

4. Hope Atuel

Hope Atuel is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). In 2022, she made history by becoming the association's first female CEO to be appointed to serve in this role.

Previously, she served as the Executive Director of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) since January 2012. In her capacity, she works to provide those in the Asian American community with homeownership opportunities, as well as help propel the careers of those that would like to join the real estate industry.

She was also named to Real Estate Almanac’s Top 40 Women Executives List.

5. Kenisha Robnett

Kenisha is an award winning Realtor, a serial entrepreneur and among the successful women in real estate who began her journey in the real estate industry in 2005. She started off as an entrepreneur managing a commercial and residential portfolio for a private investment firm. After that, she transitioned into commercial brokerage as a tenant rep with UGL-Equis.

With an undergrad degree in Chemistry and Spanish, Kenisha is known to do market research, analysis of the legal document required and then strategize in order to come up with the best solutions for her clients, based on their specific needs. She is a member of the Board of REALTORS® and the GA Assoc. of Business Brokers.

In 2020, she was awarded GlobeSt Broker of the year (Tenant Rep) and was recognized as a Woman of Influence in CRE. In 2019, she was the recipient of the Connect Media Woman In Commercial Real Estate Award.

She is passionate about serving her community, and one of the ways in which she does is by donating 10% of her commissions to local and international charities.

6. Leslie D. Hale

Leslie D. Hale is the President and Chief Executive Officer of RLJ Lodging Trust. She can be considered among the most successful women in real estate, as she made history as the first African-American woman to lead a public real estate investment trust. This move is considered an incredible success as she achieved this when only 1.5% or 11 people out of all 726 executive officers across the REITs are Black.

As the President and CEO of RLJ Lodging Trust, she is responsible for all financial matters and daily operations of the company. She is also in charge of overseeing the company's investment decision making process and long term strategic planning.

She attended Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, DC and Harvard Business School.

7. Mary Fitzgerald

Mary is a luxury real estate agent at the Oppenheim Group where she represents buyers and sellers in the Los Angeles Area. She lived in New York and London for a number of years and, during this time, worked for the Candy Brothers at their London headquarters. She was involved in significant projects like 1 Hyde Park.

As the current executive Vice President at The Oppenheim Group, she mainly deals with property management and business development. As a luxury real estate agent, she has managed to set herself apart as a result of her impeccable work ethic, integrity and honesty.

The Oppenheim Group is the leading real estate team in West Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, with more than $250 million in sales since 2015, and has recently expanded to practice real estate in New York.

8. Melissa Alexander

Melissa Alexander, SIOR currently serves as Partner for Foundry Commercial, a real estate company that specializes in investment, development, leasing and management services. Based in Nashville, TN Melissa has 17+ years of real estate experience with a focus on leasing, selling and development of industrial properties in Tennessee and across other areas in the U.S.

She has previously served as the Principal of Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) where she served as the only female partner and female broker in the firm. She is consistently named among the top brokers in commercial real estate and in 2018 together with her colleague, Casey Flannery, they launched #CREchat , a platform that hosts thought leaders in commercial real estate in order to bring change and innovation to the industry.

Alexander is a member of the Forbes Business Council and in 2022 she was recognized as GlobeSt.com Industrial Influencer and also Buyer Broker for 2022 NAIOP Nashville Industrial Sale of the Year - 2 Dell Parkway.

9. Rochelle Atlas Maize

Rochelle Atlas Maize is the Executive Director of the Luxury Estates Division at Nourmand & Associates. Her specialty is in luxury real estate and so far she has managed to secure 2+ billion in career sales.

With over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, Rochelle has earned a reputation as one of the top real estate agents in Southern California. She has been recognized by numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, as a top-producing agent and one of the "Top 100 Real Estate Agents" in the country.

Rochelle is known for her expertise in the luxury real estate market and her commitment to providing her clients with exceptional service and results. She is a sought-after speaker and media commentator on real estate topics, and she is regularly featured in industry publications and media outlets.

10. Sharelle Rosado

Sharelle Rosado is a top-level, luxury real estate agent. She is the Chief Operating Officer and founder of Allure Realty, a luxury real estate firm that was founded in 2019. The firm serves clients in the Tampa Bay Area. She together with her team specialize in brokering high value real estate transactions for their high-profile clients. The firm also offers brokerage and consultation services to other real estate agents looking to leverage technology in order to improve their business skills.

As a former Paratrooper in the United States Army, her background as a senior leader in the US Army has equipped her with exceptional leadership skills. These skills continue to help her in her entrepreneurial journey where she continues to mentor and empower women in minority communities. As a way to honor her military background, Rosado also specializes in military relocations and settling fellow veterans into comfortable new environments that suit their needs.

The success of the firm has led to its expansion into new markets, specifically in Miami and soon Charlotte.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent investment advisory, wealth management, and financial planning firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA.

The firm was founded by William Huston after 13 years of supporting the United States' largest retirement plan ($650B) Thrift Savings Plan. He is recognized as Investopedia’s Top 100 Financial Advisors for 2021. He is supported by Ekenna Anya-Gafu CFP, AAMS in Scottsdale Arizona, who is recognized among the Best Financial Advisors for his responsiveness, friendliness, helpfulness and attention to detail.

They firm manages portfolios with the goal of maintaining and increasing total assets and income with a high priority on managing total risk and volatility.









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