Women should tap other women to grow their businesses: REO panel
Women-owned certification and networking tips dominated discussion at an "Opportunities for Women in REO," panel at HousingWire's REO Expo in Fort Worth, Texas. Cade Holleman, program manager with the National Association of Women REO Brokerages, said becoming certified can open up contract opportunities at the local, state and federal level. Regulatory changes at the Small Business Administration and buried within the Dodd-Frank Act also should open up additional opportunities for women-owned businesses, Holleman said. The Obama administration has renewed the focus on the long-missed target of 5% of women-owned business participation in federal contracting, he said. Dodd-Frank mandates the creation of more than 20 offices of minority and women inclusion — each tasked with monitoring federal agencies and their policies regarding women and minority business owners, Holleman said. But beyond certification, women in default services and REO fields should take from the men's playbook when it comes to networking, panelists said. Men quickly get to the point, asking each other who they work for and asking for connections within firms where they want to gain business. Women, meanwhile, often are reluctant to share information about their work and their connections, panelists said. "Share your knowledge and stop trying to do this on your own and learn from the men out there who have been doing this successfully for many, many years," said Shelley Kaye, founding member and executive director of Women in Default Services. Kaye said helping others has benefits. "If you share your knowledge it comes back to you 100 times … and that is really what WinDS is all about," she said. Sharon Bartlett, moderator of the panel and director of vendor services for Freddie Mac/HomeSteps, also reminded attendees that someone "is always watching." So, even though attendees are away from the office, and perhaps in a different city and state, they need to be cognizant of how they present themselves to others both in their dress and in their behavior as their image will follow them everywhere. Panelist Mary Martin, director at CoreLogic, drew laughter when she asked the crowd how much of their day is spent multitasking. But growing more serious, she told how she was a young, single mother at age 19 and the challenges that involved. She admonished REO Expo attendees to find that balance. "When you can find balance," she said, "it really is a beautiful thing." Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.