Over the past two decades, gender equality has improved in the world of real estate brokers. While the status of women remains precarious in other fields, the real estate sector has managed to evolve and welcome more women. Did you know that female real estate brokers currently make up 44.2% of the real estate workforce? Although full parity has yet to be achieved, it is noteworthy that this percentage keeps increasing every year. More and more women are making their presence felt. In addition to being accessible to women, the real estate industry also projects a much more attractive image than before.
On this International Women’s Day, Via Capitale would like to highlight the inspiring career paths of two women who have made their mark: Samia Ouertani, a real estate and commercial broker for Via Capitale du Mont-Royal, and Danielle Bolduc, director of Via Capitale Équipe, whose office is located in Quebec City.
Samia Ouertani: a bumpy yet fascinating journey!
Recognized as one of the most successful brokers in Quebec, Ms. Ouertani was awarded the Double Diamond prize at the Via Capitale Performance Gala last year. Ms. Ouertani’s career path was anything but smooth: “When I started, I was a single mother of four children who was going through a divorce. At the time, I didn’t even have a car. I had to use public transportation to meet my clients,” she explains with a smile. “I even avoided talking about my personal life with some of my colleagues and superiors, as being a single mother could be frowned upon.”
Ms. Ouertani had to make many sacrifices and compromises to achieve such professional accomplishments: “I had to put a solid structure in place, especially with four children at home, and seek help with chores. I couldn’t be on all fronts at once. All in all, thanks to my husband’s help, I was able to spend quality time with my family, but I could never have achieved so much without all this support.”
According to Ms. Ouertani, work-family balance is certainly a major issue for young female brokers, but there are other challenges on the horizon for women looking to climb the ladder: “As it stands, no women take part in what I call major real estate transactions. Even though our image within the industry has changed, when I sell an income property, I only get calls from male brokers and buyers. Should I chalk it up to sexism? Not necessarily, but there is a place for women in this type of market.”
Danielle Bolduc: a role model for women looking to climb the real estate ladder
Danielle Bolduc’s career path also had its fair share of trials and tribulations: “I’ve been in real estate brokerage since 1998. At the time, I was working for Canada Post, and I was helping my husband, who ran a housekeeping business. It turned out that some of his clients were brokerage firms. When he had a heart attack, I had to take over his contracts. One of the agencies for which I did housekeeping believed I had potential,” Ms. Bolduc explains enthusiastically.
Without a doubt, her tireless social involvement helped her reach management positions in real estate: “I was very involved in the school community in the Quebec City area. I did a lot of volunteer work and I had developed an extensive network of contacts, which allowed me to build up my clientele fairly steadily.”
She also notes a significant change in how the industry is perceived over the past two decades: “Twenty-five years ago, the sector was full of people who were starting a second or third career. Today, when we look at the potential candidates who come to our training courses, we see more women, but especially young women. This is very encouraging for the future.”
Among the future challenges that these women who aspire to a career in real estate will have to face, Ms. Bolduc agrees in every respect with Ms. Ouertani: “In fact, there are few women in the business world, particularly as agency owners. Our strong listening skills and agility allow us to manage teams of brokers tactfully, whether they are predominantly male or female. There is no reason why women can’t run a successful agency that is great to work for! My personal experience shows that it is entirely possible.”
Being your best self: the key to a successful real estate career
To be successful in real estate, women need to focus on their distinctive qualities. There’s no point in imitating men. According to Ms. Bolduc, “Skills such as active listening, adaptability, empathy, client satisfaction, and transparency are essential to the profession. I believe that these qualities come more naturally to women than men.”
“Women are sometimes driven by the relational aspect of a transaction, which strengthens the relationship with the client. Society has changed a lot, and for the better, and our male colleagues have come to accept and cherish human values more than ever,” says Ms. Ouertani.
One thing is certain, although parity has not yet been achieved, women’s success and determination are powerful catalysts for change in the real estate sector. The paths taken by Ms. Ouertani and Ms. Bolduc serve as inspiring, telling proof that gender gaps are useless and destined to become a thing of the past.
We offer a heartfelt tip of the hat to these two women who have paved the way for future female brokers who will in turn honour this esteemed profession!