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Cultivating Women Leaders in Multifamily

Published: Thursday September 29, 2022

In honor of Women’s History Month, Grace Hill pulled together a powerhouse panel of women leaders in multifamily to discuss: the challenges they’ve faced in their careers, the tools they’ve used to overcome them, and what they believe the industry can do to cultivate even stronger women leaders for the future. The panel was moderated by: Dana Hill (SE Field Sales, Grace Hill) and Christi Dobbins (Director of Product Management, Grace Hill) and the presenters included: Alycia Anderson (VP Sales, Knock), Darcey Forbes (Senior Director of Field Sales, Grace Hill), Jessica Fern (Senior Director of Training and Development, FPI Management) and Marci French (VP, Operations at HRG Management Services).


thank you for being a part of cultivating women leaders in multi-family this is a presentation
brought together by several groups including Grace Hill FBI management hrg
management services and knock so we thank everyone for being here and thanks for your participation a little bit of
housekeeping we have so much content today to talk about the tools and tricks
that have been used to help these women leaders get where they are now and what they see for the future in multifamily
so we want to make sure that we cover all of that but we will we’ll try to leave time for your questions at the end
there is a q a section enabled so if you have a question while we’re talking drop
that in and we’ll leave some time at the end to try to address those specifically
we also are recording this session and it will be shared in Vision libraries for Grace Hill customers
um we don’t want you to have to drop out we’re really happy you’re here and it’s going to be a very Lively conversation
but it is being recorded and will be shared with everyone who registered so thanks again and let’s get going
this month March is women’s History Month in the United States and in honor
of that we wanted to pull together some leaders in multi-family who are
themselves women and talk to them directly about the challenges that they’ve faced in their careers growing
to this position of leadership the tools that they’ve used to overcome those challenges and specifically what they
see the multi-family industry could do to grow even more women leaders
I’m thrilled to have along with me moderating this conversation Christy Dobbins who is the director of product
management at Grace Hill she’s done many many webinars with us and I’m so happy to have her moderating today and also
Dean Hill who’s in Southeastern field sales at Grace Hill two really
incredible women here at Grace Hill and people that I’ve been happy to work with so thank you Christy and Dana for
navigating this conversation and bringing the questions to our panelists I’ll let you start with your own
introductions Dana thanks for this first two happy to be here and so honored to
be a part of this panel of Powerhouse women and leaders today for our industry
I want to start with introducing my new best friend Alicia Anderson who happens
to be the RVP of sales at knock and we met through her being a motivational
speaker and she’s also a Dei which is personal to my heart a Dei coach and
most importantly a glass ceiling breaker I also am proud to introduce Martin
French another new best friend VP of operations at hrg Management Services
n-a-a-e-i faculty member Vice chair NAA
diversity and inclusion committee you go girl and also a glass ceiling breaker
thank you for being a part of the conversation today Cindy oh my God Christy will you take
over from here with the rest of the introductions I sure will and it’s hard to follow but I’ve got some glass
ceiling Breakers of my own here so first of all I’m going to introduce Darcy Forbes I am lucky enough to get to call
Darcy one of my colleagues now she’s been an amazing person to work with um she is the senior director of field
sales here at Grace Hill and we are very lucky to have you here today and then I also want to introduce
Jessica Fern Jessica I have gotten to work with her for several years as well
um with FBI she’s the senior director of training and development there and I’m always in all at the different views and
Vantage points that she offers and just how much she adds to what she does every day so thank you Jessica so much for
being here um shall we get started yes okay so we are going to jump into
questions right away because we have a lot to hear from all of these wonderful people and so I’m going to jump right
into the first question that we have for you today which is we would love to know
um what is a particular challenge that you have faced while growing into
leadership and Alicia we’ll let you go ahead and get started for us awesome thank you so much for having me
um definitely self-doubt or the doubt that stems from others and their perceptions of me for sure
um I think that you know there’s perceptions of for somebody living a
life like mine that is one with I’m a woman obviously but also living with a
disability I live my life from a wheelchair so this has affected me in my life my entire life
um whether I was excluded as a child in school from field trips because it was seemingly impossible to adapt or not
being chosen for the dream job that I was overqualified for because of the physical nature of the position and the
why me’s come up fueling my own self-doubt followed by the requirement
of me to overcome biases and stigmas a lot of the time that’s um you know surrounding disability
and the driver of doubt and others of me and but there’s a silver lining in all
of this in all things I think um which has forced me to learn to be bold in my actions and my communication
with others to be creative and adaptable in an ever-changing world and all
valuable tools that I leverage daily in my career and in the process of this
overcoming my own doubt I realized that I really have to believe in myself my
abilities my value my worth first and then over time that will trickle down
and strip away doubts of others that might be propelled on me um and then just you know giving me the
opportunity to grow more and that’s great and you know Alicia on that topic of self-doubt because that
that really does I think touch all of us in in many different ways um there’s a study done by KPMG last
year um female Executives I’m 74 of female Executives say that they will leave
their male counterparts do not experience as much self-doubt as their female leaders and and that has a lot to
do with what we call imposter syndrome which is feelings of Doubt of your worth
or feeling like a fraud um and it permeates to the workplace it’s usually rooted in stigmas or biases
but um company cultures or experiences can really make it worse and and really
intensify it and if anyone’s interested there’s a book that does cover a lot on
imposter syndrome it’s called confidence and assertive skills for women by
Angelina Williams so I it’s definitely a recommendation that I would give foreign
Marcy how about you well for me I think I’ve had two challenges that have kind of um balanced
each other out a little bit one is that um I have found myself often apologizing for who I am and then the other is
um navigating a really strong personality and I feel like they kind of go hand in hand so one for me I tend to
be very strong direct um and it can feel a little much for some people
um I find myself over compensating and apologizing for that um I think for me as a woman of color in
an often white male dominated space I feel like I need to apologize to to
compensate for that one of the things I’ve noticed is when I I’m mentoring young women and I notice there’s I’m
sorry I’m sorry to bother I’m sorry to bother you I see that in them because I know it’s something I struggled with so
a thing that I um often something I give to people as a resource is this commercial from Pantene is sorry not
sorry if you Google it and it’s this whole commercial about women apologizing for things when they didn’t even do
anything wrong so I love this I recommend it for all women so the other thing for me is to pay very close
attention to how I make people feel and emotional intelligence plays into that
and the key to that I think is to really pay attention to those that you speak with watch their body language how are
you making them feel how are they responding to you so I think for me navigating those two things together
have allowed me to balance out my own personality to accept who I am and then be able to navigate as both somebody’s
team member somebody’s leader and somebody’s um subordinate yeah very true and I love the no
apologies part there um it’s so important and also developing your emotional intelligence it really
can help you balance that self-perception versus what others are
perceiving of you and know how to respond to that and understand how to balance that so it’s great Darcy how
about you well I think I echo my female constituents here and saying that you know we we have a very bold group that
is uh joining you all today and I think some of the things that we you know get challenged with is what Alicia said is
that self-doubt and you know trying to quell that boldness that we have I’ve been known to be you know
um you know very transparent that there’s some points I should be opaque um and then I just that’s my effective
communication style but you know I think that as you grow in your career even from when I started in multi-family even
to today there’s that fear of failure that still just Rises up all the time and I’ve been able to serve in many
different positions within multi-family which has been you know a part of my you know excitement about being able to you
know experience different things but there’s always that little that little voice in your head that fear of failure
and I learned that you know that fear of failure is something that you have to listen to because there’s opportunities to learn from it
um and that you’ve got to look back at what your experiences have been um Robin Roberts had a great piece on this on one
of her master classes and she said you know when you get that self-doubt and that fear of failure she says can you
turn around and look behind you do you see all the other mountains that you already climbed all the achievements you’ve already done why is this one
that’s sitting in front of you this insurmountable and it just stuck with me and I was just like yeah you know what
that’s what you really have to take time to reflect upon and understand where you’ve been where who you are today is
going to shape who you can become in the future so when that fear of failure comes up just recognize it say hello to
it um and realize that okay it’s okay to fail and I’m going to fail but I’m going
to learn from it and pay it forward and I think Darcy to that point you know it’s not just the achievements that we
have in the past that can grow our confidence it’s the failures we have in our past that can also grow our
confidence so if you can look back at both and and learn from them and grow
that confidence from them it’s a powerful tool to harness absolutely I absolutely agree yeah
Jessica how about you I think one of my biggest challenges was
to earn what I’m going to go ahead and call leadership maturity by really growing into myself sometimes as new
leaders it’s hard to embrace all of the parts of you so you focus on what other people might want to see and learning to
embrace my whole self helped me remove that self-doubt that keeps coming up and
to me self-doubt is like finding famine where there is abundance so it’s
actually um from a Shakespeare sonnet but it’s a really important to Garden the right perspective new leaders are
inspired and driven but sometimes we lack the experience and exposure and end up focusing on the right or on the wrong
thing because we get very caught up and I want to be a leader and I want to take people to places but you really have to
focus on that leadership of self and I think that was one of my biggest challenges was finding out how do I
incorporate All of Me In into strong leadership of self which sounds really
easy but it’s not because you have to come to terms with all of those things that are coming up in these themes today
so a couple ways that I feel like really helped me earn that leadership maturity
was first accepting exactly who I am through honest core values and even that
is a little bit tricky because sometimes what we actually value and what we want to Value are totally different things a
really good example is if I say I Value Health and Wellness but I eat McDonald’s every day like those two things don’t
match up so like being very honest about who am I because inauthentic leadership
people can just smell that a mile away and so it’s very important just to be
good with who your core value DNA is misaligned values can create misaligned
intentions the second thing is just you know sharing this stage with all of these wonderful women who are also Brave
honest and vulnerable that inspires the exact same thing in others and folks
look to leaders to see how human can they really be and being a strong honest
Open Brave human helps make the world around you Fearless too I’m always honest and tough situations
which is really hard for leaders to do because those are the performance management or the constructive criticism
and the feedback but those are those moments where you look around and didn’t realize that you were a leader it’s
because you cared more about another to have the tough conversations and really invest back in because you cared more
about that other person than how it made you look um and then third I learn I learn more
about myself um embracing the owner’s manual and script uh that my ADHD and HSP which is
highly sensitive person brain works with they are very strong gifts that I am now
embracing that I never did before and that helps me be a very authentic leader
um and then the fourth thing is I just try to stay incredibly grateful and
learn from others and wake up every day trying to do the absolute best that I
can yeah starting that day off with gratitude is so important yeah Dana why don’t you go ahead and take on
the next question for us oh my goodness I’m still reeling behind
um the Nuggets that I’ve pulled from everything that I just heard I will have to say Jessica a lot of what you said
really resonated with me um in terms of embracing all that you
are that is something that I continue to work on because um I think it’s women we are often
instructed to conduct ourselves and and carry ourselves a certain way and I
don’t necessarily fit that mode and I’m learning to embrace that and accept it
that’s what makes me uniquely me I also love the point that you make if we focus
on those things that are negative uh they tend to get bigger and then for you
to say that there’s no fruit there there’s nothing there for us I love that
and I will chew on that a little bit longer but I would like to say and carry
this on forward to say look we’ve all shared some things about the confidence
issue I love that some of you gave us resources that we could consider but
let’s talk about you know what are some of the resources that have helped you
get where you are now let’s talk and dig into that a little more
why don’t we uh start with uh Marcy
absolutely um this this is a good list for me I’m passionate about this it’s mentorship so
for me um one of the resources has not only making sure I always have a mentor
or several mentors depending on what area of my life I want that covered but having mentors having someone I trust
someone that I look up to someone that’s been down the path before me who can help me navigate it but also being a
mentor and I I say that is a resource it’s not just being a mentor as a resource to someone else it’s a resource
to me the young women that I Mentor I learn so much from them it is absolutely
full circle as their eyes are seeing things for the first time or they’re experiencing things for the first time
how they navigate that is a learning opportunity for me so it’s full circle for me the third thing is staying in a
constant state of learning I am a consummate student um the day we think we’ve arrived we’re
done so we never arrive there’s always something new to learn you can learn things from the most unexpected sources
keep your eyes open keep your keep your ears open um and and there’s always something new
to learn and I love that I’m always looking for something new to learn and the last thing for me is my father
modeled integrity and in and hard work um my my one parent didn’t graduate from
high school the other parent had a vocational degree and I had dropped out of college so for me I didn’t have
anything I didn’t have that same source of Education that some folks will have
but what I had was that modeled for me so at the end of the day when I wasn’t
able to finish college what I knew I had was determination hard work and
integrity and I feel feel like those things have gotten me where I am today um and and you know if you have those
things if you have the right tools you can get really far and break those glass ceilings so absolutely I want to uh
Circle to Darcy because I think uh she could really uh piggyback on what you
shared uh Marcy in regards to the resources that helped you uh catapult to
your career yeah you know I think when we reflect back on our careers and you know we’ve
all started from somewhere my journey started as just a customer service agent I thought this was a summer job and when
I started this career um it’s now become the longest summer of my life because I’ve never left multi-family but the the one thing that
I made sure you know throughout my entire career and really in that those those early days that I formed my career
in multifamily was the the idea of being a continuous to to continuously learn I
am you know I always encourage that of my team members that you want them to be a sponge there is so much that we can
learn from each other and learn from the different roles that we all serve within multi-family and coming from the
operations side to now the supplier side I get a you know wide spectrum of you
know how different people operate what they you know what their positions you know what energy it takes to do their
positions what their teams are made of and you know with that you know you form your own own kind of leadership style
there’s plenty of books that are out there and we could all rattle off you know resources like that but I think
that when you stay in the moment and You observe what’s going on in these different environments you know it
catapults your ability to manage people into leading people um we talked about emotional
intelligence I like to look at it as being how can you be the empathetic leader and that really is you know
making those human connections which is so important and understanding what challenges your teams are facing not
only you know at the work um level but what’s going on personally not getting
too personal but appreciating what are the different factors and I think with you know if we’ve all learned anything
from you know quarantine we really needed to make those stronger connections so you know really you know
looking at like what you know other you know other areas that you can learn from
like diversify your learning like for me like master class this quarantine I got
to learn from so many other uh genres that I would never be exposed to you know how effective writing skills how to
be a good comedian um watching Robin Roberts learning how to cook you know all of these things you
may not think is going to put you you know elevate your leadership abilities but there are cues within their
responsibilities that you can take back and you know put into your own you know repertoire and I think one of the you
know most important things I you know that has helped me as a resource and I really didn’t learn this until you know probably a few years ago was to take
moments of clarity take those breaks you know we are so you know especially right now we are stuck to our computers and in
Zoom all the time that you really do need to take that break to clear your mind and really get your thoughts
gathered and it allows you to kind of open up your mind and learn more and you know level yourself out and I think
that’s one of the most important things that we need to really refocus and re-center on Darcy I love that idea of cross training
and looking beyond our industry I think uh honestly speaking as women
um and as a minority often I had to look outside of this industry to find those
uh leaders that I could emulate and then bring back into the industry
um Jessica could you do a great job at talking about how to pull in
um other resources outside of multi-family um why don’t you just kind of piggy back
on where Darcy left off absolutely and I some of the things that
Darcy said just really resonate with me um because I like to look at leadership there’s two forms there’s leadership of
self and Leadership of others and for me leadership of self always comes first because I truly believe that in order to
be a good leader you have to be a good example and before you even open your mouth people will decide whether or not
they want to follow you or whether or not they trust you so I do a lot of self-reflection and learning about just
who I am why do I say what I say what do I feel what I feel what impacts me and
why from even paying attention to throughout the day the times where I am most productive and the times that I
tend to be really drained I get really impacted by energy and by tasks and so
figuring out what fills my energy and what drains my energy is really important so things I do to support that
I do a lot of self-reflection like literally writing things down especially when things don’t work well because I
can retrace okay that’s why I thought what I felt and separating facts from
feelings is also really important during those really high intensity moments especially in hindsight where you’re
able to see um I work out every day to clear my head I also block out no call time so during
the point of the day where I know I feel the most drained or I need the most concentration sometimes that shows up
towards the end of the day I just block out no call time so I can work on projects or wrap things up and so I can
stay in self-manage my own energy so that way I can be there for my team or
for an individual who might need some extra support at the end of the day I’m really organized because I know that
an individual who has ADHD that executive function can be a challenge for me being honest about those
challenges but figuring out how to move through them is really awesome because then it’s scalable then I can replicate
that and share those tips and tricks with other folks but really coming head to head with the challenges that I face
on my own allows me to work through them and not avoid them because I promise they’re not going anywhere you know like
you cannot answer your email but it’s still not going anywhere like if you’re it’s eventually you’ll have to take care
of it I’m also really good about asking for what I need to be successful so because I know how I operate if I’m
going to go into a meeting or sit in a presentation I’m going to ask for the material in advance because I want to
read it I want to understand it and be able to take notes or if I’m going into a group setting if I get really excited
sometimes I have a tendency to interrupt I will just let people know that in advance I’m going to do my best not to
but this is something I have a tendency to do so I apologize if that happens setting expectations based on what I
need and then figuring out what others might need going into a situation allows everyone to be in a comfortable
environment enough to open up so setting the stage and building a positive container where everybody can contribute
just by something as simple as asking how do you want to be communicated with
how would you like to be asked to participate how can I effectively pull on your expertise knowing that not
everybody is as comfortable or open and sharing as I am so clarifying another
perspective or even if I am feeling rejection sensitivity which is something
that’s hard to be open about but I think we all struggle with it you know I’ve been a good example of this is like when
you go to getting your email and your password doesn’t work and you’re like oh my gosh I’m fired like that is rejection
sensitivity but now I just clarify it if somebody says something that I’m feeling
some type of way about I’ll ask them and say hey when you said this comment about my idea was it the idea or was it me
because I’m feeling the way but then now I’m not dwelling on it now I’m not telling stories so really kind of
stopping and knowing myself well well enough to not get in my own way and clarify
that is fantastic I would also like to uh have Alicia jump in and I know that
we need to be sensitive to time but I just have to add uh to some of the
points that you guys really raised that uh I think the listeners are and just
from some of the comments that I see the listeners are actually agreeing with you know to just create an environment that
is open that um also allows people to know that it’s a safe place
um this is a safe place to be able to grow and I can’t grow if you don’t know
that I’m in need of help right and so I think it’s critical that to the things
that you just shared that we all really hear this and that for our leaders to
understand how imperative it is to create that safe environment so thank you Jessica for sharing that and Alicia
let’s hear from you before we move on because I do know we’ve got a lot to
unpack I mean you mentioned leaders it’s really been about leaders for me that have come
before me that have believed in me before I ever believed in myself who advised me in some way who simply gave
me a chance um my you know my dad taught me the value of hard work something super
important that especially for somebody facing a lifetime of adversity to really Embrace or Dimitri our co-founder at
work who was the first person to hire me on um because of my diversity and looked at
it as a valuable core piece of the pie that makes me uniquely qualified as I
have to plan additional um you know things in my life and taking my diversity and looking at it as as you
know not a limitation but a value proposition for filling a role within
the company um and so for me I’ll keep this one short but it really is you know to be
led by amazing leaders that believe in you that see something else in you and
um you know then having the opportunity now in my life to hopefully pay that
forward to others is my goal so um you know I think just opening the door and
seeing in people what they might not see in themselves and giving them a chance to try
love it love it look we’re gonna go lightning round all right and move
forward because we are really getting some good nuggets out of this but we
want to make sure we have time so I’m gonna pass the uh question three on to
my partner Christy I know and I can’t get enough of these answers so I hate doing it short but
um I do really want to get into this one because this one is focusing a lot on multi-family so you know I’m just going
to start right off the bat with Marcy Marcy let us know you know what do you think is important for multi-family to
focus on um specifically to help with the expansion of women in leadership yeah and what’s critical for the Next
Generation so I’d really like to see the focus on Deni I think women are it’s hot buzzword
right now but women have been fighting this fight for a long time and when we’re still on average making about 82 percent on the dollar to well our male
counterparts are making I think it’s time that um we start focusing on that and we’re expected to do all that make
less money and still have work-life balance which I think is hilarious because no one talks about work-life balance with men that’s always women
women need to do that right so we need to see more women in the c-suites and for us to see women there I think
companies need to be intentional about getting women there they need to be mentoring women to get there they need
to be um looking at the pool of people when they’re hiring those positions there needs to be more collaboration and
I think women who get there need to be thoughtful of the fact that they’re there turn around and make sure they’re
bringing somebody along for the ride love it a hundred percent and you know I
know Darcy you have a very similar answer with a little bit of spend so can you add to that for us
got it you know I’ll spin it a little bit more too is that you know there are so many investors in our successes that
we can you know look back upon that helped us get to where we are exactly what Marcy is saying we’ve got to make
sure we’re pulling everybody forward but I think as you know as important as it
is that we advance that we continue to have you know our our own self-development like we are the ones
that you know are going to evolve ourselves to get there when I started you know some 20 years ago it was a very
limited amount even more limited than what we see today in the landscape of women in top leadership roles but you
know if you involve yourself in other roles within the company um getting yourself to go beyond what
you were hired to do that’s really where you start to get yourself noticed so I I’ve always done that like I don’t stick
just in filing but I also look at the opportunities to learn and that really allowed me to Advance my career and to
get you know into these you know leadership positions and I think it’s been the most you know core value of mine it’s just you know again it goes
back to being you know invested in learning I love it I love it and you know I’ve
been really fortunate to have some amazing tours in in career and
that have helped pulled me along so I’m gonna jump right over into Alicia because I’ve got dogs barking in the
back so go for it Alicia um I think to just piggyback I agree we need more Powerhouse women in the top
seats um and in board seats also actually um and I think the one thing that’s
really important to recognize that I recognized in my own career is you not only have to put in the hard work to get
there but you have to ask for advancement you can’t wait for somebody to gift it to you you have to be bold in
asking for the promotion asking for the raise when it’s it’s time um so you’re not waiting for somebody to
advance your future in hopes that it’s going to be gifted to you and this is
something that I’ve learned over time in my career as I have gained confidence in my craft that I deserve this and I’m
going to have those tough conversations that I’m sure men are having every year as well and that is that is sort of the
accountability that you have to have for your own career to move forward and reach your most optimal dreams and level
of your career yeah and both I think all three of you
now have touched on the need for more females in the c-suite and unfortunately there was an IBM study on
women in leadership just released this week um that’s found that there are fewer women now
I’m holding senior vice president vice president director and manager roles in 2021 than there were in 2019. so we’re
we’re falling back unfortunately and it is those roles the individuals in those roles that really help open those doors
to more female leadership whether through mentorship or sponsoring
um or you know putting investment towards things that allow for women to grow in these positions and so if we
don’t focus on this don’t focus on getting more the c-suite it’s going to continue to be an issue and obviously
2020 had a huge impact on that um and you know we were women were un
equally impacted by this so you know we need to enable women to return to work more
flexible work Arrangements gender-blind hiring child care support better sponsorship programs things like that
that will really enable that to happen so uh let’s see uh we have Jessica now
Jessica how about you so I this is just such a great tee up
because sometimes when we hear uh you know we need this type of leader this type of leader it’s hard to see where
that actually comes to fruition and because I’m such a believer that in order to tie mission and vision together
you do need a tangible leader example and I think that it’s important that we bridge the gap between employee and
human and really embracing the entire part of somebody who shows up to work for us not the nine to five part and
what a good example I have and just in my own career is my own supervisor
Michelle Fisher student senior vice president for FBI and she’s such an amazing example of someone who is bold
strong confident and as a Powerhouse that makes everybody she touches feel
important while most people would never want their boss’s job like I can’t wait
to be a Michelle Fisher and I can’t wait for more Michelle Fishers to show up because she really does an incredible
job of making everything that it is that we are saying possible and having women
in leadership positions to demonstrate that to model that and continue to be respected is critical it’s it’s critical
that we Forge the way I love that so much Jessica and forgive
me it’s Tara jumping in from behind the scenes I just want to acknowledge to everyone who’s adding questions in the
chat and the Q a we’ve got some really great questions that are coming in and
we’re going to do our best to cover time to address all of those so just thank you for your attentiveness and your
questions and we will we will get to them as long as we can thanks thank you
for that Tara yeah and I’m glad you jumped in there because this has been some of my favorite q a and chats I’ve seen on
almost any weapon I’ve ever been in so kudos to the participants out there who are getting involved and sharing great
information uh Dana you want to take on the next question absolutely you know
what I’m hearing is there is a mythology to career advancement from all of you and one of the points that I notice is
that we can’t be what we can’t see and so you know to Jessica’s point of having
someone that you can actually emulate that is in front of you makes a
difference I also wanted to kind of piggyback on Darcy’s point of self-development and again her point to
cross training and importance of it but guys we can’t revout this fact of the
unconscious bias that exists in our community and in our industry and Beyond
which makes it sometimes very difficult for women and minorities to have have
this opportunity to have access because of preconceived opinions and ideas about
their ability or inability and so there it is important and imperative to me to
get this point out that I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who said I see your heart and your hustle
you may not necessarily show up with every skill that I’m ex I would like you
to have but because I see that I’m willing to invest and I’m willing to train and mentorship guys is way more
than just mentoring my Powerhouse friend Melissa D white says all the time
mentorship is about advocacy and about sponsorship having people who are
willing to say hey you should invite Dana to be a part of that conversation I
think she would learn and be able to grow from being a part of that somebody
like you guys suggesting me a minority woman and recommending me to have that
seat at the table gives me the opportunity to shine gives me the opportunity to really dismiss some
biases that would say you know a female or minority isn’t really ready to assume
that role so I I love the things that you’re saying and I wanted to double hold down on that
the next question for the panelists what tools what practices methods will help
facilitate us seeing more women and minorities in uh leadership roles
let’s start with Alicia well number one Grace Hill as an
organization has given me two at-bats for getting my message out and when including disability so I’m forever
grateful of that and My Philosophy is simple it’s just do the best that I can with what I’ve been given and smile let
people absorb what they’re seeing push aside self-doubt be Fearless be bold
Embrace challenges as your greatest opportunities to grow and be positive
and share and collaborate and communicate and be adaptable and believe
impossible for everybody is a key component for me to continue to
progress thank you for that Alicia you know I
read um one of your comments about uh Triumph and Challenge and I know that
Triumph is often found in your challenge and so I really wanted to make sure we
highlighted that and shared that with the team um Darcy would you just add into this
conversation now absolutely I think you know one of the things that I I personally uh hold near
and dear to my heart is this philosophy is what my own personal ecosystem is and
as we are talking about diversity equality inclusion you really do need to take some stock in who you’re
surrounding yourself with and that’s really and you know I’ll keep it at the professional level because of that you
know way that I can you know develop my own career and connect with others and you know that’s something I share with
um one of my dearest friends and a mentor who is Daryl Smith from Kettler and you know that we really resonated
with that together like yes it’s your own ecosystem who are the influencers who are your peers in that group who are
the ones that you look up to who are the mentors that you’ve brought to the table and how do they all come together to
shape who I am um and I think that that is how we can start to carry some of these
progressions forward into the workplace because if you know it goes back to the unconscious bias it goes back to I need
to stand up and you know say that I you know want that advancement if you have the crew around you that is inspiring
you and is in you know really championing you it really makes a great opportunity for your own
self-development but paying it forward um and then that way you get to learn from a wide variety of you know
different uh backgrounds and learn from what some of the struggles that those people are having so that’s my biggest
point to take away do a self-check of what your ecosystem is and who’s surrounding you today
I like it I like it and so why don’t we move on because I know Tom is short I
keep bringing that up so uh next up Jessica
awesome so two things that I love at communication and honesty and I’ll keep
mine just short and sweet because sometimes we miss the ball with not communicating in a way that others
listen we communicate in a way that we want to be heard and it does not matter what you say if we are not talking away
that others understand and so to speak in a way that others listen lead in a way that others follow I’m a big
proponent and advocate for Servant leadership leadership is not for the faint of heart those of us who are
called leaders we don’t usually realize that we are until somebody else says but it’s rough out there it’s a very
thankless position to be in but those of us who wake up every day and do it it’s because of our DNA and to continue to
focus on others and how to uplift them and continue to communicate find out
what’s important be honest about yourself and be honest about others and wear that mission Envision tie in and
and being a good example constantly checking yourself for your rocking yourself
isn’t that awesome and I love that you talk about reaching out to others you
know to Darcy’s point I think your ecosystem is important and that speaks to somebody who may be willing to take
the initiative but there are a lot of those silent people who don’t and so as
Leaders when we identify those I think it is important for us to go out and reach out and pull them in I love that
idea um Marcy before we move on to the next question I want you because you’ve had
such a powerful contribution to this conversation I want to hear from you well as well yeah and before I say uh
what I wanted to say Jessica they didn’t call us leaders they called us bossy they called us bossy as little girls and
here we are right so um so my thing is you already heard me talk about mentorship programs but I think that is
what we need to see happening happening more often is mentorship programs Although our industry is largely female
we’re not not seeing that same thing represented at the top and as you mentioned earlier we’re seeing those
numbers actually go down we’re not seeing those numbers go down in our industry as a whole this is a largely
female dominated industry and we need to see that representation at the top um and then in addition I think allowing
women space to grow part of the reason I’ve been successful is because I had a
mentor um Patricia Hutchison she runs Mission Rock residential she was a Powerhouse as
well and she has really brought me up in this industry and she allowed me all the
room I needed to grow she allowed me to take classes and I worked for her for about eight years and so I got my design
all my designations under her um under her watch she spent time
working with me and teaching me the things when I interviewed with her I said someday I’m going to be you so
um there’s only one her there’s only one me but I’ve learned everything I can from her and been able to put that into
my little toolbox or she used to say in my quiver and now it’s something that I have as a tool to bring out so I’d like
to see companies really work on the space for growth for their Future
Leaders I love this so much hey it’s Tara from behind the scenes and I I just think
well we’re talking about tools and you’re giving so much great advice we do have a couple of questions that have
come up in the chat that I think maybe could be a very quick answer but just
looking for multi-family leadership development programs that you know of is
there are there anything that you would just fire off like immediately like yes look into this and if they’re not maybe
we need to explore that but are there any programs that you would recommend I have two off the top one if you are
still an emerging leader and still working on becoming a leader and you are an underrepresented Group which we’re
talking about women here um the DLP program the diversity leadership program that we offer in NAA
is a program as well as if you’re already in leadership and looking towards executive leadership
um the leadership live CM through NAA is also something I highly recommend that’s perfect and we can continue that
education and certification through Vista with Grace Hill and I would also like to point out you know coming to
Grace Hill with 20 years of leadership experience myself I did still find our
leadership series to be full of nuggets and resources that challenged me so you
know that that continued to self-develop like Darcy mentioned is imperative and
we do have the opportunity for those that partner with Grace Hill today perfect one more quick question before
we move on to our final question and thanks everyone for sticking it out and please bear with us and stay there’s so
much to talk about um but just from you know maybe in Jessica Darcy Alicia and Christy all of
you do you have a quick go-to resource for women who are growing into
leadership and men who are supporting that growth is there a book a podcast an
organization that quickly comes to mind for you of like oh yeah this will like help you learn how to do all the things
that we’re talking about I am a big believer in identifying values and so if you you could Google
top values core values I have a set of values cards that I play with because your values could be different tomorrow
than they are today and so really doing some work around picking what your top five are is really important because all
of your decisions come from your core values so if family is number one all of your decisions will surround family but
there’s also ways to identify what another person’s values are that might conflict with your own for example if I
value quantity and you value quality you and I might have a hard time if you’re not working as fast as I like so it
really kind of helps set the stage for this is who I am as a leader and here’s why and here’s how you are as either a
leader or someone I’m working with as well so and those are really easy things to do they make value cards you can
Google top values and really doing some work around those top five that’s perfect we’re also seeing Leaders Eat
Last as a book recommendation in the chat five levels of leadership
um nice girls don’t get the corner office by Lois Frankel anything else quickly that you ladies want to throw in
to the mick John Maxwell has an incredible
leadership podcast his new series on communication is awesome perfect let’s move to the last question
and if we don’t address your questions in the Q a immediately please know that we are so grateful and want to use this
momentum to give even more information in the future so stay tuned and we’ll follow up but Christy
um what’s our final question and let’s let’s do a lightning round
all right if you could tell your younger self just one thing one piece of advice
what would that be and Alicia we’re gonna start with you first
um I my whole life I’ve just sort of wondered what I would be if I what didn’t have my disability if I was more
beautiful if I accomplished more and I have found over time at pushing that
away um that my dreams are starting to come true each time I have a big meet in at
knock with a bunch of Executives and I do well or I’m invited onto a new speaking stage I’m realizing that
chipping away at those things that I’ve been afraid of is all you need to do and
your dreams unfold in front of your eyes and so removing that fear
um and just telling my my younger self you are perfect the way that you are right now today go go it’s lit your
dreams are literally waiting for you if you just try absolutely I love it Jessica how about
you I would say to my younger self that I am significant I saw a couple of comments
when we talked about rejection sensitivity earlier and I think that’s a really easy thing to believe and say is
that I’m not good enough and removing other people’s skills from your own because we are all on our own time so
just reminding myself like I am significant like you are significant in
your own right in in your own journey and accept the challenge to fight and
understand exactly who you are in your own flawed amazing glory and to speak up
because that internal passion that’s calling you it’s not an accident so
Embrace that challenge and remember that you’re significant 100 100 Darcy what
would you add to that well if I can go back and talk to that young kid that started that summer job I
would say probably two things it’s okay to be vulnerable um I think that’s something that is a
you know something that we’re all trying to really understand as we move through our careers that it is okay to be
vulnerable with your with your peers your leaders and with your own team you know just just showing that authenticity
is probably the most important thing because I think when I first came up in the ranks I wanted to be you know I was
a stoic I was going to get everything done and accept every Challenge and when I failed it would just crush me and then
I would just internalize it but then not learning from those lessons you know would would you know regress me
basically so I think vulnerability is something that I would like to go tell that young lady yeah and I know I’d add
I would jump in with that and say you know that self-compassion you have to make room for mistakes and doubt and
then you have to be kind to yourself and have that self-compassion to allow for that right mm-hmm okay and let’s see
here Marcy how about you I would take myself by the shoulders look myself straight in the eye and say
stop trying to assimilate and instead authenticate I’m so I so wish I could
have understood that being authentic authentic would help me win it took me
so long to figure that out but being my authentic self you win every single time
absolutely and try not to compare yourself to others so much you can get stuck in that right just stuck in that
so much and each person has their own Journey so sure draw inspiration from
people learn from others but understand that the value and importance of your uniqueness is so critical I mean if you
have a company with 20 of the same individuals that company will be narrow-minded and will be doomed you
need that individuality and that authenticity amen yeah all right Danny
you want to close us out look I was gonna say we I could do better than
these comments that you guys shared about what you would tell your younger self believe that our listeners are
receiving that as adults today and struggling with applying all of that I
think golly I saw so many heads nodding Marcy when you said when I am my
authentic self I can’t help but win um that says it all everyone that has
the opportunity to hear my voice right now be your authentic self
own every bit of who you are as Jessica said own it all Darcy says invest in
your own self-development and Alicia talk about saying I’m just going to do
it I’m going to put it on paper and then I’m going to believe it and see it come to fruition I often say life follows
language guys let’s do this let’s be about it let’s find someone to bring up
let’s uh identify where we can grow and let’s do it I love everything that I
heard today you guys gave us tangible things that we can walk away with and actually find more women in leadership
find those numbers increasing instead of going backwards as long as we decide to
do the work and put in the work thank you guys all for being here I know we
are up against the clock Tara is there any time for a few questions well that
we have several great questions in the Q a but yeah we are wrapping up and people are needing to move to their next
meeting I think the one the one but how that I would ask all of you if you have
kind of an idea about it we’ve talked a lot about being a vulnerable being your authentic self
um and and that is very inspiring and very powerful but there was a great question in the Q a about how do you do
that especially when you’re coming up against a traditional system that is
possibly resistant that might accuse you of being overly emotional and not just
from a woman’s perspective but from a man’s perspective you’re trying to be authentic there’s a lot of talk here
about being your best self so do you have any kind of quick takeaways of like
how do you do that in the face of an organization or an industry or a
practice or society that that may balk against that courage
yeah communication learn different communication Styles there was a when I
worked at modern message we had this uh it was called the cultural index it’s much like what you see with like disc
and other um uh you know personality type downloads but cultural index really just
aligned you with like how different people speak and we shared that you know with everyone now that might not be
available to all of you today but it really did give us great Insight of how you can effectively communicate with
people um and allow you to have that vulnerability and how you want to have that communication and also is you know
being vulnerable to your own team members you know when you are maybe hitting stress levels or maybe there’s you know something that’s trying to
overcome um you don’t have to always internalize it we’re not saying that you have to spill everything out there but I think
you know letting them in the fold of like hey here’s the challenges that we’re facing they curate those
conversations to be more effective I think after Darcy what you said about
learning and being a sponge like you kind of have to learn how to do that right like you’re not going to
automatically be awesome at it in the first 10 seconds like you need to learn how to do that thank you I’m not awesome
at it in 22 years so keep going let’s hear some more responses before we close out I was
gonna piggyback off of what Darcy said is to listen to here that’s been
something that’s helped me so much not listen to respond it goes along with communication but listen to here I’ve
learned so much about how I affect others by listening to hear not to
always have this defense mechanism up and you can you can really learn and
tailor your style to someone else if you speak to someone the way they want to be
spoken to or they want to be communicated it’s so much easier when I think that’s what makes a great leader
is not communicating the way that you want to communicate but the way the person wants to receive communication
I totally agree with that I think that there’s power in what you give power to and that’s part of our freedom of
perspective is being able to shift that power and I know that how right like how do you take that first step where
there’s so much to lose know that most of that’s probably a self-inflicted story and you can rewrite another one
right are you writing Factory writing fiction and there might be so many individuals who are listening like can
my boss hear this can my boss hear this change doesn’t happen until you get tired of your own BS like you know when
things aren’t aligning up and if you are there then it’s time to ask the question why and then do a lot of listening and a
lot of reflection and a lot of learning and sooner or later you will have the courage to jump in and raise your hand
and take the risk and I would just add to reach out to these ladies start there these ladies on
this call connect with them reach out to them and have this conversation offline
that’s the first step yep and like Dana said there’s more of these women out here we have phenomenal
ones here but there are others out there some you may know use them they are there to empower you
to do this and they want to empower you to have those conversations so just do
it Christie really quick somebody asked about how to reach out to us and I think all of us probably I know all of us are
on LinkedIn because we we did this advertisement so I’m I definitely prefer to do all my connecting for through work
on LinkedIn I’m there and I’m open and I bet the rest of these ladies are as well yes I am 100 and also we will like I
said again at the beginning we will be sharing out this recording which way back at the beginning an hour ago we did
share that information and we’ll make sure it’s available to everybody who is here but I just want to say thank you so
much to all of you for your incredible inspiring helpful practical motivational
advice it’s been terrific working with you thank you everyone who was here in
attendance as um an audience member and we will truly look forward to more
conversation together through Grace Hill and through these other organizations just thank you Christy and Dana again
and for moderating thank you to all four of our panelists and go forth and be
bold and break ceilings that’s right thanks ladies thanks everyone bye thank you so much