Highlighting Phenomenal Women in the Real Estate Industry

phenomenal women

Phenomenal Women In The Real Estate Industry


Women in the real estate industry, or any other industry, often feel underestimated and potentially treated unequally compared to their male counterparts. However, the impact they have on the real estate industry is becoming more evident and greater by the day. 

There are so many amazing women working in the real estate industry, and they deserve a bit of praise for what they do. While we would love to highlight all the amazing ladies in the industry, that may take a few blog articles, so we are going to start by shining a spotlight on 10 of these incredible women. 


Lauren Cohen 

Lauren-Cohen HeadshotOne of the women that prove that women can succeed in a highly competitive, male-dominated area of real estate – investing is Lauren Cohen. She is not only an amazing lawyer licensed in both Canada and the US, she’s also a real estate investing professional for both countries. Lauren and her team help businesses raise capital, assist franchises seeking additional franchisees in the form of foreign investors, and work with foreign investors seeking access to the U.S. markets.

Lauren is pushing the boundaries each day and proving that women are not only amazing real estate agents, but can also multitask between several industries. She’s a #1 bestselling author and a public speaker. Her knowledge and wealth of information are to be admired which is why she is one of the most sought-after professionals for real estate investors.

As the founder of the website e-Council Inc and Creative Real Estate Academy, Lauren is proving the real estate world can be run by powerful, dedicated women.


Sharlys Leszczuk

sharlys headshotAlthough the residential real estate space is better-represented by women, the commercial real estate and technology industries are not. As a young professional who is early on in her career, Sharlys Leszczuk is working at the cross-section of two industries dominated by men, which can be intimidating, but that doesn’t stop her from charging forward. 

As a millennial, Sharlys can offer a unique perspective on gender equality in the workplace because each subsequent generation that enters the workforce comes from a more equal, balanced, and diverse upbringing. When entering the workforce for the first time, this incites a sort of “culture shock” that can be discouraging to young women because there are very few women in the spotlight to “look up to”.  

“I think what makes me unique is what makes the millennial generation unique — we will not stand for inequality in terms of job opportunities, salaries, and healthcare practices. We also are not afraid to speak out about inequality that exists in the form of discrimination based on gender, sexuality, appearance, accent, or race,” Sharlys says. 

She is currently the Account Supervisor, Digital Liaison professional at Antenna Group


Deni Supplee 

Deni-Supplee HeadshotOne woman that has experienced everything from the industry and has paved the path for many young real estate agents is Deni Supplee, licensed Realtor, property manager, and the co-founder of SparkRental.com. With over 35 years of experience in the real estate industry, Deni brings a holistic mindset to real estate, all about how building income from rental properties can change your life for the better.

Throughout her career, she has taught hundreds of people and real estate agents the art of real estate investment, building passive income, property management, and automating rental management. Thanks to her selfless teaching, a lot of people have found success in real estate and managed to replace their salary with passive rental income.

Her ultimate goal for her students and audience is to help them replace their day job’s income with rental income. At that point, working becomes optional, and you’re free to spend your time however you like. For many, that means spending more time with their families; for others, it’s quitting a high-stress job in order to pursue a more meaningful career or even volunteer full-time.  

Whatever the goal is, it’s undeniable that Deni is a true professional and one of the most inspiring women in real estate.


Michael Saunders 

Michael-Saunders HeadshotBack in 1976, women in real estate were very underestimated. However, women like Michael Saunders were what changed that view. Through perseverance and fighting she has established a culture where women in real estate are admired, not looked down on. 

“Michael Saunders was the original disruptor in real estate. When she set out on her own in 1976, it was because she saw a lack of genuine customer service in the industry. She leaned into real estate being a relationship-based business long before it was fashionable. Her story is one of inspiration and resilience – from needing a male co-signer for a $5,000 loan to open her first office on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota to operating a $2.79 billion brokerage over 40 years later with 24 offices along Florida’s Gulf Coast and more than 700 agents,” compliments Samantha Emelock of MSC Marketing. This is just a small portion of the many admirable achievements in Michael’s life. 

As one of the first major female names in real estate, Michael has inspired countless young women to embark on their own real estate journey. Whenever you mention her name there’s instantaneous recognition about the work she’s done to further the industry (as a whole and for women) and the community. Samantha Emelock gushes, “the values she has set in all those years ago of integrity, excellence, communication, and mutual profitability have been a compass that has helped the company navigate through some tumultuous times, and continue to inspire anyone with the fortune of having their name on a Michael Saunders & Company business card.” 


Jamie Duran

Jamie-Duran HeadshotWomen made up 56% of licensed brokers and 66% of sales agent licensees in 2017 and these numbers continue to increase every day. One of the women that continues to inspire women in the industry is Jamie Duran. 

Through commitment and a goal-oriented attitude, Jamie Duran has led Coldwell Banker Realty Southern California to achieve nearly $9 billion in sales volume and 11,300 closed units in 2019, representing a growth of over 50% compared to 2014.

A graduate of California State University, Northridge, she has had a long career with Coldwell Banker, beginning as an affiliate agent and attaining various opportunities due to her excellent work ethic. She has overseen training agents as well as been the branch manager of the Ventura and Studio City offices of Coldwell Banker Realty, regional vice president Northwest Greater Los Angeles (GLA), district manager of Northwest GLA, and president of the Orange County and San Diego Companies of Coldwell Banker Realty before her current role as president of all Southern California.

Currently, she oversees 75 offices, 4,400 independent sales associates, and 226 employees across Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego.


Eugenia Foxworth 

Eugenia-Fox HeadshotFor some women, success in real estate has come when everyone else was failing. During the crisis of 2008, many companies closed their doors forever, but one woman decided to go forward with her idea and open a real estate company. Her name is Eugenia Foxworth. She is currently the Owner and Broker at Foxworth Realty and a member of the NAR, REBNY, HGAR, and a certified MWBE (NYC), New York Residential (NYRS) with REBNY. 

She has received countless renowned awards and recognitions, among which are: 

  • A “Woman of Excellence” 2019 by the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce 
  • April 2019 Recognized as a “Woman of Courage” and received an award from the Harlem Community News and Health First; Citation from the NY State Assembly Member, Inez E. Dickens; Certificate of Appreciation from the Manhattan Borough President, Gail Brewer
  • June 2019 the “Real Estate Weekly” recognized as one of the “Leading Ladies in Real Estate”

Today, she uses her experience to share her invaluable advice with other young women who hesitate to open their own brokerage as they still view real estate as a male-dominated industry. 


Melissa Thompson 

Melissa-Thompson-headshotIn 2015, the aspiration gap between women and men in real estate was enormous. As many as 40% of male real estate agents aspire to the C-Suite, compared to the humble 28% of women. In addition to this, the majority of women (47%) indicated that their aspirations topped out at the SVP/Partner level, which shows that many women are discouraged to aim at higher levels of the hierarchy. 

However, some women have not only aimed for the top, they beat the hierarchy and rose above it. Melissa Thompson is one of them. She is a real estate agent at Crye-Leike Realtors in Memphis, Tennessee where she is the leader and face of the Melissa Thompson Team

As one of the top real estate agents in Memphis with over 33 years of experience Melissa has acquired many designations: ABR, CRS, CSP, GRI, SRES, SFR, E-PRO, CLHMS, is a Life Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Club, and has consistently been a “Top Producing” agent for Crye-Leike Realtors, the Mid-South’s number one real estate company.

More than 90% of her business is generated through repeat or referral business from past clients. Although motherhood often puts a break on most women’s careers, it has helped Melissa excel at it. As a mother of five, she understands how moving affects the entire family and makes it her mission to make the buying and selling process as seamless as possible for every single client.


Alison Bernstein 

alison-bernstein headshotAnother leading female figure in the industry is Alison Bernstein. She is an entrepreneur and pioneer. She has founded Suburban Jungle, a one of a kind real estate advisory and tech platform focused on taking families from Urban to Suburban. 

The company has offered a green, remote alternative to the urban jungle. As a result, the company has grown 400% from the same time last year, even during a pandemic.

Alison and her team describe their jobs as 98% psychology and 2% real estate. While other companies might have been scrambling at this moment to get their remote force in order, the SJ employee pool has since inception enjoyed the flex option of remote working -making the surge fairly seamless.

This innovative, forward-thinking has put Suburban Jungle among the top real estate companies in the area. “We are very busy,” says Suburban Jungle Founder and President, Alison Bernstein. “This whole thing is catastrophic, and petrifying for families in urban areas. People want out of the city and now. With some of the newer roadblocks in place with regards to purchasing, they are finding solace in the ability to connect with us, begin their process, and ultimately imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.”


Barbara Callan 

Barbara HeadshotSan Francisco is a competitive city for anyone in the real estate industry, but Barbara Callan has proven herself there. She is one of the most influential women in the local San Francisco business community with almost $3 Billion of San Francisco real estate sales with her son, Robert, since her start as a Realtor in 1986. 

While men are usually thought to serve the biggest names in the world, women don’t lack experience in that area and Barbara is living proof of it. With clients such as Warren Buffett, Gordon, and Ann Getty, former Giants’ Rich Aurilia, Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and the Pelosi Family, Barbara has established herself as the top agent for San Francisco’s luxury real estate market at McGuire Real Estate.  

Barbara prides herself on providing exceptional service to her clients. Her intricate knowledge of the city and round-the-clock dedication to supporting her clients has earned her a spot in the top 1% of realtors in San Francisco for the last 34 years and the title of #1 San Francisco Real Estate Agent named by both Wall Street Journal and Real Trends. 

The reason why she has remained at the top is her willingness to go above and beyond for every client, in every transaction. She credits her success to her passion and enthusiasm for serving her clients as well as her ability to build meaningful relationships and networks throughout her career


Lindsay Smith

Lindsay-Smith HeadshotLast but certainly not least in the spotlight of phenomenal women in the real estate industry is Lindsay Smith, Chief Strategy Officer for Title Alliance. She forms in-house title and escrow joint venture partnerships with Real Estate Professionals giving them a compliant way to profit from an investment in a title and escrow company. 

Lindsay knows that the Real Estate Business is tough. Whether you’re running a brokerage; a team or are an individual agent, the market ebbs and flows and it’s critical to have multiple sources of income to allow yourself and your family to thrive. 

She wants to make a difference in the female real estate world and her passion for this has allowed her to expand into new markets making an impact previously beyond the scope of her imagination. 

Keeping a positive mindset and sharing positive motivation and encouragement allows her to motivate her team to provide exceptional service time and time again for their clients. “At the end of the day, success comes from aligning yourself with the right team members who believe in your mission. When great people come together, motivated toward a common goal, the end outcome and experience is nothing less than exceptional.” This is a principle Lindsay works by, which is why she has and continues to excel in her real estate career.

Let’s give all these women a round of applause for the amazing work they have done, and the career heights they have achieved.