By Gizella Davis
(Calgary) – After becoming a Realtor® in the late 70’s I have slowly, steadily, seen the rise of women in the industry. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, in 2019 43% of members were women, and in Alberta, women made up 44% of Realtors®. Today across Canada women are excelling in leadership roles in local and national boards, currently in Calgary 6 of the 10 CREB executives are women, back when I started that was unfathomable.
When I started in Real Estate, finding a career that allowed me to raise my children and support my household was a dream come true. Boy was I in for a shock. Real estate back then was very much a male dominated field; it was hard to break into. I had so many doors closed in my face, phone calls hung up on, fruitless open houses, 60+ hour weeks and a dwindling bank account, nevertheless I was determined to make it work.
Then, one day it happened, I got my first sale. After the sale closed, I bought my first Cross pen which I still use to this day to have clients sign contracts with. As they say it only takes a nudge to get the rock rolling and from that first deal it snowballed into more and I was in the Calgary Real Estate Boards Million Dollar Club within my first year. During my first few years, women Realtors® were the exception not the rule. When I was top national agent for Royal LePage it was a big deal; they flew me and my husband to Toronto and presented me with a plaque and set of dinnerware. I remember thinking if I was a man and got the watch it would have been a lot easier to get back home. Since my early years I have enjoyed much success, but it was an arduous task trying to break through into an industry that traditionally favoured men.
While real estate can be very rewarding, it does take hard work and long hours. There were many nights I would stay up late cooking some of my traditional Hungarian dishes to serve at my open houses and many missed dinners of my own where I was out presenting offers or preparing a house for a viewing. Now with the multitude of digital tools at our disposal instead of long hours at the office or parked outside a listing you will often find my real estate partner Jemma Stephenson researching a property or sending out an offer from the bleachers at her son’s game.
I built my business on the philosophy that our clients become like family, and that doesn’t end when the transaction is complete. I can’t count the baby showers, weddings and other milestones for my clients that I’ve been invited to be part of. Creating and nurturing that kind of close relationship is something I believe being a woman has made easier.
Despite the challenges of being a woman in real estate, there are some advantages, especially with female clients making most of the homebuying decisions. 61% of first-time and repeat home buyers in Canada were female, according to the 2019 CMHC Mortgage consumer survey. Purchasing a home is a very emotional experience and one I believe women are better able to help clients navigate.
I am honoured to be counted among some of the pioneering women still working in Calgary real estate, I am thrilled to be able to pass my knowledge on to Jemma to continue my legacy and I am excited to see all the women that choose to make this their career. We are seeing women feature more often in the Top Agent positions of all major brokerages and with an emergence of women-led networking groups providing space to inspire one another, learn from each other and empower us all to achieve greatness, I expect to see many more take the lead. There is no better time to recognize the contribution of women in sales and we believe that the future is definitely female.
For more information visit gizelladavis.com.