When I reported to the cancer center last week for my first round of chemo, I was decked out in a red and purple feather boa. This was not just any boa—this boa was last worn by my mother-in-law years ago when I treated both her and my mother to a tea party.
My mother-in-law was 101 years old when she passed away in November 2017, and I’d always known she was a giant. Although she had suffered a stroke and was fading in and out of consciousness, she looked me clearly in the eyes and winked right at me as I told her how much I loved her and respected her. As she passed, the nurses told us that they could sense she was a beautiful person based on the presence in the room and her aurora.
Taking my first chemo shot is necessary to extend my own life and I know that, but last week I also knew that I needed a strength beyond my own to take that first step. The answer was clear: I took my mother-in-law’s power with me.
As I sat in the chair for the one-hour chemo drip, I thought about my female friends in the commercial real estate industry who have rallied around me in support—the love warriors of my tribe.
It made me realize that probably each one of us women soar daily on the wings of giants in our industry. Stephanie Seubert of Evans, Elder, Brown and Seubert finally made full partner in January 2017 after working eight years as a commercial real estate broker in a male-dominated office.
Stephanie was lucky enough to have mentored under Sue Pritchard who started Evans, Elder, Brown and Seubert with the original male partners. Sue is an icon in commercial real estate and is respected by all of the commercial female brokers. She was the first full-time commercial real estate broker in Eugene. She set the bar on how to negotiate with men with style and grace. Sue is now retired and travels the world with her husband, Hugh, but she has touched every one of us in the real estate industry.
Sue had the great opportunity to mentor under Jean Tate, who is also an icon in real estate. When Jean started selling real estate, she was one of the few female real estate brokers in the industry. Initially the principal broker of a large real estate firm told Jean that he would not hire her because she could only work part-time. In fact, Jean was working two other part-time jobs and was serving as the sole bread winner while her husband, Wayne, went back to school. The broker later said he didn’t realize that when Jean said part-time, she meant anything less than 24 hours a day.
The picture below with Jean holding a briefcase and Wayne with a broom was featured in the local Eugene newspaper. Imagine how groundbreaking it was back then—when it was socially unacceptable for most women to even work, let alone be the primary bread winner.
Jean started selling real estate on December 1, 1969, and she proceeded to sell three houses in January and seven in February! She was number-four in sales in 1970, but she only made $11,000.
Jean started doing commercial real estate and working on her CCIM designation (the equivalent of a PhD in commercial real estate) with no help from her broker. She knew she could handle it, so she didn’t really ask for help. Jean made a $6,000 commission and asked for a bigger share than her normal 60 percent split. She was told no, so she opened her own office in January 1974.
Anyone who has met Jean Tate can honestly say that she has set the bar for getting it done in life. She is still very active in the community and reached out to me just this week to encourage me while I was undergoing treatment. It reminded me that I (and other female brokers I know) soar on the wings of giants.
Whose wings are you soaring on?