How Women Dream, Build and Thrive in their Careers and Lives - 3/29/2023


Spring Bengtzen runs one of the top-producing real estate teams in Utah. They sold almost 600 homes in 2022, positioning them to become one of the top teams in the country. In addition to consistently raising the bar in real estate, over the past year Spring has ventured into ancillary businesses with owning a title company and recently launching her Spring B Coaching Company. She’s also a wife, mom and mentor. Spring lives by the belief that "the way you do one thing is the way you do everything." 



Michelle Risi was named one of the Top 50 Women in Canadian Real Estate according to Real Estate Professionals Magazine. She is the CEO of ALIGNED Academy and Broker/Owner of Royal Lepage Connect Realty. Over the last 25 years, Michelle has helped more than a thousand agents and small business owners to grow their businesses. Her mission is to help women create the Freedom, Fulfillment and Financial Success they desire through self-discovery, mindset and brain-based strategies.



Kathleen Black is a globally recognized Mindset and Performance expert, two-time bestselling author, highly sought after speaker and owner of her consulting firm, Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting. She’s also an award-winning business leader, having been the recipient of the Iconic Leaders Creating a Batter world for All award and was named one of the Top 25 Women Driving the Future of Real Estate. She also inspired the full-time documentary titled “The Relentless One.”



Nikki Miller is the Founder and CEO of The LEAD Syndicate, a first of its kind leverage platform exclusively optimized for individual real estate agents operating in more than 125 locations across 24 states. Nikki's passion for real estate agents' success is evident in everything she touches, from the ideation of The LEAD Syndicate to the countless free resources she provides, to the many real estate events you can see her training at throughout the year.



Elena Cardone is a wife, mother and mentor to hundreds of women. She's a best-selling author of Build an Empire - How to Have it All, event producer for events such as 10X Ladies, Build an Empire Mastermind and others, and is also a highly-sought after public speaker. Her most recent endeavor has been to partner with EXP, with her sights set on building the largest real estate team across the globe and helping others create generational wealth through real estate.

Do you experience resistance when you are leading men?  How do you deal with it?

EC: I don't experience resistance. I always know the mission of where we are going and have the targets in place. I show up in a professional atmosphere and don't disrespect my male counterparts, but I am very demanding of the competency level. I expect a high level from counterparts because I expect that of myself, too. We are not working for an ego -- we are working toward a product gain. I am trying to win the Super Bowl of life, but I will never disrespect anyone. If people can't handle it, they don't last long in this environment. I don't experience resistance when leading men, and I think it's because of the culture and structure we expect.

SB: I also don't experience this. It comes down to respect, and it starts with us and how we view it. I view that many opportunities have come my way because of being a woman, and many opportunities have come from men giving me those opportunities. It's about how I show up and have mutual respect for my male counterparts, and we have a clear vision of where we are going. I also don't expect to have an issue with it, and this plays a big role in not experiencing resistance.

How can we be powerful without alienating people or upsetting them? What if people are unhappy?

NM: The way that I lead is clear for my people. If my standards don't fit within their standards, then they are not a good fit at my organization. The desire to be liked is for our ego, and I am ok with being disliked. Go be average somewhere else. I don't care if someone doesn't like me, because they don't dislike me by way of my standards, they dislike me by way of their standards. I like me by way of my standards. I am unwilling to risk the health of my organization over my ego.

KB: I don't have a problem if someone doesn't like me, as long as I have not done something disrespectful, negative or lacking in empathy. I am committed to my purpose in life, and I go forward to help other women step forward with ease. We have to constantly realign.

How did you navigate power structures early in your career versus later in your career when you had a more formal leadership role?

MR: Advice that I'd give to my younger self is to give yourself permission. When I was younger, I knew that I had the strength and skills, but I didn't have the confidence. I spent many years in the background helping others, and I wanted to be recognized, but I didn't give myself the permission to have that space. We need to give ourselves permission to say I can do this. Don't wait for someone to pick you. Raise your hand and say I can do this. 1- Earn the respect and position and 2- Give yourself permission, because you deserve to be in all the same room as other people. 

Have you ever felt imposter syndrome, and if so how did you navigate your way through it?

SB: I have had it and still do. When this comes up, I think - why not me? I tell myself - at least I'm getting in the arena that I'm in. We develop imposter syndrome because we think we are being judged by other people. Release expectations, and see how it plays out.

EC: I have this expectation that I am supposed to feel a certain way: always being confident, and I realized that we all feel the same way. I looked into this further - what is that? An imposter is something you are claiming to be. There is nothing wrong with claiming who you are: I have been a realtor for two years, but I'm not an imposter. You are always going to feel like you aren't there yet or where you want to be, but that doesn't discredit where you are now. Other people are experiencing their own insecurities. Have courage in the face of fear. You aren't an imposter, you are just experiencing what it means to grow.

KB: In high performance, the opposite of imposter syndrome is toxicity and enablement. There are pretenders and there are performers. Imposters don't wonder if they are credible, they just show up with entitlement. The highest performance leaders leverage imposter syndrome to their advantage. Am I humble enough to educate myself at the next level? I don't know where I would be without imposter syndrome, and I think leadership would be a scary place without it. I am worried when I don't have it.

NM: When I recently spoke at an event of 8,000 people, I was asked if I was nervous to speak. I was nervous that everyone chose to spend their time here but not nervous to share information. We are always an imposter of something we have never done before. 

MR: To overcome imposter syndrome and navigate this, I centered my thoughts around who am I? What is this identity of success? I realized that the bigger the gap was between who I was and who I needed to be, the bigger the feeling of imposter syndrome. Then I ask myself -- How do I leverage this for myself?

How do you balance it all? Often times the busier I am, the more my partner needs me or wants my attention. I time-block and he’s very supportive, but the irony baffles me, and I feel like I am letting him/others down.

SB: I stopped thinking about balance and started thinking about harmony. How can I leverage out the things that don't need to be done by me? Get clear around what the expectation is and what would make both you and your partner fulfilled. Not everything is going to be at 100% all of the time.

EC: I stopped comparing myself to the idea of a work-life balance. This thought process made me think that everything had to be balanced, but that's not the case. Part of what I've done is include the family. I tell the kids "One of the ways you can contribute to the family is allowing me to be on this Zoom call. By allowing me to be on this call, you actually helped these people on the calls be helped." This helps your kids not pull you away and distract you, and they're able to understand their role about how your family can help other people. I am aware when I've started to neglect my family. Family always comes first, but not every time. If my kids want my time because they are bored, I have to put someone in that role. I am a juggler, not a balancing act. I don't compare myself to the expectation of a perfect life.

KB:  I don't believe in balance, it doesn't exist. Women are our largest untapped resource. It's important for children to learn contribution. I chart my own course, my own way.

NM: I don't even like the word balance because it implies equal priority. We have to be clear on what matters to us. I am always wherever my feet are. When I walk in the office, I am working. I am completely focused on what I am there to do. I'd rather fail at just one thing, so I only focus on where my feet are at any given time. Do what matters most in the moment that matters most. Bring your family on the journeys with you. We are tempted to hide the hard things. Our kids listen to what we show them, not what we tell them.

MR: Balance doesn't exist. There is no such thing as perfection. We can only respond to what's in front of us. We can't be everything, all at the same time, to everyone. You can be everything, but you have to prioritize. 


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