Real Estate Professional 5.02

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2019 50 women who are at the peak of Canada's real estate industry


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The days of real estate being a boys’ club are over – forever and for the better. Reat Estate Professional salutes 50 of the most influential and successful women working in the industry today LAST FALL, Real Estate Professional and Canadian Real Estate Wealth hosted their inaugural Women in Real Estate event in Mississauga, Ontario. A casual yet inspiring affair, it brought together a diverse selection of speakers from across the real estate spectrum and attracted an engaged and enthusiastic audience of agents, mortgage professionals, real estate investors and more. The ideas explored were important and

the relationships established fruitful, but the most striking element of the event, and one many attendees commented on, was the atmosphere: No competition. No ego. The air freed of the superiority complexes so common to industry events, replaced with a palpable feeling of cooperation. The creativity, innovation and support women bring to real estate can be found in every corner of the industry. Their empathy

inspires fresh, effective solutions; their dedication – to clients, to their communities – can literally change lives. REP would like to congratulate the 50 outstanding industry professionals who made it into this year’s Elite Women list, drawn from the largest pool of nominations we’ve ever received. Not that we’re surprised: When women succeed, women rejoice. Everyone should.

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Ambler, Leah

Re/Max Professionals


Goneau, Joanne

Re/Max Absolute Realty


Risi, Michelle

Royal LePage Connect Realty


Sanderson, Laurie

Gowling WLG


Sebzda, Marge

Canada ICI Capital Corporation


Ameerullah, Ameera

Canada Mortgage & Financial Group


Grafton, Allison

Rockwood Custom Homes


Aunger, Pauline

Royal LePage Advantage Real Estate


Gregory, Kathy

Paradigm Quest


Baile, Caroline

Royal LePage Your Community Realty


Hussey, Sandra

Sandra Hussey Exit Realty Group


Barstad, Joanna

Royal LePage Benchmark


Kabir, Farhana

Deservia Realty


Candelora, Dawn

Re/Max Nova


Kirkland, Sandra

Royal LePage Real Estate Services


Cheng, Carolyn

Royal LePage


Landry, JoAnn


Cheung, Wendy

Magsden Real Estate/Alture Properties

Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services


Lang, Joanna

Outline Financial


Conrad, Teri

Zillow Group


Lavine, Sherri


Cox, Karen

OREA/Sea & Ski Realty


Lynch, Jennifer


Sezlik, Cindy

Royal LePage Team Realty


Shabanova, Katya

Cushman & Wakefield


Sinclair, Melanie



Smith, Shannon

Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting



Sponder, Marta

Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board


Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty Gabriola


Squires, Jamie

Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing


Stephens, Louise

Re/Max Real Estate Centre


Sukkau, Barb

CREA/Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre


Cummins, Michele

Re/Max Little Oak Realty


Magee, Amanda

Stewart Title Guaranty Company


Doak, Pam

Exit Realty Advantage


Marangone, Karen

Altus Group


Falcomer, Natalka

Groundworks Realty Services


Mathewson, Donna

StreetCity Realty


Torres, Sonya

Re/Max All-Stars Realty


Flemming, Wendy

Re/Max Charlottetown


Moi, Jamie

DLC West Coast Mortgages


Trentadue, Dolores

Re/Max All-Stars Realty


Fletcher, Storm

Richard Robbins International


Myers, Janice

Ottawa Real Estate Board


Turner, Anita Sharma

Re/Max Associates


Fulton, Carly

Century 21 Percy Fulton


Peron, Joyce

Exit Realty


Webb, Sandra

Royal LePage


Fulton, Katelyn

Century 21 Percy Fulton


Phinney, Loretta

Royal LePage Real Estate Services


Yerxa, Jessie

Exit Realty Advantage


Fulton, Paige

Century 21 Percy Fulton


Plowman, Rachel

Dan Plowman Team Realty


Young, Linda Mitchell

Linda Mitchell Marketing


SANDRA HUSSEY Sandra Hussey Exit Realty Group Trenton/Belleville, ON

Sandra Hussey started her career with Exit by being named the company’s Canadian Rookie of the Year. Over the past five years, she’s done nothing but improve, winning Exit’s Silver, Gold and Platinum awards. She was recently recognized as the company’s top commission earner in Canada in 2018, a year in which she was also in the top 10 for closed ends and sales volume. Even with her hectic schedule, Hussey finds time to mentor and support other agents, including serving as a keynote speaker for the recent Exit Eastern Ontario Sales Retreat.

LOUISE STEPHENS Re/Max Real Estate Centre Kitchener, ON

After 30 years in the real estate business, Louise Stephens continues to set an example for others in the industry. Stephens is the managing broker of Re/Max Real Estate Centre’s Kitchener office, one of the brokerage’s 17 locations. She is the creator of the 90-day Commit to Success Challenge, the brokerage’s exclusive agent training program, which has been used to train most of its 875 agents. She also created Real Estate Centre’s in-house coaching program. In recognition of her impact and continued support of local and national charities, Stephens received the Re/Max Manager of the Year Award for Canada in 2017.


CINDY SEZLIK Royal LePage Team Realty Ottawa, ON

With 40 years of real estate experience, Cindy Sezlik has rightfully been declared Ottawa’s ‘condo guru.’ Prior to launching her real estate career, Sezlik cut her teeth as a stockbroker in Toronto, which helped her develop a prudent investment sense – a quality that helps her achieve record-breaking sale prices for sellers and make impossible dreams a reality for buyers. Sezlik also maintains a strong connection to her city and community, and her involvement in local charities and social events has become a given for her fellow Ottawans.

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Stewart Title Guaranty Company Vancouver, BC

As Stewart Title Guaranty Company’s director of business development for Western Canada, Amanda Magee has been instrumental in growing business in the region, due in large part to her commitment to help law firms and real estate professionals close deals smoothly and efficiently while mitigating significant risks. “When we started offering title insurance, not a lot of people knew what it was or how it could be used to address specific risks or facilitate closing a deal,” Magee says. “Now, our Canadian clients rely on our expertise and the coverage our policies provide, as well as the knowledge we bring. We excel at creative underwriting solutions that assist in closing deals, big or small. “Part of this success is the strong female representation we have both within Stewart’s leadership team and throughout the company,” she adds. “It contributes to our strength and ability to work collaboratively every day to deliver solutions that our clients have come to expect.”


Mississauga, ON

Joyce Peron joined Exit Realty within months of its inception and became president for Canada in 2001. Under her astute leadership, Exit has developed a crosssection of strong real estate brokerages and regional owners. Peron conducts dynamic speaking engagements across the country, educating the public on the proven Exit business model. Among her many accomplishments, Peron has been the recipient of Exit’s Leader’s Leader Award and has been named one of the Swanepoel Report’s 100 most influential women in real estate. “Do what you do best and delegate the rest,” she advises. “No one person can do it all and do it all well. Working together, we are all better.”


Magsden Real Estate/Alture Properties Vancouver, BC

Wendy Cheung is a modern Renaissance woman. In addition to being an award-winning investment-focused Realtor at Magsden Real Estate and co-founder of Alture Properties, she is also an experienced real estate investor, a talented musician, a philanthropist and author of Create Your Life’s Masterpiece. She has won REIN’s Top Players Award a staggering eight times and its Leslie Cluff Memorial Award five years in a row. She has used her real estate success to found the Mozart School of Music and to create the Wendy Yau Sum Cheung Fund, a perpetual endowment that provides scholarships for music students at Capilano University.

JANICE MYERS Ottawa Real Estate Board Ottawa, ON

The only female CEO of a large real estate board in Canada, Janice Myers relies on persistence and a highly collaborative management style to achieve the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s goals. “Board dynamics are better with women involved,” she says. However, she points out that a tendency to underestimate themselves can sometimes prevent women from reaching their full potential. “Be open to seizing opportunity without worrying too much if you can do it,” she advises. Myers credits her leadership skills to her determined mother and to her first major career role as ED of 4-H. Working with youth and volunteer leaders, many of whom were women, she found inspiration in their down-to-earth attitudes, tremendous work ethic and commitment to community leadership – all aspects of her current approach at OREB. “Always take the high road, admit your mistakes and focus your efforts on how to improve,” she says.

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Canada ICI Capital Corporation Edmonton, AB

A committed, compassionate fixture in the Canadian mortgage space, not to mention one of the only women to have attained a senior director position in the industry, Marg Sebzda is a tenured company leader who has been integral in some of Canada ICI Capital’s most celebrated projects. In addition to funding more than $4 billion worth of commercial mortgage transactions, Sebzda has also established herself over the past 22 years as a respected mentor for her fellow mortgage professionals. “I believe in empowering and advocating for people, especially women, in growing themselves, professionally and personally,” she says. Because of commercial real estate’s highly commissioned nature, Sebzda says the sector struggles to attract women, something she would like to see altered. “Company recruitment efforts need to ensure they are uncovering female talent in their search activities,” she says, “and the industry needs to make a concerted effort in increasing its career profile to women.”



Royal LePage Toronto, ON

Paradigm Quest Toronto, ON

As founder, president and CEO of Paradigm Quest, Kathy Gregory was the first female CEO in the Canadian mortgage industry – and she remains the only one. As a successful business leader in a predominantly male industry, Gregory is no stranger to breaking new ground and shattering traditional barriers. Since she founded Paradigm Quest in 2005 with only $3 million in capital, Gregory has built an unprecedented success story. Paradigm now employs over 300 people across offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and has more than $23 billion in assets under administration. No stranger to recognition, Gregory was inducted into the Canadian Mortgage Hall of Fame in 2013 and received the Profit Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship at the 2016 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneurship Awards. She also served as an honorary chair for the 2018 Princess Margaret Cancer Centre OneWalk.


Sandra Webb has worked within the Brookfield group of companies since 1993, beginning her career with Johnston & Daniel, the company’s Toronto-based luxury division. In 1996, as lead of the internet services team at Royal LePage, Webb was one of the architects of the company’s pioneering consumer portal. Her vision and expertise in e-commerce and business strategy helped establish Royal LePage as a leading provider of online technologies to the Canadian real estate industry. Since 2008, Webb has served as Royal LePage’s senior vice-president of marketing and communications, responsible for investor relations, public relations, communications, marketing, promotions, advertising, brand, partnerships, referral programs, events, awards and recognition.

JOANNA BARSTAD Royal LePage Benchmark Calgary, AB

Since 1997, Joanna Barstad has been passionately building one of Calgary’s most successful real estate businesses, offering solutions to a client base that runs from large corporations to individuals in search of the perfect home. An award winner, market specialist and true believer in Calgary’s tenacious spirit, Barstad is also a member of the Calgary Real Estate Board’s board of directors.

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KATYA SHABANOVA Cushman & Wakefield Toronto, ON

As vice-president of office leasing in the downtown office of Cushman & Wakefield, Katya Shabanova’s attention to detail, business awareness and hands-on strategic consulting approach allow her to provide valuable real estate services while building long-term client relationships. In 2017 and 2018, Shabanova was named one of Cushman & Wakefield’s top 50 producers across Canada and qualified for the President’s Round Table both years. She also received the SIOR Young Professional of the Year Award in 2017 based on her transactional experience, industry reputation and community involvement. Shabanova is an active member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Future Leaders Collaboration Committee and its Junior Achievement program. She is also a chair of Women Behaving Boldly, an annual event that supports the Peel Children’s Aid Foundation.



Oakville, ON

Grey Highlands, ON

Marta Sponder has been working behind the scenes at the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board for an incredible 42 years. As the board’s executive officer, Sponder calls on her expertise to help agents in one of Ontario’s most competitive and exclusive regions give their clients the most ethical and informative service they can.

A pillar of the real estate community for more than 25 years, Karen Cox is currently pulling double duty as the owner/broker of record at Sea &Ski Realty and as president of the Ontario Real Estate Association, a position that sees her interacting with the provincial government and other high-level decision-makers to raise the industry’s professional standards and build stronger communities across Ontario. Cox has a deep history with OREA – she won the group’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011, has been on its board of directors since 2015 and served as chair of its finance/audit committee for 2016–2017. While Cox is proud of the number of women in the industry, she says both the commercial sector and organized real estate would benefit from more female representation, noting that women “bring a different skill set to the table. They bring compassion and an understanding when assisting buyers and sellers in one of the largest financial decisions of their lives.”

Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board

NATALKA FALCOMER Groundworks Realty Services Toronto, ON

With the founding of Groundworks Realty Services, Natalka Falcomer combined her legal and entrepreneurial background with her passion for social justice to change the delivery of legal services in the commercial and residential leasing space. Her innovation in the field, tireless volunteer work and role as host of Rogers TV’s Toronto Speaks Legal Advice have brought Falcomer no shortage of acclaim. She has received the Real Estate Institute of Canada’s Education Award, the Bentall Kennedy Literary Award, the Patrick J. Harvey Memorial Award and the QuadReal Literary Award. A current REIC instructor, Falcomer was appointed the organization’s national director in 2019. She also serves in an executive development role with Chestnut Park Real Estate.

OREA/Sea & Ski Realty

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ELITE WOMEN STORM FLETCHER Richard Robbins International Toronto, ON

For the past 15 years, Storm Fletcher has helped grow Richard Robbins International into the foremost authority in Canadian real estate training and coaching. An advocate for providing powerful insight, she has played a large role in the international success of RRI’s newest online training program, Masters Formula. “Growth comes from an unwillingness to be comfortable and the desire to do more,” she says. “It’s not about comparing yourself to men; it’s about holding yourself to a higher standard. It’s about being the absolute best version of yourself – and that happens to be a kick-ass woman.” Fletcher has had the privilege of working with strong, empowering women throughout her career and strives to give back by assisting organizations that provide help to abused women.


Canada Mortgage & Financial Group


Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services Burlington, ON

Mississauga, ON

As the CEO and founder of Canada Mortgage & Financial Group, Ameera Ameerullah leverages her 18 years of experience to structure complex transactions for her clients and educate them on every aspect of the mortgage process, from property evaluation to the macroeconomic forces acting on the housing market. Her detailed approach and blemish-free record have won her an impressive collection of awards, including Alternative Lending Broker of the Year at the Canadian Mortgage Awards. CMFG’s success has allowed Ameerullah to devote more of her time and energy to helping others. “Most important to me is that I am able to give back to the community,” she says. In addition to advocating for the homeless, abused women and children’s education, Ameerullah also runs the CMFG Women Entrepreneurship Investment Program, investing part of her earnings into new business startups for women.


As president and broker of Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services, JoAnn Landry has spent the past 17 years leading one of Royal LePage’s strongest brokerages in the GTA. Landry has been awarded many of the company’s highest honours, including the Directors Platinum Award, President’s Gold Award and Award of Excellence. “I, along with our non-selling managers and exceptional administrative team, am fully committed to the success of our Realtors and the happiness of our clients,” she says.

CAROLYN CHENG Royal LePage Toronto, ON

As the COO of Royal LePage, Carolyn Cheng is responsible for the company’s value proposition and service offering for brokerages and agents. Adeptly navigating real estate’s continuous changes, Cheng monitors trends and drives strategic initiatives to keep the company at the forefront of the industry. “Royal LePage is very fortunate to have a balanced executive team with an equal mix of women and men, as well as a strong contingent of women in overall management,” Cheng says. She advises fellow women in the industry to “build on your own strengths as a leader, as they may differ from your existing role models, and to ask for or create new opportunities when you are ready.”

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JOANNA LANG Outline Financial Toronto, ON

As co-founder and managing partner of Outline Financial, Joanna Lang is widely regarded as one of Canada’s most dynamic and successful mortgage professionals. Over the past year alone, Lang funded more than $174 million in residential mortgage volume, making her one of Canada’s top mortgage brokers. In more than two decades in the industry, Lang has distinguished herself by providing a high-touch, customized service experience that puts clients’ financial needs first. She is known for her expertise in managing complicated, multi-million-dollar deal structures and is deeply passionate about mentoring young women in the mortgage industry. She also contributes to industry platforms like Women in the Mortgage Industry and has worked with charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Sunnybrook Hospital and Ovarian Cancer Canada.

FARHANA KABIR Deservia Realty Brampton, ON


Royal LePage Connect Realty Prior to founding Deservia Realty in 2013, Farhana Kabir was a multi-award-winning Re/Max agent. She now leads an all-female brokerage dedicated to “encouraging women to believe in their potential and maximize opportunities at all times.” Thanks to Kabir’s support, a number of Deservia employees have gone on to realize their dreams in the real estate and mortgage industries. While real estate has come a long way from its male-dominated roots, Kabir believes the process can be accelerated by women referring business to other female entrepreneurs Farhana and pooling theirKabir ideas rather than competing with one another. “Deservia is a big Founder/CEO supporter of women in business in general,” she says, “so we don’t mind sharing our business expertise within and outside of our industry.”


With more than 25 years of experience, Laurie Sanderson is a recognized expert in the area of commercial leasing, representing a wide variety of both private- and public-sector landlords and tenants. Sanderson is consistently recognized for her real estate expertise in the Chambers Global Guide, the Best Lawyers in Canada list and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. She served on the board of directors for BOMA Ottawa from 2007 to 2013 and was a member of its executive committee for four years.

Pickering, ON

Michelle Risi is arguably one of the most impactful women working for the Royal LePage brand. After 20 years as executive vice-president of the company’s largest franchise, Royal LePage Your Community, during which she expanded its reach to 10 locations and more than 1,000 Realtors, Risi acquired Royal LePage Connect in 2018. She now operates six Connect locations across the GTA, leading a small army of nearly 300 agents, all of whom, along with those from Your Community, are trained and coached at the Real Estate Academy she founded. Raised by a strong female entrepreneur and fellow Realtor, Risi says her mother set an example that “nothing is unreachable,” but she admits that working mothers today often still face resistance. “Like the example set for me by my mother, I choose to ignore that and go after what I want anyway,” she says.

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Royal LePage Advantage Real Estate Smiths Falls, ON

An award-winning Realtor for an impressive 40 years, Pauline Aunger has not only been a driving force behind the success of Royal LePage Advantage, but within Ontario real estate itself. She has spent her career volunteering in organized real estate, serving as president of her local board, OREA and CREA, and, in 2017, as an international director for the National Association of Realtors in the United States. She continues to serve on the professional standards committee of her local board, along with other committees at the provincial and national level. Aunger also has a history of volunteering in her community. She has served on the boards of the Perth & Smiths Falls Hospital, Crime Stoppers, Lanark County Housing Authority, Smiths Falls Community Theatre and the Rideau Lakes Figure Skating Club, among others.

LORETTA PHINNEY Royal LePage Real Estate Services Mississauga, ON

MICHELE CUMMINS Re/Max Little Oak Realty Mission, BC

Michele Cummins might not have officially been named the queen of Fraser Valley real estate, but she definitely has claim to the crown. A 15-year industry veteran and trained negotiator, Cummins is Re/Max’s top selling agent in the valley and regularly places in the top 1% of all Fraser Valley Realtors. She’s also a certified specialist in both luxury homes and new builds, a certified mentor, and the host of her own radio show. Despite being well established and having sold millions of dollars in real estate, Cummins still holds fast to the “do what it takes” attitude that got her where she is today. “I’m still willing to host open houses, go door-knocking and hand-deliver flyers,” she says. “By showing up, working hard and doing good work, the results will be evident.”


If you sell real estate in the GTA, you know who Loretta Phinney is: the leader of the only Royal LePage sales team to finish in the company’s top five for 24 years in a row, the head of a sales team that has been number one in the company a mind-boggling eight times, a true industry pioneer who has spent more than 30 years collecting awards and making clients’ dreams come true. Before becoming the grande dame of Toronto real estate, Phinney was a young agent sponging up advice from other successful women and learning the importance of honesty, organization, and maintaining physical and mental fitness. “In real estate, you need to have three things: a talent for the job, love for what you’re doing and work ethic,” she says. “If you don’t have all three, real estate will be a difficult job.”


CREA/Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre St. Catharines, ON

Barb Sukkau, CREA’s 2018 president, has been a Realtor for 20 years, selling both commercial and residential real estate. In addition to her critical role with CREA, Sukkau currently sells for Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario. Before taking the helm as CREA president, Sukkau served as president of OREA in 2011 and as president of the Niagara Association of Realtors in 2005. She has also served on countless committees over the years, including CREA’s national ad campaign, governance and bylaw committee, and futures implementation team committee. Among Sukkau’s proudest achievements is the creation of the OREA Young Professionals Network, which has more than 1,700 members.

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DONNA MATHEWSON StreetCity Realty Sarnia, ON

Throughout her 26 years as a Realtor, Donna Mathewson has worked to effect positive change for her clients, colleagues and community by understanding, conveying and addressing the needs of others. In addition to managing her StreetCity Realty office, Mathewson serves as president of her local board and sits on the government relations committee for Ontario Realtors. Outside of real estate, she is a regular volunteer with Pathways Centre for Children and Make-A-Wish Canada. “As the daughter, sister, aunt and friend of strong, resourceful women, I’ve achieved my goals in part because of their tangible, ongoing support,” she says. “I’m committed to paying their gifts forward locally and globally.”

RACHEL PLOWMAN Dan Plowman Team Realty Whitby, ON

Together with her husband, Dan, Rachel Plowman helms one of the GTA’s most successful real estate teams. As the daughter of two Realtors and wife of another, real estate seemed to be calling Plowman, so at the age of 23, she jumped into the industry and quickly became a top producer. In addition to maintaining the Plowman Team’s dominance, Plowman and her husband also run Dan Plowman Coaching, which shares the systems they’ve use to ensure accelerated success in real estate. Plowman believes women “have incredible drive and a genuine care for others. When that’s combined with training and true mentors, they have an excellent opportunity to excel in this industry,” she says.

WENDY FLEMMING Re/Max Charlottetown Charlottetown, PEI

“All I can strive to be is the absolute best possible version of myself,” says Re/Max Charlottetown’s Wendy Flemming. The company’s number-one agent in PEI for sales volume and commissions earned in 2018, Flemming seems to have achieved her goal. An expert at getting the right deal done for the right client, Flemming also has an extensive background in rentals – a major boon to the new wave of investors who have been enticed by the province’s strong economic performance and growing population.


Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty Gabriola Gabriola Island, BC

In June, Jennifer Lynch will celebrate 25 years in the industry, 20 of which have been dedicated to managing wildly successful brokerages for Coast Realty and Royal LePage. Lynch also remains a fixture in Vancouver Island’s organized real estate community, where she has held multiple positions within BCREA, including president, and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. She has been elected to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia and is currently a director of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation. Lynch credits the support of her family and colleagues for her continued success, but she acknowledges that none of it would have been possible without her own willingness to take risks. “Professionally, I say yes to everything,” she says. “This has opened some incredible doors. It also challenges me to do things I may not otherwise seek to do.”

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ELITE WOMEN ALLISON GRAFTON Rockwood Custom Homes Calgary, AB

The president and founder of Rockwood Custom Homes, Allison Grafton has grown the company from a solo operation into a fine-tuned team of 35 employees and more than 500 contractors over the past decade. In that short time, the company has become an industry leader, exhibiting sustained growth of more than 1,600% since its inception. Grafton is widely recognized as a strong female leader and entrepreneur. In 2015, she won the prestigious RBC Women of Influence Momentum Award; in 2016, she was inducted into the WXN Hall of Fame; and in 2019, she received the Upsurge Entrepreneur Award from Alberta Women Entrepreneurs.



Toronto, ON

Etobicoke, ON

Consistency and perseverance have allowed Sherri Lavine to make her mark in the male-dominated worlds of law and commercial real estate. As a partner in Chaitons’ commercial real estate group, Lavine has played a critical role in a growing number of high-value acquisitions, commercial projects and condo/subdivision initiatives. She is a frequent speaker on commercial real estate at seminars and conferences and was recently named a Toronto Power Woman by her peers. In addition to bringing a refreshing personal touch to her corporate dealings, Lavine is a willing mentor to other women in her industry. “Contributing to that empowerment process involves both making yourself a role model for other women within your own industry and using your voice to ensure that women are included in the conversation,” she says.

Some in the industry might have been surprised when Leah Ambler bought Re/Max Professionals at the ripe old age of 30, but for those familiar with her accomplishments – Platinum Club in her second year as an agent, the youngest broker in the Re/Max system – it was simply another leap forward for a young woman whose tireless hard work has put her on the path to greatness. “I do everything I can to help my agents develop,” Ambler says, “so they can stand apart, make sales and reap the rewards.” Ambler feels women with families should never be forced to compromise their professional goals. “A woman shouldn’t feel like she has to do it all in the workplace and at home,” she says. “Success is about finding a good balance. Coming to terms with that will actually help improve her performance in every aspect of her life.”



Re/Max Professionals

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Royal LePage Real Estate Services Toronto, ON

When Sandra Kirkland broke into real estate in 2006, she knew she wanted to do more than just sell. In 2017, armed with a decade’s worth of experience and a desire to make her mark, she became managing broker of Royal LePage Real Estate Services, one of the company’s most established branches, becoming one of the youngest full-time independent managing brokers in the industry. In 2018, she received the OREA Young Professionals Award for Leadership. Kirkland says she faced an uphill battle when she first became a managing broker, but her hard-nosed determination quickly had her doubters singing a different tune. “Being a woman doesn’t hold you back. Being young doesn’t hold you back. You hold you back,” she says. “If you want to do great things, stand up and do great things.”

SHANNON SMITH Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting Oshawa, ON

JESSIE YERXA Exit Realty Advantage Fredericton, NB

In addition to being one of Exit Realty’s top North American Realtors, Jessie Yerxa has been pushing the boundaries of forward-thinking marketing since she broke into the industry in 2008. Her mastery of technology, social media and videography have allowed Yerxa to better expose her listing inventory while captivating buyers across a demanding Fredericton market. Managing a team of six full-time professionals; giving back to her community through her animalshelter-focused Pawsitive Property Initiative; and maintaining a healthy, balanced life have allowed Yerxa to evolve from a promising Realtor into a well-rounded real estate mogul.

Prior to joining forces with another of Canada’s trailblazing female real estate entrepreneurs, Shannon Smith had established herself as an accomplished inside sales agent with a penchant for lead conversion, facilitating more than 500 firm deals and managing the second largest inside sales department in all of Canada. Now, as an elite coach with Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting, she helps a growing number of real estate teams implement systems that have proven to be both game- and life-changing. Real estate can turn its practitioners cynical in a matter of months, which makes Smith’s endless optimism a powerful tool. “In a world where we often train ourselves to think negatively, I strive to instill values of positivity in everyone I meet,” she says. “You get to choose what you do in this life, so be crystal clear in your vision, values and goals. When they are congruent, you can achieve anything.”

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ELITE WOMEN JOANNE GONEAU Re/Max Absolute Realty Ottawa, ON

A Re/Max Circle of Legends Award winner and a regular recipient of the company’s Diamond Award, Joanne Goneau has been revolutionizing the Ottawa market for 33 years. The broker/owner of Re/Max Absolute, Goneau continues to maintain relationships with the clients she encountered during her first year in the business. Goneau has seen firsthand just how impactful women can be in real estate. “Women are creative and dynamic and in tune with the needs and wants of the consumer,” she says. “And they become more empowered in the business if they take the time to be knowledgeable about the product they are selling and exude confidence.”


Royal LePage Your Community Realty Newmarket, ON

DLC West Coast Mortgages Langley, BC

A 15-year real estate veteran, multiple award winner and owner of DLC West Coast Mortgages, one of the mortgage giant’s Diamond-level franchises, Jamie Moi continues to grow her business through a dedication to efficiency. “I approach my business with the idea of helping as many people as I possibly can,” she says. “The result is that I have almost eliminated face-to-face meetings with clients. We have worked to automate much of our past client communications to ensure we are supporting them well after their mortgage has been placed.” Moi is also known for her charitable endeavours. She has raised thousands of dollars to support cancer and autism research and has contributed funds that have helped bring clean water to a community in South Sudan.


An extensive corporate background has proven to be quite a boon for both Caroline Baile and her growing list of satisfied clients. Baile’s marketing and negotiation experience, combined with her passion, commitment and thirst for knowledge, have put her head and shoulders above most of the agents in her market. She has received National Chairman’s Club honours from Royal LePage every year since 2015 and was named the company’s Realtor of the Year for Ontario in 2018. “While men traditionally were viewed as the negotiators with a strong business mind, women have come a long way,” Baile says. “Real estate might be an area where women have an edge on their counterparts, as they often bring a nurturing side to the business, along with strong negotiating skills – a combination that works well when emotions are high and your largest investment is on the line.”

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TERI CONRAD Zillow Group Vancouver, BC

As Zillow’s director of broker relations for Western Canada, Teri Conrad has been instrumental in creating and fostering key relationships with brokerages across Canada. Conrad was instrumental in Zillow’s successful launch into Canada and continues to prove herself to be a key driver of growth and success for one of real estate’s most exciting disruptors. Conrad’s advice for young women wanting to follow in her footsteps? Don’t. “Follow your own path,” she says. “Spend time with yourself and tune into your inner guidance and trust that. We all have our own internal GPS, and learning how to tap into that has proven to be my best resource. Define your own success and resist the urge to chase fame – follow your passions instead.”

KAREN MARANGONE Altus Group Toronto, ON

Karen Marangone has been in the property assessment and taxation industry for more than 15 years. She started out as an assessor with the Ontario Ministry of Revenue, then moved to the property tax division of Deloitte & Touche before becoming an executive vice-president at Cushman & Wakefield. In 2009, Marangone joined Altus Group, where she’s in charge of reviewing assessments for all classes of property and has been successful in achieving substantive tax reductions for both local and national clients. A licensed paralegal under the Law Society of Upper Canada and an accredited member of the Institute of Municipal Assessors, Marangone has appeared as an expert witness and advocate at the Assessment Review Board.


Toronto, ON

With more than 35 years of experience in corporate real estate, Melanie Sinclair is well known for her unmatched negotiating skills and mastery of legal fine print, which have saved companies millions. Sinclair sources locations, negotiates business terms, administers leases and assists in facility management for a client base that runs the gamut from small entrepreneurial landlords to large anchor tenants. For other women looking to follow her path to success, Sinclair says passion and flexibility are a must, but finding colleagues who will act as advocates might be the most important step of all. “You will need this if you want to succeed and grow,” she says. “Everyone needs someone they can trust and use as a sounding board. Forty-six per cent of men have a sponsor, which means they will have greater access to future assignments.”


Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Surrey, BC

Cataloguing all of Jamie Squires’ wins over the course of her 15-year career is a fool’s errand. Prior to becoming managing broker and vice-president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing and overseeing a team of more than 40 licensed Realtors, Squires made considerable noise in the multi-family housing sector, where she marketed and sold thousands of new homes in over 100 communities. Squires’ dedication to real estate goes far beyond selling. She is on the marketing committee of the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver, the City of Surrey Development Advisory Committee, the Township of Langley Development Committee and the UDI Pacific and Fraser Valley Committee. “For 15 years, I have fought for myself and every other woman who follows in my footsteps,” Squires says. “I am proud to grow the skills of those around me and to introduce more women into senior roles.”

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Century 21 Percy Fulton Toronto, ON


Taking the reins of a successful third-generation business can bring with it a potent mixture of pressure and anxiety. Not so for Toronto’s Fulton Sisters – Carly, Katelyn and Paige – who jumped at the chance to take over the operation of the Century 21 franchise founded by their grandfather. In addition to adding 75 new agents, the Fultons have also renovated their 10,000-square-foot head office; created multiple new mentorship initiatives, including a weekly Millionaires Club and a Systems for Success training program; and launched a team dedicated to new construction. Among the few millennials to be featured on this year’s Elite Women list, the Fultons entered the industry at a time when women are more widely supported and encouraged to succeed. “There is no glass ceiling in the industry,” Katelyn says. “We’ve had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many strong, intelligent women in leadership roles in brokerages around the country who are crushing it.”

Exit Realty Advantage Fredericton, NB

Pam Doak has been a trusted real estate advisor in Fredericton for more than three decades. Starting her career when she was just 18, Doak has experienced her fair share of challenges, but she has also amassed a cabinet’s worth of trophies and an endless string of satisfied clients along the way. Doak also has a long history of giving back to the Fredericton community. A 2017 winner of the Fredericton Real Estate Board’s Volunteer of the Year Award, Doak is a long-time supporter of the IWK Children’s Hospital, Colter’s Cause and the Chalmers Foundation. She is also the founder of the Fredericton Women’s Executive, which provides scholarships to struggling young women. “Having the opportunity to better someone else from your own experience is simply the best,” she says. “Invest in someone and you invest in their success.”


TRENTADUE TORRES TEAM Re/Max All-Stars Realty Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

For much of their time as leaders of the high-powered real estate team that bears their names, Dolores Trentadue and Sonya Torres have been calling the shots and launching the careers of an all-female team of Realtors. The Trentadue Torres Team is a fixture in the top 1% of both the Toronto Real Estate Board and Re/Max Canada, earning the company’s coveted Diamond Award in both 2017 and 2018. They’ve also been voted the top real estate agents in the Stouffville Readers’ Choice Awards for the past two years. Both Trentadue and Torres are Re/Max Hall of Famers, and their skills have clearly rubbed off on their team members. “Our goal is to listen to and communicate with our clients so that we can best serve their needs, their wants and their dreams,” Torres says. “We want our clients to be completely informed so they can develop a useful understanding of the current market. Knowledge is power, and a well-advised client will ultimately achieve the highest levels of success in their real estate pursuits.”

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LINDA MITCHELL YOUNG Linda Mitchell Marketing Toronto, ON

Much has changed since Linda Mitchell Young got her start in the construction industry in 1979, a time when women were perceived to be unfit for any role beyond that of secretary. “I never used that as a crutch,” she says. “I always worked without focusing on being a woman. I was an employee who worked very hard.” Today, as the head of one of Toronto’s most respected real estate marketing and consulting firms, Young has been involved in the development of more than 70 condominium buildings in the GTA, adding up to a whopping $7 billion in revenue. A multiple BILD Pinnacle Award winner and the brains behind some of Toronto’s most ambitious developments, Young has earned her status as the city’s condo queen.


Dawna Candelora started her real estate career with Re/Max Nova more than 10 years ago. A member of the Re/Max International Platinum Award Club and the Re/Max Hall of Fame, Candelora prides herself on putting her clients’ satisfaction above all else. Her determination and attention to detail ensure her clients receive first-class service with utmost integrity, and her 80% referral rate attests to her clients’ trust in her. “I hold my key values in the highest regard,” she says, “and for me, these values – honesty, integrity, trust, knowledge and dedication – are paramount to representing my clients.” Candelora’s advice to new agents is be present and proactive in reaching out to others. “You have to be out meeting people, not waiting for business to come to you,” she says.

ANITA SHARMA TURNER Re/Max Associates Winnipeg, MB

After more than a decade in real estate, Anita Sharma Turner is a consistent top producer at Re/Max and was awarded the company’s Hall of Fame Award in 2015 and its Platinum Club Award in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Known throughout Winnipeg as both an all-star Realtor and a dedicated supporter of local businesses, Turner is also the founder of The Scene Manitoba, an online and print magazine that showcases the unique establishments and talent found throughout the province. In 2012, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Business Owners of Manitoba.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS With so many deserving nominees, REP couldn’t possibly fit everyone into this year’s edition of Elite Women. In addition to our 50 finalists, REP would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the following superstars. • Angela Asadoorian Royal LePage Crown Realty • Julie Bondy Manor Windsor Realty • Michelle Brown Re/Max Realty Professionals • Sue Burke Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty • Neta Clarke Royal LePage Team Realty (retired) • Natalie Frodsham Exit Ottawa Valley Realty • Erica Gileo Exit Realty Corp. International • Laura Gillespie Zillow Group • Christine Hauschild Royal LePage Team Realty • Shirley McDowell Re/Max Eastern Realty • Lindsay Percy Royal LePage First Contact Realty • Liane Redding Royal LePage Tendance • Lindsay Reid Royal LePage Triland Community Realty • Sue Robbins Richard Robbins International • Tina Roy Re/Max Preferred Realty • Valerie Roy Blue Pearl Mortgage • Lisa Salt Salt-Fowler Team, Re/Max Vernon • Chantal Traversy Messecar Traversy Team • Linda Vadala Royal LePage City Realty • Cassandra Will Century 21 Advanced Realty

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HENRYs at home Anthony Hitt, president and CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas, explains what real estate professionals need to know about the next generation of wealth

IT’S TIME for real estate professionals to get acquainted with HENRY. HENRY, an acronym that stands for High Earners Not Rich Yet, describes a niche subset that represents the next generation of wealth.

paths, family status and the premium they place on travel and experiences. It should come as no surprise that the ways in which millennial HENRYs make purchasing decisions, specifically when buying a home, also differ.

This demographic defines a luxury home as one that suits their unique preferences, needs and desired lifestyle Today, most HENRYs are millennials and young gen x-ers who earn an annual household income of more than $100,000. HENRYs are becoming tomorrow’s affluent consumer, and real estate professionals need to start paying attention to this influential demographic. Millennials tend to differ from generations past when it comes to navigating their career


First, it’s worth noting that the dream of homeownership is still very much alive for millennial HENRYs. According to our recent study, 97% of millennial HENRYs either own a home or plan to purchase a home, and nearly three-quarters either already own or plan to purchase a second home. However, HENRYs are redefining the

concept of a luxury product. When asked what defines a brand as ‘luxury,’ 80% said superior quality and 64% cited excellent reputation/word of mouth, while only 47% said premium price. This tells us that millennial HENRYs are willing to pay for what they want and value in a home – finishes, neighbourhood, amenities, etc. – but that luxury isn’t determined by price tag alone. Rather, this demographic defines a luxury home as one that suits their unique preferences, needs and desired lifestyle. This aligns with our own philosophy at Engel & Völkers: We believe luxury is more than just a property; it’s simply the enjoyment of the best in life, and the definition is unique to each individual. The way HENRYs select real estate agents and the value they expect to gain is also distinct. Interestingly, two-thirds of HENRYs follow influencers on social media, 84% have made a purchase because of a social media influencer, and 80% of HENRYs would consider hiring an influencer for their topic expertise. The top platforms HENRYs follow influencers on are Instagram (67%), Facebook (55%) and YouTube (38%). Referrals take on a new significance in the age of social media, where word-of-mouth recommendations are amplified and influencer marketing has proved to be extremely effective. Investing in building a brand online and showcasing market knowledge and local neighbourhood expertise can strongly attract HENRYs as clients. The traditional notion of the luxury real estate buyer is changing, and this divergence will only become more pronounced as HENRYs mature and accumulate wealth. As real estate professionals, we must understand millennial HENRYs’ new definitions of luxury and adjust our own preconceived views to best serve this demographic.

Anthony Hitt is the president and CEO of Engel and Völkers Americas. To learn more about what E&V can do for your real estate career, visit

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