NAWRB Magazine Volume 11, Issue 1 Collaboration Breathes Success

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Collaboration Breathes Success Vol. 11/Issue 1

sheCENTER(FOLD) she (FOLD) Teresa Palacios Smith Page 24

NeuViCare™ from Amicus Brain Innovations for Dementia Care Page 48

Transformational Philanthropy Page 5

Nature is Your New Roomate: The Benefits of Biophilic Design Page 10

Keys to Successful Collaboration Page 17

Opportunity Zone Projects: Optimizing Business As a Force for Good Page 42

Publisher’s Letter Collaboration Breathes Success Volume 11, Issue 1

It is past time to build a better world that prioritizes the real estate we live on and the welfare of all people. The articles in Volume 11 Issue 1 of NAWRB Magazine: Collaboration Breathes Success address ways we can collaborate more harmoniously with each other and the planet. Teresa Palacios Smith, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for HomeServices of America, gives us an exclusive peek into her life. She shares deeply personal memories from her childhood, turning points in her career path, and her journey climbing to the top with heart, grit, and strong cultural identity. Recently President Biden released the new Housing Supply Action Plan, outlining bold steps for closing the housing supply gap in the next 5 years. Our article highlights essential actions from the plan and raises questions necessary to consider when moving forward with these developments. Get inspired by Sage Alexander, Principal of Leafwise Ltd., whose article champions opportunity zone projects and implementing ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) to improve communities, especially those in need. He highlights the possibilities of opportunity zone projects, and how each area of ESG could grow and thrive in the process. We shine the spotlight on another opportunity for growth: biophilic design! An architectural style transforming indoor spaces through nature, biophilic design will enrich much more than the walls around you. We introduce the diverse benefits of adding plant life, water, and other forms of nature into your house or workplace. Our sincerest appreciation to all the advertisers, contributors, and subscribers to the magazine! Your support is one of our most valued collaborations.

Desirée Patno, CEO & President of NAWRB Chairwoman of NDILC








Jay Jones

Marty Dutch

Tami Bonnell

Teresa Palacios Smith Ashley Stinton

Sage Alexander Dr.Chitra Dorai Anna Rohwer

Erica Courtney Kellie Aamodt



NAWRB Magazine is a quarterly publication with gender lens perspective, featuring unique content, articles on diversity, inclusion and engagement in the housing ecosystem, exclusive interviews with industry professionals, business development tools, book reviews, feature stories and more. All materials submitted to NAWRB Magazine are subject to editing if utilized. The articles, content, and other information in this publication are for information purposes only, but do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NAWRB. NAWRB assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate, delayed or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Transformational Philanthropy:

Definition: A gift that has as profound an impact on the donor who makes it (and often their family) as it does on the organization receiving the gift. The beauty of truly Transformational Philanthropy is the pebble effect… A committed intentional philanthropist transforms themselves as the pebble hits the water. Concentric circles appear as the ripple hits family and friends when invited, the nonprofit organization, and finally, the individuals/communities who benefit from the pebble. Have you ever asked yourself if you are a donor or a philanthropist? A donor writes checks. A philanthropist (per Webster’s dictionary) makes an active effort to promote human welfare. Philanthropy takes the next step to giving more than money alone (whether it be time, talent, or other resources). It includes a synergy of financial and physical assistance for people or communities in need. It is in the “active” part that transformation begins.

Most people have someone in their life that impacted, mentored or changed their trajectory. Who was that for you? What would you try/change if you had no chance to fail? What was your first philanthropic experience? Who/what influenced you philanthropically? What would you like your legacy to be personally and for your family? As my husband and I reflected on these answers, our hearts remembered our time at the Y. We felt compelled to reconnect and make sure that other kids have the opportunity to go to camp. Now when we are helping the Y, I can’t explain it, but it feels important. It centered us on one of our core values - serving.

In my experience, self-reflection is the first step in Transformational Philanthropy. I found this clarity when I was invited to participate in a Guided Discovery conversation with my husband to help us write our Heritage Statement. We were asked a series of open-ended questions to help us reflect on the life experiences and relationships which created our core values. I didn’t just raise my hand and pick “integrity;” my life experiences formed my belief system.

Our pebble rippled to the Development Director who agreed to let us help. We offered to host a cocktail party at our home and invite some of our old camp friends. We asked the Y to send some staff over to update the group about needs at the Y and share how giving to the Heritage Club could make a sustainable long-term legacy for our group. The success of this event created a template that continues today.

My husband and I are very philanthropically involved. We have committed a large amount of our time to supporting organizations that are important to us. So it surprised us at the end of our interview when we realized that we had neglected the organization that impacted us the most in our youth. You see, we met at Camp Fox in 1979 when we were both camp counselors. The adults that formed our self-confidence, leadership skills, and love for children all worked, or volunteered at, the Anaheim YMCA. We looked at each other and said, “Why aren’t we supporting the Y?” This clarity came from some powerful questions like:

Finally our pebble is building strength at the Y in the Heritage Club. So far 6 new commitments have been made to the Heritage Club. The Y has a new group of committed supporters who may have been lost otherwise. Would you like to create a legacy for yourself and your family? Finding a trusted advisor to help you clarify your core values and create an enduring legacy is an investment of time, talent, and treasure.

This investment will help you clarify… Donor or Philanthropist?

Marty Dutch,

VP, Director of Philanthropy Services First Foundation Inc.


Real Estate Volume II

Foo Protection of ecosystems & biosphere

Equitabl re

Protection of marine life


Volume IV

Participat of

Respect for all Species



Increased quality of air, land, water

Aging Population

Volume VI






Management of waste


Management of pollution



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How do you implement the rings of sustainability in your own life or company?

Cultivate the Intersections of the Six WHER Volumes: Contribute to 2022 NAWRB Symposium Women's Ring of Leadership Nov 17th-18th, 2022 www.nawrbconfer


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od Security Eradication of unemployment

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Opportunity for growth System Stability & Security

tion and inclusion everyone Diversity, Equity

Green Jobs

& Inclusion

Volume I

ation of poverty

Increased GDP & Benefits


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r life chances pportunities

Regulation of overexploitation & harmful externalities


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Volume V

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Access to Capital 5

Transformational Philanthropy by Marty Dutch

Leadership 6

Rings of Sustainability

Real Estate 10

Nature is Your New Roommate: The Benefits of Biophilic Design


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Keys to Successful Collaboration by Tami Bonnell


We offer: Resource Advisor Caregiving Advisor Community Hub Online

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NDILC in the News NDILC Twelve Women’s Ledership Principles

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The Greater REACH of Real Estate Technology by Ashley Stinton



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Quality of Life


The Impossible Yes by Anna Rohwer

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1 Your client’s participation in the Verified Approval program is based on an underwriter’s comprehensive analysis of their credit, income, employment status, debt, property, insurance and appraisal as well as a satisfactory title report/search. If new information materially changes the underwriting decision resulting in a denial of the credit request, if the loan fails to close for a reason outside of Rocket Mortgage’s control, or if the client no longer wants to proceed with the loan, their participation in the program will be discontinued. If the client’s eligibility in the program does not change and their mortgage loan does not close, they will receive $1,000. This offer does not apply to new purchase loans submitted to Rocket Mortgage through a mortgage broker. This offer is not valid for self-employed clients. Rocket Mortgage reserves the right to cancel this offer at any time. Acceptance of this offer constitutes the acceptance of these terms and conditions, which are subject to change at the sole discretion of Rocket Mortgage. This is not a commitment to lend. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply. Rocket Mortgage, LLC; NMLS #3030; Equal Housing Lender. Licensed in 50 states. AL License No. MC 20979, Control No. 100152352. AR, TX: 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226-1906, (888) 474-0404; AZ: 1 N. Central Ave., Ste. 2000, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Mortgage Banker License #BK-0902939; CA: Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act; CO: Regulated by the Division of Real Estate; GA: Residential Mortgage Licensee #11704; IL: Residential Mortgage Licensee #4127 – Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation; KS: Licensed Mortgage Company MC.0025309; MA: Mortgage Lender License #ML 3030; ME: Supervised Lender License; MN: Not an offer for a rate lock agreement; MS: Licensed by the MS Dept. of Banking and Consumer Finance; NH: Licensed by the NH Banking Dept., #6743MB; NV: License #626; NJ: New Jersey – Rocket Mortgage, LLC, 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226, (888) 474-0404, Licensed by the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance.; NY: Rocket Mortgage, LLC, 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226 Licensed Mortgage Banker-NYS Department of Financial Services; OH: MB 850076; OR: License #ML-1387; PA: Licensed by the Dept. of Banking – License #21430; RI: Licensed Lender; WA: Consumer Loan Company License CL-3030. Conditions may apply. ©2000 – 2022 Rocket Mortgage, LLC. All rights reserved. Lending services provided by Rocket Mortgage, LLC, a subsidiary of Rocket Companies, Inc. (NYSE: RKT). Rocket Mortgage, 1050 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226-1906

Nature is Your New Roommate: The Benefits of Biophilic Design When you step into a room where sunlight spills onto the floor, plants drape from the ceiling, and fresh-picked flowers grace the table, how do you feel? If you’re like most people, you become more relaxed and happier. Several studies have shown that being surrounded by nature can reduce anxiety, relieve stress, and make you happier and more creative. However, according to the EPA’s Report on the Environment, the average American spends over 90% of their time indoors. Spending so much time trapped indoors can be dangerous for our health and wellbeing. How do we combat the negative effects of staying inside? This is where biophilic design becomes a key solution. 10


Real Estate

“Biophilic design is derived from the word ‘biophilia’ which essentially means humanity’s innate love of nature and living things.”

Biophilic design is derived from the word “biophilia” which essentially means humanity’s innate love of nature and living things. Biophilic design is a concept for bringing our connection with the environment into architecture, including in homes, offices, hospitals, and other buildings. The three major categories of biophilic design are Nature in the Space, Nature of the Space, and Natural Analogues. Nature in the Space means physically bringing nature inside: plants, flowers, trees, and sometimes animals. Nature of the Space includes bringing natural processes inside the space: circadian rhythms (by using lighting patterns that replicate the outdoors), comforting nooks, and intentional open spaces. Natural Analogues are architectural features that mimic nature’s textures, colors, shapes, patterns, and materials. Examples of Natural Analogues include mushroom-shaped pillars, curved ceilings, and stone-shaped chairs. Incorporating nature through each of these 3 categories creates a cohesive biophilic design. You might be wondering: “why is this important?” Why do you need more greenery in your house or office? Bringing nature inside has many positive consequences. Biophilic design can improve one’s physical and mental health, bring sustainability to the forefront, and even be financially beneficial. So, pull up a chair (or mossy log), and let’s talk about the benefits of biophilic design. Physical Health Other than the more evident physical advantages to spending time around nature, there are other lessknown reasons that biophilic design can improve your overall physical health. Trees, especially, can have healing effects on our heart rate and stress levels. Researchers have already found this through the success of a practice called “Shirin-yoku” or forest-bathing. “Shirin-yoku is the ancient Japanese practice of restorative walks through natural settings, most often forests.” Including trees in interior design has similar positive effects as forest-bathing because trees produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) called phytoncides. While some VOCs are pollutants, phytoncides are proven to have several positive effects on humans. A study conducted by Italian researchers found that “inhaling forest VOCs

like limonene and pinene can result in useful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the airways.” A Japanese study found positive health benefits of phytoncides as well. Human participants, between the ages of 37 and 60, stayed at an urban hotel where phytoncides were produced by a humidifier to test the effects on human NK (Natural Killer) cell activity. Higher levels of NK cells are beneficial to the human body because they kill tumor cells. At the end of the study, it was found that phytoncide exposure increases the percentage of NK cells and cell activity in the body.

Mental Health The main ways in which biophilic design can improve your mental health are by affecting your stress levels, attention span, and anxiety, depression, and ADHD symptoms. Part of these positive results are due to phytoncides. The aforementioned Japanese study found, “Phytoncide exposure decreased the scores for tension/anxiety, depression, anger/ hostility, fatigue, and confusion in the POMS test; however, there was a significant decrease only in the score of fatigue.” The POMS mentioned here is the “Profile of Mood States” test which was used to research the mood changes of each participant before, during, and after their hotel stay. Similarly, a Malaysian study during COVID-19 testing anxiety, stress, and depression levels after nature exercise (15 participants) and nature therapy (15 participants) found that nature therapy was more successful in reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Nature therapy can be practiced in a biophilic design environment, as in this study it was tested in areas of urban greenery.

How does biophilic design factor in? By bringing trees inside a building, the amount of phytoncides increases. In addition to the health benefits already mentioned, biophilic design can also help improve quality of sleep and strengthen the immune system. According to three different studies (two from 2018 and one from 2017), spending time in nature boosts the immune system. The physical benefits of being around nature inspired a hotel in Singapore to embrace biophilic design. The Khoo Teck Puat Hospital has sixteen gardens, including one which grows organic fruits In her TED Talk titled “Prescribing Nature for and vegetables for the patients, and seven hunHealth,” pediatrician Nooshin Razami states, dred species of native plants on the premises. “After 15-20 minutes walking through trees, you After surveying patients, staff, and visitors of the will have a longer attention span, you can solve hospital, over 80% of respondents said hospitals more complicated cognitive tests and puzzles. should incorporate greenery and natural eleAfter 3 days, the prefrontal cortex relaxes – it ments. While biophilic design has “...over 80% of respondents resets – and that’s when you have impressive physical health beneyour most creative and productive said hospitals should fits, the positive impact it has on incorporate greenery and time.” In other words, if you spend mental health is equally notable. 12

natural elements.”


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“...if you spend just would be especially beneficial in office just 3 days immersing yourself in the forest, your mind becomes more relaxed 3 days immersing and hospital settings. and productive. A 2019 study conduct- yourself in the fored at Harvard University used VR office est, your mind be- Sustainability settings to test physiological stress and comes more relaxed It likely will not surprise you that bioanxiety levels in 100 participants. The and productive.” philic design is more sustainable than subjects were exposed to a “stressor” its non-biophilic counterparts. Biophilic design and then allowed to virtually explore one of four can help address some of the UN General Asoffice environments. One of these office envisembly’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. ronments was non-biophilic; the other three had various aspects of biophilic design. One was For example, the SDG Goal #7 is Affordable and Clean Energy or to “decrease energy consumptitled “indoor green” and featured plant life on the floor and walls. Another was titled “outdoor tion.” Through the implementation of natural lighting, therefore decreasing the use of electriciview” and included a long-distance natural view ty, biophilic design can help with this goal. Some of trees, water, and grass. The last was titled “combination” and included both an outdoor biophilic design elements even benefit more than one of the Sustainable Development Goals. An view and plant life inside the room. The researchers concluded: “Generally, biophilic environments article reviewing biophilic design contributions to sustainability explains: “the proper use of had larger restorative impacts than non-biophilic environments in terms of reducing physiological indigenous natural material cannot only reduce construction costs to reduce poverty (Goal 1) but stress and psychological anxiety level.” These also contribute to the recycling of materials for results indicate that biophilic design is an effective tool in combating stress and anxiety, which more responsible consumption (Goal 12).” While 14


the impact of biophilic design on UN Sustainable Development Goals needs to be researched more, the potential is evident. The use of water in biophilic designs is an area that can especially foster sustainable architecture. Waterscapes such as fountains, constructed wetlands, water walls, rainwater spouts, and more could be built around the physical space. These waterscapes could be used either to generate energy (hydropower) or the water could be recycled and reused. Through the use of water, the building itself can become self-sustaining or what the International Living Future Institute calls a “living building.” Part of the Institute’s definition of a living building is one which is “self-sufficient and remain(s) within the resource limits of their site.” This can be achieved through recycled water as well as other forms of renewable energy and self-sustaining features. Economic Considerations While this area of biophilic design is less studied than the others, a sustainability consulting firm called Terrapin Bright Green has published a report called “The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing with Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense.” The report delineates how incorporating biophilic design can be financially viable even in disparate areas such as hospital recoveries, crime rates, childhood development, and small business sales. The study uses what the researchers define as “indirect measures of

productivity,” examples of which include staff retention, hours worked, absenteeism and tardiness. For example, let’s take a deeper look at absenteeism. Terrapin Bright Green claims, “Biophilic changes made to a workplace can reduce absenteeism over a long period of time, reduce complaints that drain human resource productivity, and help retain employees over many years.” However, even just adding views of nature can make a difference. At a University of Oregon administrative office building where 30% of the offices overlook trees, 31% overlook urban scenes, and 39% have no outside view at all, a survey found that the office view made a significant difference. Employees with natural views took approximately 57 hours of sick leave per year, while employees with no view took about 68 hours of sick leave per year. The employees self-reported similar conclusions: “When asked to rate scenes according to their preference, the building’s occupants heavily favored the vegetated views over the urban views, and either view over none at all.” Considering the financial losses that accompany absenteeism, changing the office window views would be economically beneficial for the company. Employee productivity with and without biophilic design has also been measured. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District Call Center found that the number of calls taken per hour by workers with views of vegetation was much greater than those by workers who did not have a view of nature. In fact, employees with natural views handled calls 6-7% faster than their colleagues without outdoor views. Once the company rearranged their workplace accordingly, profit margins grew. The results were that “the annual 16 |


productivity savings averaged $2,990 per employee.” This brought increased profits, demonstrating the financial gains of adding biophilic design to the building. Due to these studies and more, the Terrapin Bright Green report concludes, “...biophilic elements show productivity increases among staff when provided with nature in the workplace with economic benefits ranging from $1,000 per employee to $3.6 million company wide.” The financial investment pays off, making a strong case for increasing natural light and biophilic design in the workplace. Conclusion With compelling benefits in financial growth, sustainable development, physical health, and mental health, biophilic design paints a picture of a brighter, healthier world. While these studies have limitations, more research is required, and biophilic design will not create a utopia by itself, the range of possibilities is inspiring. With hospitals that relax patients and strengthen the immune system, offices that increase productivity, and homes which alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, biophilic design could be an answer which can improve Quality of Life and foster sustainability. Implementing biophilic design does not need to be done as a grand gesture; you can start with small steps. Next time you pass your local plant store or are thinking about redecorating your house, consider this: nature could be your new roommate.


Keys to Successful Collaboration Each person enters a collaboration with their own bucketful of expectations of what a successful outcome looks like. The most important first step to achieving that successful outcome is having a clearly defined answer to the question “why?” When you examine the why that fuels the outcome of any collaboration, it will help you crystallize how badly you want it. You know what you want, why you want it and the effort and energy you’re willing to expend to get it. You are motivated to let yourself be vulnerable and step outside of your comfort zone by trusting your collaborators. You seek to understand the other person’s point of view, the contributions they bring to the table, and the potential synergistic results of one plus one equaling three or four or more.

Teamwork is at the core of any successful collaboration. Bring together people with diverse experience (both business and personal), personality types, skill sets, and points of view. Diversity will help you see something from a slightly different perspective. It’s important to leave ego at the door and focus on the goal instead of seeking recognition. Establish targets from the outset. Define what you’d like to accomplish, even if today’s meeting only gets you partway there. I’ve sat on the board of directors for charities that were much more like social clubs, and nothing was accomplished. Establish set targets whereby you can see tangible progress. Everyone’s time and expertise are valuable and should be respected.

“Diversity will help you see something from a slightly different perspective.” One successful collaboration I’ve been involved in is NAWRB’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). Accomplished women from across the real estate ecosphere put together 10 leadership principles, and then decided to expand our list to an even dozen so we could



collaborate on Facebook Live. Collaborating live in public is a giant risk, right? Our risk paid off when through the comments, high school and college students, people from the public and private sectors, people from charities, and businesspeople, came together to share ideas, and it was amazing. Successful collaboration thrives in an environment where you feel trust. This is true in one’s personal life as well as in business. An example of this environment of trust at EXIT occurred during the worst recession since the depression. We didn’t lay off anyone at our corporate head office, instead resolving to out-think and out-sell our way out of the recession. That instilled a feeling of trust in our employees and executives, and they became more willing to take risks; they knew we had their back, and they had our back in return.

“Successful collaboration thrives in an environment where you feel trust.” Then the pandemic hit, and everyone on our team raised their hand to ask how they could help. They rolled up their sleeves, collaborated, and turned out a $50 million dollar stimulus package for our associates in a matter of just a few weeks. Every single department contributed their unique skill set, from EXIT Realty MIND-SET trainers, to marketing, technology, reception, and support. Everyone ramped up their efforts, set aside their own agendas and worked together to support our associates during an uncertain time. Our why was clear; our people needed us, and we had their backs. The magic of collaborating in an environment of trust is having the courage to step out and ask, “What about this instead?” knowing that your contributions will be heard, respected, and considered. It’s knowing you can brainstorm, even if what

you’re saying is one long, run-on sentence because that sentence might trigger another idea in someone else. When ideas build on one another, the group becomes excited about the possibilities. Establish from the outset that this is a safe place and no one’s job is at stake. It has been proven over and over that people want to feel like they’re part of something better and when the group is focused on a successful outcome for the right reasons, everyone wins.

Tami Bonnell Co-Chair of EXIT Realty Corp. International

Erica Courtney

Erica Courtney, in her role of Military Strategist, provides assessments and recommendations to senior military and civilian decision-makers related to national security, develops key policy documents, plans and strategies for a theater of operations. This Combined Force and United Nations Command reflects the mutual commitment of the Republic of Korea and the United States to maintain peace and security.

In late March, Erica took part in an event in which the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls teamed up with the California Women’s Caucus and state leadership to work on a Habitat for Humanity jobsite. Their event was the official conclusion of Habitat’s month-long Women Build project, which brought together over 550 women to build essential affordable housing for single mothers and low-income families. Erica talked about her experience with the event on KFBK Sacramento in early April.

Tami Bonnell

Tami Bonnell, Co-Chair of EXIT Realty Corp. International announced this month that the sub-franchiser rights for locations in Arizona and Utah now fall under the umbrella of EXIT Realty Pacific West. This recent development is part of EXIT Realty’s extensive growth across the US and Canada. They have already expanded to 20 new markets in 2022. In May, Tami spoke at the Women’s Real Estate and Entrepreneurship Event which was sponsored by CTREIA (Connecticut Real Estate Investors Association). She was one of 3 featured speakers sharing expertise about real estate and entrepreneurship.

Tami also writes blogs and shares advice in videos about EXIT Realty Co. International. One recent video captures a conversation between her and EXIT Realty’s Chief Technology Officer, John Packes, discussing EXIT’s People First approach to technology development. In another recent video, Tami speaks about the realtor’s role in affordable housing.

Teresa Palacios Smith

Teresa Palacios Smith, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for HomeServices of America, joined Freddie Mac Single-Family for a LinkedIn Live to talk about mentorship and outreach. She speaks about how to be a strong and compassionate leader and mentor.

In May, Teresa was a Keynote speaker for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) event in Charlotte titled “Developing Strong Culture for Growth and Success.” The event was partly to celebrate NAHREP Charlotte’s 10th anniversary. In addition to her speaking engagements, Teresa continues her “Women Who Lead” series, which is now also a podcast. You can watch and/or listen to on Spotify, Apple, Google, and Facebook or access via and In August, join Teresa and CEO, Gino Blefari of HomeServices of America at NAREB’s Annual 75th convention for a mastermind class. In September, Teresa will be joining CEO, Christy Budnick on stage for a fireside chat during the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Conference in Las Vegas, Sept. 28-30th. Check out our She-Centerfold featuring Teresa Palacios Smith, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for HomeServices of America, to understand what makes her a successful trailblazer, an inspiration, but more importantly what it takes to make the most out of mentoring.

Dr. Chitra Dorai


Dr. Chitra Dorai and her team at Amicus Brain launched a clinical research study - this month about their AI technology that can help caregivers manage challenging behaviors during dementia care and improve their well-being. This is in partnership with the Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases and the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. The study and its data will be useful in demonstrating that support of caregivers with the right tools can lead to extending at-home stay for people living with dementia and improving their quality of life. Please find more details on Page 48 in this magazine. | NAWRB MAGAZINE

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Kellie Aamodt

Kellie Aamodt has been busy these past few months. She is a Voter Registrar for Orange County, the fifth-largest county based on registered voters. She is also active with the Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) group, where she coordinated the MARE Giving Day in May to gain support for maintaining healthy oceans. She also participated in the WISEPlace fundraiser in May. Kellie continues to do independent consulting on supply chain management and e-commerce. She is also preparing for the Legacy Ladies golf fundraiser at the end of June. Last but certainly not least, Kellie has been traveling and enjoying time with her grandchildren!

Desirée Patno

Desirée Patno, CEO of NAWRB & Chairwoman of NDILC, has been busy behind the scenes. In February she spoke at IMN’s Student Housing Conference on investment and strategy opportunities and participated at both DC Finance Houston & Dallas Family Office & High Net Worth Annual Conferences. In March, she participated in New Orleans at Elite Global Leaders Conference – JABOY Productions and presented at both Opal Group’s Real Estate Investment Summit and their ESG & Impact Investment Forum on the impact of opportunity zones and affordable housing investment opportunities.

In April, Desirée was a key speaker at NAHREP MSELA’s Business Strategy & Access to Capital event in Whittier, California. Nancy Obando is President of NAHREP MSELA, SVP of Mountain West Financial & a NAWRB Certified Delegate Spokeswoman. In addition, Desirée became an advisor to Neu Community for consumer funding and insurance facilitating dialog with government agencies. She passionately continues to co-host the weekly series Family Office Coffee Clutch on Clubhouse & Twitter Spaces Series and biweekly “Getting Real About Leadership” series participating in the NDILC’s Twelve Women Leadership Principles on Facebook Live, LinkedIn and YouTube.


The NDILC is dedicated to raising the number of women leaders and growing women's employment and empowerment at all levels in the housing ecosystem. The Council, composed of senior executive women, works diligently towards gender equality and obtaining equality opportunity for women across America.

To learn more about the NDILC, please visit

Who do you know that is a perfect NDILC fit?

NDILC Leadership Principle #2: Keep Achieving hosted by Kellie Aamodt

NDILC Principle #7: Listen hosted by Kellie Aamodt

NDILC Leadership Principle #3: Believe hosted by Teresa Palacios Smith

NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) introduced Ten Women Leadership Principles in 2020, which they collectively created to help women in the workforce become more effective leaders at any stage of their career. When the principles proved successful at not only bringing them closer together but also inspiring others, they adjusted accordingly. By adding 2 leadership principles, the councilwomen were able to have meaningful discussions on a specific principle every month. Each principle teaches a valuable lesson while also smoothly transitioning to the next one. You must first believe in yourself before you can lend a hand to bring others up with you.

#1. Acknowledge Trailblazers Trailblazers: Leadership Lessons from 12 Pioneers Who Beat the Odds and Influenced Millions by Tony Rubleski Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey



#2. Keep Achieving The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard Hamming If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails and Other Lessons I Learned from my Mom by Barbara Corcoran

Watch them all on our YouTube channel:

“Courage is so hard, because it’s about addressing head-on something that’s not working, right? Something that needs to change, something that may be seeded into the culture of your company, that you’re going to challenge … And sometimes it’s not just about saying something. It’s about doing something.” ~Rebecca Steele

#6 Speak Out

“You have to know what you want, why you want it, and how badly you want it. Getting that picture in your mind really does make a difference.” ~ Tami Bonnell “Follow through with your passion, make sure you commit long term and keep going, no matter what derails you. It’s okay to pause for a moment to reset, restructure, recharge. The idea is you’ve got to keep it in the back of your mind and let everyone know you’re still doing it.” ~ Desirée Patno

The NDILC added another exciting new component to their monthly discussions! Every meeting, each member of the NDILC brings a book, movie, or podcast to the discussion that connects to or demonstrates the Leadership Principle in a meaningful way. Adding this element to the meetings gives each councilwoman a chance to share something that resonates with them: a jewel of their personality. We’ve compiled a selection of the books (and 1 podcast) for you to read/listen to yourself. The NDILC members also bring up personal anecdotes and current events to reach innovative solutions using the Leadership Principles as tools. This defining decade is filled with more challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities than ever before. NAWRB’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council is here to pave the path to successful leadership.

#3. Believe Think and Grow Rich

by Napoleon Hill Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield The Art of the Start by Guy Kawaski

#7. Listen You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why it Matters by Kate Murphy The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly Revisionist History Podcast by Malcolm Gladwell | Instagram: @NAWRB | Twitter: @NAWRB Facebook: @NAWRB | LinkedIn: @Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB)




Teresa Palacios Smith In this record-breaking, deeply personal interview, Teresa Palacios Smith, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for HomeServices of America, shares pivotal moments in her childhood, career milestones, and people who inspired her along the way. In her conversation with NAWRB, Teresa reveals memories and insights from her life that she has never shared before. Interview by Desirée Patno

Section 1: Growing Up NAWRB: What was your experience like growing up? Teresa: As I look back there were many life altering events that shaped the person who I am today. As a young child and teen, I faced a great deal of loss, trauma, sorrow, and joy. When I was three years old, my father kidnapped me and my sister Alma from our mother. I remember only seeing her one more time before being sent to Bogotá, Colombia to live with my grandmother and two uncles. We lived in Bogotá for three years without my father and were told that my mom had passed away.

“ When I was three years old, my father kidnapped me and my sister Alma from our mother. ” One of the events leading to my father’s decision to take us happened a year earlier. What happened is something I rarely talk about, but it is forever etched in my memory. I was about two years old and my sister Alma (who is 14 months younger than me) was just beginning to crawl. We had been left alone for hours, and I could not withstand the thirst I felt. I remember not being able to reach the sink by myself and I had to pull up a step stool so that I could turn on the water faucet. Grabbing a glass, I filled it with water and started drinking. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my sister Alma crawling toward me. She grabbed my leg and held her hand up as if to say, “I am thirsty too, please give me some.” So, I leaned down to give her water and as she was about to drink, I thought, “This is glass. My sister’s a baby. Glass can hurt a baby.” So, I signaled

no-no, you are a baby and I put the glass out of her reach onto our breakfast table.I then watched as Alma crawled to the other side of the table where a chair was located. She pulled herself up and climbed onto the chair, climbed from the chair to the table, and then crossed the length to grab the glass. The whole time I watched her in amazement, thinking, “I wouldn’t have thought to do that. She is so smart.” As she grabbed the glass, the water spilled everywhere, and her little hand slipped on it just like you would see in a movie. The glass fell over the side, breaking into a jagged edge. Alma came tumbling after, landing on the sharp glass. It missed her left eye by inches. The next thing I remember is being in what I thought was a firetruck but later I realized was an ambulance, and the fireman handing me a lollipop. Meanwhile, Alma was in the back screaming and fighting for her life. I could only imagine that the reason she was screaming was because the fireman had not given her a lollipop, so I remember trying to share mine with her. The injury to my sister’s face left her disfigured with a terrible scar that would be the cause of many stares, remarks, and questions and that would affect her self-esteem well into her teen years and beyond. As I look back today, I think of that moment and realize that even as a child myself, I took on the role of a caretaker. I also felt responsible for the accident and blamed myself for Alma’s injury and for the events that followed. The sisters Teresa & Alma

The cause of the accident impacted our lives forever, and according to my father, this was the reason he decided to separate from my mother and take us away from her. He was at work when the incident happened, and my mother left us alone, which was not a rare occurrence. He knew he would have to leave and take us away from her so when he found the chance, he took it. I did not see my birth mom again until I was in my thirties when I decided to search for her. Another life-changing event happened during the time we lived in Bogotá, Colombia. We experienced a massive earthquake. It happened early one morning on a blistering cold day. That morning, Alma and I were fast asleep submerged under a pile of wool blankets (most of the homes in Bogotá at the time did not have heaters). Suddenly, I was awoken by the cold hands of my uncle who grabbed me from the bed, ran outside, and put me down on the front pasture outside our home.

Teresa, her sister Alma, and their Grandmother at the Beach

As we looked around, the earthquake had done only minor damage to our home and the homes around us, and while my family was uninjured, there had been some reported deaths in other parts of the city. Power and phone lines were down, and the electricity was out. We couldn’t drink the water and there was little food. A day or two later, I remember somebody came to the door, asking, “Are the American girls here? We are checking on them; we need to know if they are ok.” The people at the door were with the U.S. Embassy and came because my dad, who was in the states, had heard the news about the earthquake and had not been able to get a hold of us. Since the phone lines weren’t working, he didn’t know if we were dead or alive. They brought food and water and made sure we were safe | NAWRB MAGAZINE

Events shape us and a near-death event happened to me and Alma when we were about 7 to 8 years old and visiting in Cartagena, Colombia. My dad and adopted mom, Mercedes, had to go to a government building to get some paperwork completed and since they were not going to be gone long, allowed me and Alma to sit on the beach with the caveat that we were not to move or get into the water. As soon as they enter the building, Alma takes off her shoes and says “I’m going in.” She gets in and starts jumping around. Not wanting to miss out, I take off my shoes and get in the water with her. The water is getting deeper and deeper. The Cartagena waters have a lot of dangerous undertows which is why we were supposed

Teresa, her sister Alma and their Grandmother

Everything was shaking around me and my grandmother was already outside on her knees praying with her rosary beads. Running down the street was the familiar palenquera (a woman who carries bowls of fruit balanced on her head) but instead of the musical tone that I had grown accustomed to hearing from her, she was screaming with fright. I noticed there were things falling all around us. My uncle ran back inside to grab Alma. He threw Alma down next to me and I remember how scared we were as we held on to each other. We saw the ground form cracks next to us and roaches were crawling out. And then, the shaking stopped.


and out of harm. They also brought us Hershey chocolate bars and as a child, there was nothing better. I remember thinking, “It’s so special to be an American.” That feeling is something that to this day I have never forgotten.

Teresa, her sister Alma, and their mother and father

to stay on the shore. As we’re splashing around, the undertow catches Alma. She starts thrashing her arms. I think she’s just playing around, but then I realize she’s drowning. I walk out to try to save her. The undertow catches me now, so we’re both drowning. The next thing I know, out of nowhere, a man grabs both of us by the back of our shirts. He drags us out of the water and onto the shore. Then, he disappears. I don’t know if you believe in angels, but that man had to be one. Someone out of nowhere, picking us up, and saving us. We don’t know where he came from and never saw him again. This event shaped both of us and to this day we are both deeply spiritual and have great respect for the ocean. NAWRB: Which virtues or traits did your parents instill in you? Teresa: From my father, resilience, perseverance, and strong work ethic (my dad was a workhorse.) And most of all, I think resourcefulness. My dad believed if there’s a will, there’s a way: that was his biggest thing. From my mother, Mercedes, who adopted me and Alma, I learned perseverance, resilience, responsibility, and courage. She had a passion for life which I know is a trait she passed down to me. My mother Mercedes had scarlet fever as a child and developed a small hole in her heart which caused a murmur.


Teresa Palacios Smith Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer HomeServices of America and HSF Affiliates, LLC

Climbing with Culture, Heart &Grit

and support she showed me and every one of her When she gave birth to my younger students meant everything. She would tell me how twin sisters, Carmen and Rosa, the strain smart I was, and I soared in her class. It was not of pregnancy caused the hole in her until third grade that I would know how much heart to grow, which would later develop Mrs. Cursive would change my life. That year, I into congestive heart failure. I was only had a teacher who would belittle me, humiliate ten years old when my mother had to me, and show great prejudice and who would have open-heart surgery. My twin sisters eventually fail me in the third grade. Even at a were sent to live with my grandparents young age, I understood the impact of what being in Colombia. My father worked full kept behind my classmates would mean. My dad time and because I was the oldest and was horribly upset when he found out and that had a better command of the English summer instead of playing like other children, I language, I was asked to be my mother’s had to spend the whole summer studying. My dad translator. I went to the hospital every was not an easy person to deal with, but he really day that she was in the ICU to help her knew how to speak up, especially when it came to recover. I still remember all the tubes and his children. At the beginning of the school year, her naked body; I’d never seen my mom he went back to the school and told the principal naked before. I also remember the nurses Her mother Mercedes that he believed I had been discriminated against. saying, “Give your mommy some soup; I remember the principal calling Mrs. Cursive in for a recomshe needs to eat some soup.” I was feeding her instead of her mendation. She did not agree that I should be held back and feeding me. She looked at me with both pain and love as if to offered to re-test me. She was the one who was instrumental say, “I’m so sorry that you have to do this.” That was another in elevating me to the fourth grade. I don’t know if I took any traumatic moment for me and to this day, the memory brings tests, but what I do remember is that in the fourth grade, I me to tears. From that moment on, my mother suffered from made straight A’s. The belief that Mrs. Cursive had in me gave heart problems, and we spent time in and out of many hospime the confidence I needed to succeed. I will never forget her. tals. My mom Mercedes died when I was 18 years old but the positive impact she had on my life is something that lives with me to this day. Mrs. Canterbury NAWRB: Who was the most important influence on you as a Entering the ninth grade was extremechild and why? ly difficult for me. I had signed up for speech because I was extremely shy Teresa: There were so many important people that influenced and hoped it would help me develop me as a child. Obviously, my grandmother Teresa, whom I am confidence. That’s when I met Mrs. Jimmie Canterbury. She named after and with whom we lived for so many years. Yaya, was a young, vibrant, and passionate teacher. I fell in love with my great grandmother who was so loving and would make public speaking and drama and took every course she taught us hot chocolate Colombian style, which is a very different throughout high school. Mrs. Canterbury encouraged and experience. My two uncles who helped raise us when we were inspired me, and from her, I developed the confidence I needed little-- especially my Uncle Freddie. He was such a loving to go on to college. uncle and taught us about music. My aunt Connie, Estella, and Martha who were there for us when my mother Mercedes I still remember my senior year, and as it was customary at the died. And my mother, Mercedes, who was a huge influence end of year, seniors and parents would be invited to participate from the moment she entered our lives. in the senior awards ceremony for academic excellence and achievements. I dreaded going to this event as I knew that I I also must mention two teachers who would forever change would not be receiving an award. The only chance I had was in my life. Mrs. Canterbury’s class, but I knew that Mrs. Canterbury only gave out one award and it was only given to a student who parMrs. Cursive ticipated in after-school plays as an actors. I knew I would not be receiving that award since I was not able to stay after school In second grade, I had a speech/linguistics teacher by the due to work, soccer, or my mother’s doctor appointments. But name of Mrs. Cursive. When I entered kindergarten, I didn’t to my surprise, that year she gave an award called the Overall speak English and by the time I was in second grade I was Speech Award. When she called my name, I was so shocked struggling in reading and language. Mrs. Cursive was a special and excited. I was in awe that I won anything. It was one of ed teacher who was both patient and kind and unlike most the best days of my senior year. I don’t think people realize children who dread being called out to take special classes, I how special teachers are and the significant role they play in a looked forward to every minute that I had with her. The love young person’s life. She really changed my life.



Section 2: Beginning of Career NAWRB: When did you make the decision that real estate was the right path for you? Was it a moment or a more gradual process? Teresa: I became a real estate agent because of what it did for me and my family. We had just moved to Miami from New York and lived in a small apartment. One day, my dad sat me down and told me that we were going to move and that I needed to help my mom look for a home. My mom didn’t speak English, so I needed to help translate. I was about to enter second grade, yet I was translating terms and documents when I couldn’t even write. When we finally closed on the home, I still remember how my dad’s hands trembled when he attempted to unlock the front door; he even dropped the keys before successfully opening it. As Alma and I ran inside screaming with excitement through the entire house which appeared to be a mansion (in reality, it was less than 1000 sq. feet) we noticed my mom going to the kitchen and bursting into tears. My dad also had tears running down his face. I had never seen my dad cry. At the time, I didn’t understand why they were sad. It was only later that I understood that the tears were of joy and pride. I remember thinking how fortunate we were to own a house. I think I eventually became a realtor because of that experience and because it led to another home purchase when we moved to Mississippi. The equity we built in our first home allowed us to buy a larger home there. I wanted others to experience the beauty of homeownership and the opportunity it gave me and our family for a better life. NAWRB: Is there something you struggled with most in the early stages of your career? Teresa: I struggled with balancing my culture and being a working mom. I was taught, especially by my father, to have a submissive personality. And I struggled with having a voice and speaking up. As you can see, I have found my voice and use it to make a difference.

“ I struggled with having a voice and speaking up. As you can see, I found my voice.”

Teresa: My dad had grown up playing soccer in Colombia and soccer was becoming popular in the south, so he decided to start a league in our community. Girls’ soccer wasn’t as popular as it is today so in essence, we were all trailblazers and didn’t even know it. It wasn’t that I decided to play soccer. My dad told each of us, “You’re playing soccer,” and that was just the way it was. I was 15 years old when I started. He was a very controlling father and coach, but playing soccer really ended up helping me. For the very first time in my life, I felt like I was part of a team, accepted and included. Soccer taught me discipline, perseverance, decision making, and leadership. It was an all-girls team, and I was the goalie. I eventually also coached the team. Becoming a referee was a natural progression as our league needed people who knew the game. It was again something that my dad made me do because I could also earn money doing it. I learned so Teresa in the referee uniform many great lessons from being a referee and I also really got to know soccer inside and out. It was empowering and I loved everything about it. NAWRB: What did your time working as Chair Elect and later Chair of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) teach you? Teresa: It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had because it was the first time that I had a chance to lead an organization. Prior to my role at the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), I had been involved with another local organization that had about 500 members and where I had spent five years as a volunteer leading different committees with the goal of becoming President. I had successfully chaired committees that had soared under my leadership, and I was part of the board of directors. I remember sitting down with the president of the organization to discuss what my next role would be. He told me that they valued all that I was doing and how much they appreciated my leadership. I remember telling him that I really wanted to be President and asking if he could advise me on what I needed to do to be considered for the role. I was taken aback when

Section 3: Leadership and Career NAWRB: When did you start playing soccer? When did you start being a soccer referee and how did that role influence you? GHCC Chair with her father

GHCC Award 2007 clipping



he told me that he just didn’t believe I had what it took to lead a group like theirs. I’d led five different committees each of which had received national recognition for Chapter achievements, but I didn’t have what it took to lead a group like theirs? What did this mean? Why was I not good enough? I was totally devastated that a man that I respected told me that I was not good enough to be president. My husband, Mike, was shocked, and my kids were upset seeing the effect this had on me. I will never forget their advice, “Why don’t you join a group that will value you and all that you have to offer? Why don’t you lead a Spanish organization? You’ve got what it takes. Don’t let this person tell you that you are not good enough. You’re way more than good enough.” Their belief in me was inspiring. This was a turning point for me. I joined the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) that same year and began volunteering. Within a year, I was asked to be part of the Board of Directors and by the end of my 2nd year, Sara Gonzalez (CEO) and the rest of the board elected me Chair-Elect. In 2005, I became the Chair of the organization. We had 2,400 members and were becoming the go-to organization as a source for knowledge and connections. Latinos were an emerging market in this country, and everyone wanted to be involved with the GHCC because of the influence this organization had on the community. I’d proven that I had what it took to lead a powerful group. NAWRB: When and why did you join the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)? How did your role as National President impact you? Teresa: I was working for Prudential Georgia Realty at the time and was the Chair Elect for GHCC. Dan Forsman, CEO of Georgia Realty was the first person to introduce me to NAHREP. He had launched a NAHREP Chapter in Gainesville, GA with one of our colleagues but it had failed to get off the ground. Dan was insistent that I get involved with NAHREP because of the potential and opportunity he saw in this organization to impact homeownership. That year (2004) NAHREP was holding a conference in Denver, CO and Dan thought that I should attend. I told him I didn’t have the time. I had small children at home, my work along with my new role at the GHHC was more than I could handle but anyone who knows Dan knows you can’t say no to him. He convinced me to go, and that decision changed the course of my life forever. One conference and I was hooked. NAHREP was something special and I knew it the minute I walked into the conference. Gary Acosta and Ernie Reyes, Jr (co-founders) had created an organization that combined the Latino culture, professional entrepreneurs, and business leaders with the focus on real estate which had always been the missing link for me at the GHCC. At the conference, I met the vice president of Stewart Title in the elevator. We were talking and he told me about two men at the conference who also wanted to start a NAHREP chapter in Atlanta. The week after, Bobby Armes

and James Altamirano came to my office in Atlanta. We sat down and put together a plan to start the chapter. Due to my role at GHCC, I did not become President of the NAHREP Atlanta chapter until 2010. I accepted the role during the NAHREP 2015 Award Ceremony toughest time in our industry. It was right after the real estate market crash of 2008 and many of our members had left the industry. Our membership was comprised of only 24 people (if that many) and half of them were on the board. Juan Martinez, the past president of the NAHREP Vegas chapter and now on NAHREP’s national board volunteered to coach all the chapters. He had successfully turned around the Las Vegas Chapter and it became the #1 chapter in the organization. For me personally, having Juan Martinez coach us was one of the best things that NAHREP ever did. He would conduct a 30-minute call with each of us once or twice a month. I was on every single one Teresa with Jessica, Mike, and Jeffrey of these calls and I did everything he told me to do. Within a six-month period, we turned that chapter around and grew it to 200 members. He only started coaching us six months in, so imagine if I had been there for the entire year. After that, Juan Martinez recommended me to the National Board. And shortly after Ernie Reyes, Jr recommended that I run for President. I remember him saying “Mija, it is your time. If not you, who? If not now, when?”

In 2014, I ran for incoming President and won. What did it change? Everything. Being elevated to this role gave me national exposure and huge opportunities. I was surrounded by some of the brightest and most influential people in the industry and I developed contacts and networks that I still have to this day.

“ In 2014, I ran for incoming President and won. What did it change? Everything.”

First home and swing set

Teresa with her husband and kids

NAWRB: How did you first become involved with HomeServices of America? Teresa: I met Gino Blefari when he had just been named CEO of HSF Affiliates. I recall that it was during a NAHREP Corporate Board of Governors (CBOG) meeting that we were attending when he approached me and asked if I would be interested in helping him build a nationwide diversity and inclusion program across the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Real Living franchise networks. There was no role at the time for DE&I in the organization, but Gino was determined to create one. In 2017, he launched the division and named me Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion and Women in Leadership. In 2019, Gino was elevated to CEO of HomeServices of America and immediately reached out again to let me know he was bringing me up with him. He asked if I would oversee and align all the DE&I efforts across all the HomeServices organizations. Gino has elevated me more than any other person and he continues to promote women and minorities into leadership roles within our organization.

Ya Ya - Great Grandmother

Teresa and her son Jeffrey

Teresa and her daughter Jessica

Palacios Family in Mississippi

Teresa and her husband

NAWRB: What quality was essential for you to bring to the job when you took on your role as Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and how has this role shaped or changed your leadership style? Teresa: I have been a REALTOR® for 25+ years and have experienced firsthand the hard work our agents put in every day. I have also been a part of many multi-cultural organizations which brings a great deal of credibility to my role. As the daughter of immigrants from Colombia along with the fact that I was born in New York but raised in the South, I appreciate different cultures which brings empathy and understanding to my role. I have been bullied, stereotyped, experienced bias, prejudice, and discrimination and have had to overcome adversity. I have been able to share these personal experiences when I speak in the training that I conduct.



Teresa’s Dad and her Sisters

Teresa’s birth mother (Dark Top) holding Alma, next to Teresa (Red Dress)

Teresa and Bernadina, her birth mother

Palacios family moves to Miami

I am passionate about elevating others and offering opportunities to all. As a woman who was told I would never be President, I know how important it is to create those leadership opportunities. That’s why I started Women Who Lead. I think all these things rolled into one made me realize how critical it is to have mentors, to mentor, and really understand that we’ve got to make a difference and change the status quo in order to make the world a better place.

Section 4: Women in Leadership NAWRB: Why did you join the NAWRB Diversity & Inclusion Council (NDILC) and how has the board impacted you? Teresa: I joined the NDILC due to the recommendation by a dear friend, Vanessa Montanez, aka the “DIVA” who was a part of the council. She reached out to see why I wasn’t involved and explained all the great things the organization was doing. She gave NAWRB a glowing review and encouraged me to join and I am so glad I did. We’ve got a really core group in the NDILC; and we’ve all become friends. On the council are talented women in different disciplines and areas. For example, I normally would not interact with Tami Bonnell who is the chair of EXIT Realty, but because of this group, I have been able to mastermind, exchange ideas and learn more about her. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by the caliber of the talent and the intellectual capital in this group. There is nothing more powerful than being surrounded by people smarter and brighter than you. NAWRB: What sparked the idea and creation of your podcast “Women Who Lead”? Teresa: I started “Women Who Lead” a couple years ago when I realized that younger and newer agents were looking for role models and mentorship. I knew that this was important for me growing up as a Latina in Mississippi. As I have shared, my mother was in and out of hospitals due to her heart condition. I was struggling in school and going through a difficult time in my life. One day, I was in the hospital with my mom, and I picked up one of her Spanish magazines. Lynda Carter was being featured in the magazine talking about her role as Wonder Woman. She was my hero, and I loved her show. As I read on, I found out that she too was a Latina like me and faced many of the same issues that I was currently facing growing up. That was an “aha” moment for me. I saw a role model who inspired me, and she too had experienced tough times, that really helped me through some of the toughest moments of my life. Although I didn’t pursue acting or drama in college, the fact that I could see someone who looked like me and that I admired really propelled me to believe in myself. I started “Women Who Lead” because I want to make sure that everyone has the chance to see all the great role models that are part

of the show. Our guests come from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and hold various roles in leadership. They share their experiences, successes, and failures along with their struggles to get to the top. The show inspires me every single week and I hope that it inspires others as well.

Section 5: Fun Personal Questions NAWRB: Who and what motivates you every day? Teresa: I have two incredible kids, Jessica, and Jeffrey, who motivate me. My husband, Mike, motivates me. I have the support of incredible leaders like Gino Blefari and Christie Budnick along with the team of HomeServices employees. Allan Dalton, who has become a close friend, also inspires me with his wisdom and no matter how busy he is, he’s always there. Finally, I would not be here without my parents. The struggles we had growing up and all that my parents sacrificed to provide me and my sisters with a better life motivates me every day.

Teresa and her sisters in Colombian costumes

NAWRB: What is something people don’t usually know about you? Teresa: When I was a young girl, I stuttered. My grandmother told me that my stutter probably stemmed from all the trauma I went through. Sometimes when I get nervous or start speaking fast, it comes out especially when I am speaking Spanish. Also, that I struggle with insecurity and imposter syndrome, which is a common problem for many women. Finally, that I’m a survivor. I’ve been through a great deal of pain and suffering and difficult times in my life and yet I face each day with a positive outlook and with hope of the great things that tomorrow will bring. NAWRB: When did you become the Halloween Queen and why is Halloween so important to you? Teresa: There is no doubt that many of the experiences I had growing up led me to my love for Halloween. I didn’t fit in anywhere and my family was ostracized because we were so different. As a child and adolescent, all I wanted was to be included and to feel like I fit in. Halloween was the only time when it was ok to be different. I could be anyone I wanted to be. I looked forward to Halloween and to this day that still holds true. There was also a house in our neighborhood that always had great Halloween decorations. I always wanted ours to be like that house because they were cool. Our family was not cool. When we went trick-or-treating, the decorated house always gave full-size candy bars. It was where everyone wanted to go. I remember thinking, “When I grow up, I’m going to be that house.” Today, I create that same experience for all to enjoy and I love adding new “monsters” to my collection each year. I also believe that my love of drama and the theatre has really helped me create a fun experience. Every year, I am excited to see the generation of kids who are now adults bringing their kids by because of the fun experience and the memories they had coming to our home on Halloween. As for the “Halloween Queen” title, I think my daughter Jessica has taken over that one, but I was given that title by colleagues at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties. We would do a Halloween event every year and hold a costume contest. Everyone knew that I would dress up and couldn’t wait to see my costume. It became a challenge to see who I was coming as each year.



The Greater REACH of Real Estate Technology by: Ashley Stinton

Second Century Ventures. Future proofing the next century of real estate with the power of innovation. Incepted in 2008, NAR built Second Century Ventures with the foresight to keep REALTORS® on the cutting edge for the next century of real estate. Leveraging the association’s more than 1.5 million members and an unparalleled network of executives, Second Century Ventures helps scale its portfolio companies across the world’s largest industries including real estate, financial services, banking, home services and insurance. SCV seeks to define and deliver the future of the world’s largest industries by acting as a catalyst for new technologies, new opportunities, and new talent. As a part of NAR’s Strategic Business, Innovation and Technology (SBIT) group, Second Century Ventures (SCV) serves as NAR’s strategic investment arm. As the most active strategic global real estate technology fund in the world, SCV invests in technologies that are transforming the real estate industry and reinforcing REALTORS®’ essential role to consumers. By investing in new and emerging companies through SCV and REACH, NAR helps these businesses access the industry in a way that is beneficial – rather than disruptive – to its members. Working hand in hand with



the entrepreneurial community, SCV helps hundreds of small businesses, millions of REALTORS® and consumers, and the economy as a whole.

FinTech, PropTech, EverythingTech With consumers becoming increasingly familiar with new technologies and new ways to research, explore, search, shop, buy, manage and maintain life’s biggest assets, REALTORS® need knowledge and access to the innovation that a new era of consumers demands. SCV evaluates companies across the residential and commercial sectors that support every stage of the real estate transaction and adjacent industries including title, escrow, mortgage, insurance, and home services. Within the SCV and REACH portfolios, more than two dozen companies have formed unique partnerships. Most recently Letus (formerly RentMoola) and Trust Stamp partnered to transform rental accessibility and risk management with secure screening and financial tools backed by leading biometric identity verification and data protection solutions. “This partnership highlights the growing impact of intersectionality between

sectors throughout the entire real estate ecosystem. Technology built in adjacent industries, verticals, or geographies will continue to drive efficiency and advancement across the property industry, which is the core of what our global Second Century Ventures and REACH portfolios seek to serve,” shared SCV Managing Partner Dave Garland.

Fueling Innovation SCV operates the award-winning REACH scale-up program which helps technology companies achieve exponential growth in the real estate vertical and parallel markets. Rooted in a passion for accelerating real estate through people and technology, the highly curated and bespoke REACH program provides:

· Mentorship from real estate, mortgage, venture capital and technology sector leaders · Education on how to navigate the trillion-dollar global property industry from top experts · Exclusive opportunities at the most impactful conferences, trade shows and networking events · Unique access to top media and academic organizations · A global network of highly talented, like-minded entrepreneurs, including more than 180 REACH portfolio companies and curated program sponsors.


Notable examples of SCV and REACH portfolio companies that have had a profound and lasting impact within and beyond the industry include DocuSign, Notarize, BombBomb, Curbio, Landis, Knock, Occupier, Otso, and Dealius. These companies, and many more in the portfolio, have paved new paths across the real estate ecosystem bringing revolutionary new ideas in e-signature, remote online notarization, video marketing, pre-sale renovation, credit readiness, and next generation models in financing, lease accounting, and risk management. REACH companies have been named to more than 100 technology ranking and/or award programs including Inc 5000’s Fasting Growing Companies, HousingWire’s RE Tech100 and the T3 Sixty Tech500. On average, 600k members use products and services from SCV and REACH companies on an annual basis, representing a savings of more than $60M. The REACH Program has been named among the top accelerators in the U.S. by MIT’s Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. REACH expanded its program in 2019 to offer an additional cohort for the U.S. market, REACH Commercial, which is dedicated to advancing technologies that impact all aspects of the commercial marketplace and allow REALTORS® the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with platforms that could radically change how we buy, lease, work, and live in commercial properties.

Technology Knows No Borders In 2019, the REACH program also went global, expanding its scope with its launch of REACH Australia, and continued expansion in 2020 with the launch of REACH Canada and REACH UK programs. REACH now operates 5 scale-up programs across 3 continents (REACH, REACH Commercial, REACH Australia, REACH Canada, and REACH UK). Through NAR’s 100 bilateral agreements in 85 coun-

tries, global REACH programs have garnered the support of international partners like Propertymark. “We’re excited to be working with REACH UK to help accelerate their growth to drive digital innovations in the industry. Early engagement with these exciting companies will help members of Propertymark navigate the world of technology as it develops and give them early exposure to some of the best-in-class tech solutions,” commented Propertymark CEO Nathan Emerson at the 2022 REACH UK launch. Expanding to the Commercial market as well as overseas allows SCV and REACH to develop a thriving new marketplace of ideas and further enhance their networks of industry professionals, strategic partners, investors, and mentors.

In This Together Industry collaboration is central to the thesis of NAR, SCV and REACH. To that end, NAR and SCV have established pivotal relationships and strategic initiatives throughout the worldwide real estate ecosystem. Notably: - Second Century Ventures is a member of Oxford’s Future of Real Estate Initiative alongside 20 esteemed industry partners who convene to share and discuss perspectives - NAR and SCV are proud to work with AARP to support the AgeTech Initiative, a community-driven platform to support and scale solutions addressing the needs of the 50+ market. Through the platform, AgeTech startups can connect with industry leaders, businesses, investors, and pilot opportunities to generate big ideas and further ongoing ventures. - SCV and REACH also work closely with global organizations like AWS, Google, and Dentons to deliver critical industry insight and services for the real estate tech startup community. - NAR is also working across the technology sphere with major tech brands like Google and Verizon to



discover the impact of emerging technologies like 5G and cryptocurrency.

More Than a Fund SCV is highly engaged with a global community focused on technology’s impact on delivering sustainable solutions for the built world. SCV frequently leverages NAR’s Sustainability group, which recently published its latest report on REALTORS® & Sustainability. Most recently, the REACH team’s expertise has been featured across numerous top real estate and built world symposiums and has fueled the development of a program dedicated to supporting sustainable technology startups. In February of 2022, SCV partnered with CREtech to launch the Affordable Housing Technology Initiative which seeks to raise awareness and explore technology’s role in helping solve the affordable housing crisis. SCV has also supported the Food Recovery Network, an organization that helps fight food waste and hunger in America, as food insecurity is directly linked to affordable housing concerns. A jarring 8 million households lack adequate food supply – those households are 62% more likely to experience housing instability. With the support of organizations like NAR and SCV, the Food Recovery Network has provided over 5.7 million meals to date. SCV is also passionate about supporting underrepresented candidates across the real estate, technology and venture capital industries. Just over 30% of the founders within the SCV and REACH portfolio are female, an astonishing figure for the technology sector. SCV is proud to support organizations like Women in PropTech (WIPT), WomanUp, and Chicago Blend, who seek to build and support diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities.

Ashley Stinton, Head of Marketing, Second Century Ventures & REACH

Biden Housing Sup


White House Housing Supply Action Plan: With home and rental prices increasing at an unprecedented rate and supply falling short of demand, the Biden Administration has created a plan to build more affordable housing and close the housing supply gap within the next 5 years. His plan includes incentives for land use and zoning reform, programs rewarding states and communities for implementing new affordable housing units, preserving multifamily rental units, and more. The outlined steps include immediate actions and longer-term plans, including an initiative where real estate-owned properties are first made available only to owner-occupants and non-profit organizations for a 30-day period.

Reward jurisdictions that have reformed zoning and landuse policies with higher scores in certain federal grant processes, for the first time at scale.



If you are working on any of the activities, contact us at! We have some products and services in development. Leveraging and sharing resources is the way to make it happen.

President Biden’s plan will be unprecedented because there are now bonuses and incentives for regular people to buy and sell, rather than the projects being run by large companies. By lowering the bar of entry into affordable housing, this plan potentially changes the game for the lower and middle classes of America. This is partly because of his focus on financing non-traditional homes including manufactured housing, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), 2–4-unit properties, and multifamily buildings.

Supporting production and availability of manufactured housing.

Deploy new mechanisms preserve mo where finan currentl

pply Action Plan


sing the housing supply gap within the next 5 years

However, one concern necessary to address is the role of infrastructure surrounding the new homes being built. Is new affordable housing still productive if there is low access to water, food (especially grocery stores), and healthcare where it’s being built? The infrastructure must support the new affordable housing, especially in the rural single-family construction that Biden mentions. Without easy access to grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and schools, will the new housing do more harm than good? In addition, if too many people are housed in one place, the risk of congestion could cause animosity between neighbors. Biden’s plan leads to questions about how and where the affordable housing will be built because, without strategic placement, food deserts could be created. Food insecurity affects millions of Americans every year. In 2019-2020, the National Health Interview Survey found that 10% of children between the ages of 0 and 17 years old lived-in households that experienced food insecurity

w financing to build and ore housing ncing gaps ly exist

in the past 30 days. To explore the possibilities and limitations of Biden’s plan, food insecurity considerations must be taken into account. Biden’s “Actions to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs” are a step in the right direction. With the typical renter household paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing (see last issue’s article “Renters in Post-Pandemic America Continue to Struggle”), there is clearly a need for tangible action on the affordable housing issue. While Biden’s plan is a promising beginning, it is essential for additional steps to be taken as we ask questions about how his goals will be realized. If conducted alongside infrastructure growth and proper planning, these actions could improve life for middleand low-income communities across the country.

Provide Housing Supply Fund financing for affordable housing production to develop 500,000 units of housing for low-and moderateincome renters and homebuyers.

Piloting New Financing for Housing Production and Preservation

OPPORTUNITY ZONE PROJECTS: OPTIMIZING BUSINESS AS A FORCE FOR GOOD In our current zeitgeist, merely accumulating wealth via traditional profit motive is no longer adequate to sate the appetite of sophisticated investors— meaningful, measurable impact on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and human Quality of Life (QoL: housing, health, happiness) issues are becoming increasingly significant in evaluation of an endeavor’s overall merit. Increasingly, leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries are considering projects that not only provide appreciable financial returns but also stand to benefit those affected by their undertaking in varying ways by considering not just the single bottom line of prosperity, but also the other components of the Triple Bottom Line paradigm: our planet and its people. Properly employed, Opportunity Zone (OZ) projects are unequivocally the greatest mechanism for accomplishing Triple Bottom Line goals by virtue of the multiplicative benefits offered by skilled utilization of the program’s nuance. Due to the multifarious applicability of the program across nearly all sectors of business and the huge number of currently designated Opportunity Zones across the United States and its territories, projects can be tailored in a bespoke fashion to fulfill virtually any aligned mission and tuned to the preferences of the participants. Beyond this, the geographical limitations of the census tract defined as the OZ can be easily surmounted by virtue of technology and deep understanding of safe harbor provisioning as defined in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 from which the OZ program took form— A fully qualified QOZ operating within safe harbors is fully capable of providing its services or selling its goods globally!



By clearly defining the project’s vision, intelligently structuring, and harmoniously orchestrating both the Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF) designed to empower the undertaking with capital and the underlying Opportunity Zone Business(es) (OZBs) receiving said capital to then carry out the operational aspects of the project, the result is gracefully fluid and fully compliant execution. In the context of ESG and QoL, the OZ program automatically demands that at least one significant factor affecting the community in question is addressed, be it affordable housing, safer neighborhoods (infrastructure), job creation, or vocational training. The project’s inherent altruistic intent often overlaps in meaningful ways which ultimately contribute to efficiency and scale. The results are instruments and enterprises that can be qualified on a Triple Bottom Line basis. If successful, they provide highly tax-incentivized market-rate returns to investors (from deferred and subsequently obviated capital gains taxes from initial sales events in addition to 23.8% long-term capital gains tax savings on original contributions plus earnings at exit), succeed in birthing the entities that engage in business as a force for good to carry out the mission of the fund’s leadership (be they tackling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or any other beneficent passion), and improve real, day-to-day living circumstances for people and their communities at-large. Nowhere in the process is anything sacrificed: the Opportunity Zone program allows for a non-zero-sum strategy resulting from private sector stimulus intended for public benefit. There is an application of the OZ program that is designed to ‘throw society a bone’ at the lowest possible cost to the shareholders, resulting in a cronyist cash-grab with an adverse effect on community health. In stark contrast, consider a scenario where the owners and operators of a fund seek to create opportunities for Affordable, Workforce, and Student Housing (reasonable investments regardless!) In an area rife for economic development and who consider ESG as significant in their allocations [Mixed-use/MF, offering 18% IRR on a ~500 unit build with ~3ac flexible]:

Business Ownership

At each turn, the project would utilize its gains beyond those promised to investors to further empower and enhance its activities for the sake of those affected by its efforts. Whereas traditional endeavors have primarily benefited shareholders, fund owners, and vendors at the expense of others, Opportunity Zone projects carried out in the optimized spirit of the law profit the Triple Bottom Line in the truest sense. It is exciting to consider the prescient needs of the domestic and international community alike knowing that there is a method to achieving our goals by harnessing the remarkable power and passion of professionals working together for better and tuning in to abundance rather than scarcity. We stand at the precipice of a novel paradigm: one that truly considers the well-being of individuals, families, and communities in concert with ecological stability, equability, economic growth, and a new definition of success.

Sage Alexander Mx. Sage Alexander, COZA Principal, Leafwise Ltd. (

Woman/BIPOC/ LGBTQIA+-balanced and appropriately compensated teams on the Fund and Business tiers, offering greater perspective and dynamism in communication and project outcomes

Public-private partnerships to support ongoing economic development in the zone, including infrastructural supports and vocational opportunities

Reinvestiture of project gains into mission-aligned program expansion (more housing built, more access, scaling) in lieu of distributions beyond IRR

Community resource access inbuilt in lieu of traditional/strip-commercial purveyors (green grocer, market, health, banking, social services, education, et al)

Establishment of aligned non-profit(s) to relieve operating business tax liability within the project to further mission goals in and outside the zone




Media as a Medium for Positive Collaboration

When is consuming media productive and when is it a drain of your time and energy? From the news to social media apps like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, our society consumes media on a regular basis. A 2021 Forbes article reported that Americans spent on average more than 1,300 hours on social media last year. As our screen time increases, we find a growing need to examine which forms of media consumption are helpful and which are detracting from our quality of life. At NAWRB, we discovered media strategies which are not only productive to growth, but foster collaboration and an environment of mutual inspiration. Desirée Patno, CEO of NAWRB and Chairwoman of NDILC, is an active user and contributor to discussions on an app called Clubhouse. Through Clubhouse, people from all over the world can meet in an audio-only format to discuss any topic they choose and brainstorm new ideas. On this platform, Desiree is one of the creators and moderators of the Family Office Coffee Clutch Clubhouse group. What makes this group on social media different from a Facebook or LinkedIn group? In addition to the audio-only approach, these groups allow any Clubhouse user who is interested to listen to the group’s discussion. You can also be invited by a moderator/club member to speak on the platform and become a club member yourself. What does this mean? A revolution of inclusivity and collaboration of new ideas and perspectives. Imagine you could find people who match your excitement and passion about your favorite topics. However obscure or niche your favorite topics are, you could find or create a group to share your thoughts on it. Consider a recent Coffee Clutch that Desirée cohosted featuring Mx. Sage Alexander. Sage spoke about affordable housing, ESG investments, and opportunity zones. The ideas and conversation flowed because the goal of Sage’s work on these topics is to improve quality of life for all, especially those who have historically been ignored. His passion shone through which opened the discussion group for others to bring their new, unique points to the table and share his vision for a brighter, more sustainable future. The forum featuring Sage can be listened to afterward on Clubhouse as well.

There are additional ways to use media platforms to spark collaboration and new exchanges between people who wouldn’t cross paths in their day-to-day lives but can learn important insights from each other. NAWRB is using LinkedIn’s new newsletter feature in order to bring articles on a variety of interesting topics to your inbox twice a week. NAWRB Golden Nuggets™ has grown to 450 subscribers in only a couple of months. Our goal is to bring unique stories and NDILC leadership videos to professionals in a range of fields to invite them to ponder something they hadn’t previously considered.

“Consuming social media often can be toxic and addictive, but when wielded with discretion and perspective, beautiful collaborations arise.” NAWRB is leading the movement of sparking these deep connections through social media platforms like Clubhouse, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We believe that bringing diverse groups of people together to share their passion projects and ideas has the potential to bridge industries and change the world.

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Deadline August 26th for 2022 NAWRB Leadership Nominations!

Nominations are open for the exclusive 2022 NAWRB Leadership Awards! The awards honoring fifteen dynamic Executive Women Leaders in the greater Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem whose talent and generosity radiate in everything they do.

2022 NAWRB Symposium Gala, “Women’s Rings of Leadership” on November 17th, 2022, at 7:00 pm, at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Tahoe, California.

Submit today at

| Nonprofit Leader | Board Leader | Family Office Leader | Diversity & Inclusion Leader | STEM Leader | Finance Leader | Women-Owned Business | Consumer Advocate Leader | Corporate Leader | Residential Leader | Commercial Leader | Media Leader | Veteran Leader | Mentor Leader | Government Leader

Aging Population

NeuViCare™ from Amicus Brain Innovations for Dementia Care Reduce Complexity. Improve Quality of Life. Save Time.

Are you a care partner for a person living with dementia interested in participating in research to improve caregiver experience and wellbeing? Amicus Brain Innovations ( is making their NeuViCare™ technology available to eligible caregivers, free of charge for three months as part of a research study that is underway with the School of Nursing and Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Healthcare consumption and dementia care costs are driven up by caregiver burden that is entwined with the challenging behaviors caregivers face from people living with dementia (PLWD). Caregiver burden is the multifaceted load experienced by caregivers that is related to the emotional, physical, social, and financial strain of caregiving. Caregiver burden is a prelude to multiple adverse outcomes for both caregivers and care recipients: caregivers who experience high burden report worse mental health and quality of life, provide lower quality of care, and are more likely to disengage from care. Studies have shown that increasing mastery and caregiving competence can inversely affect caregiver burden, anxiety, and depression. Studies have also shown that mastery and competence can be improved by education. Given the many barriers to accessing education that caregivers badly need while handling tough situations, we remove this barrier



by providing AI-powered based education that is delivered by an AI-application called NeuViCare™ developed by Amicus Brain. This will also allow us to understand the impact of education on improving caregivers’ mastery and competence in managing common challenging behaviors in dementia, along with caregiver burden, anxiety, and depression. Amicus Brain’s CEO, Chitra Dorai started the company in 2018, after her mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. As her mother’s condition became worse, Chitra realized just how heavy a burden caregiving can be on family members. As she encountered challenges one after another as a caregiver, the stress, the burden and the burnout really hit home. She is not alone. She is one of more than 11

million Americans who are caring for people living with dementia. With that visceral understanding of the problems faced by family care partners, both local and remote, Chitra founded Amicus Brain, and set out to build technology that could be used by anyone to make caregiving easier. The company’s NeuViCare™ apps are Artificial Intelligence (AI) based digital advisors

If you are a care partner with a smartphone or tablet and are comfortable using apps, and if you are caring for someone with mild to moderate dementia, you may be eligible to participate in this study and use the NeuViCare™ apps for free. The purpose of this research is to learn how NeuViCare™ may help caregivers get actionable advice just when they need it, gain mastery in handling challenging behaviors, and reduce their isolation and loneliness. Click on to learn more.

and are built to interact with care partners in an easy conversational style in multiple languages. They provide clear, evidence based, practical advice on caring for loved ones throughout disease progression. They help care partners locate the right resources they need with trusted data and timely advice. The NeuViCare™ Community Hub is a safe online space for social support and staying connected even during the most difficult times. Easy to use NeuViCare™ apps provide immediate, reliable and time-saving advice, education and support whenever and wherever you need them, from your smartphone or tablet. Amicus Brain will make available two of its apps, the Care Advisor and the Community Hub to our study participants.

Let technology help in your care journey. It can save you time and make caregiving easier. It can help lighten your stress and improve your well-being.

Care Advisor was developed to be a one-stop place to get high quality answers and caregiving advice at the moment of your need. Among the hardest problems that care partners face is responding to behavioral changes in their loved ones. What do you do if mom screams at night? What do you do if a spouse becomes aggressive? What do you do if your sister tries to slip out of the house and wander the neighborhood? NeuViCare™ Care Advisor is there for you 24/7 to get immediate answers and trusted advice. Care partners also may face feelings of isolation and loneliness. NeuViCare™ Community Hub is a secure, online space for social support and also a practical resource, stocked with articles and videos addressing behavioral symptoms, personality changes and other challenges of dementia care – rich content provided and vetted by cognitive behavioral specialists. It is a safe space, built for people living with dementia and care partners facing the same difficult problems. Caregivers share insights and stories of their journeys, and dementia care specialists provide educational material in discussion boards posts. Community Hub is a way to connect with others who know exactly what you’re going through.



To sign up to be a part of this research study click here:

Dr. Chitra Dorai AI Scientist Founder and CEO Amicus Brain

We’re looking forward to seeing you in the Community Hub!

Quality of Life



“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” These wise words, attributed to Nelson Mandela, have been a guiding principle for women through the ages and continue to ring true today. Women possess the uncanny ability to stare what is impossible in the face, smile, and make it happen. When Dr. Terry Neese received a call from the White House in 2006 to travel to Afghanistan and create a business training program for Afghan women, it felt impossible. She did it anyway. When one year later she was asked to create that same program in Rwanda and bring together Afghan and Rwandan women for an in-person education and mentorship experience in the U.S., it felt impossible. She did it anyway. Sixteen years later, the impossible has become reality as the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), the organization born out of Dr. Neese’s first impossible “yes,” has graduated more than 1,000 women from our PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program.

IEEW’s mission is to educate and empower women around the world economically, socially, and politically. We are doing that through PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS, an educational program targeting female entrepreneurs. PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS comprises four primary components: classroom training, mentorship, leadership development, and paying it forward. The classroom training focuses on a broad range of business topics, including operations, financial management, sales and marketing, and business planning. Each student is given the option to be assigned a mentor, an American business woman or man, who provides additional coaching and support throughout the program. The top students from the classroom training are invited to the US to attend Leadership Development, a program that provides additional classroom learning, coaching, mentorship, and first hand exposure to businesses. Each of these is aimed at enabling women to

own lives, but they are finding ways to pay it forward to other women. All PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS graduates become part of our Alumni Networks in Afghanistan and Rwanda, which provide a space and community for women business owners to build relationships, learn from each other, form partnerships, and work together to make their economies more inclusive. Many graduates have become involved politically, focusing their efforts on developing policies that benefit women business owners. Others find ways to use their voice to advocate for women’s rights. There have been so many positive changes for women in both countries over the past 20 years. And though the situation in Afghanistan since August 2021 has been devastating for women, we still celebrate what they achieved and know they will rise again. We are inspired by these women every single day. They are doing the impossible. They are defying the limits placed on them. They are changing history. And it all started with one impossible “yes.” It takes us all to make a difference. Those of us who have found success have an opportunity to say “yes” to pay it forward. We would love to have you join us in this important work of empowering women, and there are numerous ways to do so. Each year, we seek mentors for our PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program. This creates an opportunity to share professional expertise with another woman and build an incredible relationship with someone from a different country and culture. We also look for sponsors who are willing to financially support our work, as this enables us to reach even more women. For those who don’t have the time or resources, we would love for you to use your voice to share our work with others. If you are interested in learning more or getting connected, please contact Anna Rohwer at grow and scale their own businesses while contributing to their local and national economies. Our PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS graduates have employed an estimated 16,000 other women and men through their businesses. These women are continuing the tradition of saying “yes” to what seems impossible. For example, one of our most recent graduates, Alfa, now owns and manages her own construction business in Kigali, Rwanda. She was told by so many people that construction is a man’s industry and she wouldn’t belong. She did it anyway. Or Afsaneh, who founded an IT company in Kabul, Afghanistan. In a male-dominated field, she wanted to create a company that would cater specifically to women and ensure that women have access to the technical support they need to run their businesses, stay connected to their networks, and thrive personally. Or Judith, who fought in hand-to-hand combat during the Rwandan genocide and not only survived but is now running her own eco-tour company in Rwanda that economically empowers youth. These women have not only created success in their



Anna Rohwer, Director of Global Operations Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

Dementia Caregivers! We take complexity out of your caregiving and make it easier. Amicus Brain Innovations, Inc. is a digital health technology company focused on bringing the power of Artificial Intelligence technology to disrupt care managemement for patients living with neurodegenerative disorders. Our purpose is to democratize access to innovative solutions that reduce caregiver stressors and enable people living with dementia to remain at home longer.

Contact us to find out how our Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology based caregiving support services are reducing caregiver load.

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Reimagining caring for the world’s older population

St. Jude patient Melanie, brain cancer pictured with her mom

Help kids like Melanie get the best care. When Melanie was diagnosed with brain cancer and referred to St. Jude, she wasn’t nervous. She was actually looking forward to treatment — chemotherapy, proton therapy and visits from St. Jude therapy dog Huckleberry — because to Melanie, St. Jude meant getting well again. When you donate to St. Jude, you’re supporting the research hospital with some of the best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80%. And we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

Learn more at ©2021 ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (BRAND-436)

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