Leanne Pilkington

Women's Awards - Blatant Discrimination or an Opportunity to Celebrate Success?

Following her success at the 2019 Real Estate Business Women in Real Estate Awards, Leanne Pilkington reflects on what led her to enter and the criticisms associated with recognising the industry’s best.

Are women’s awards blatant discrimination or an opportunity to celebrate success?

As an incredibly grateful winner of 3 Real Estate Business (REB) Women in Real Estate awards last week, I obviously choose the latter. However, I wasn’t convinced from the outset!

When I received the notification that I had been nominated, I was uncertain about whether or not to participate. Surely we have enough awards in real estate, right?

I discussed it with a range of people. Most of the women I knew were entering and the men, whilst questioning the need, also encouraged me to enter.

But it was when Ewan Morton said to me, “Well, you are a woman, right? Take the advantage!” that I thought to myself that I have always been one to grab opportunities with both hands, and this appeared to be one of those times. After all, in an industry where many of us choose to pay for the right to be considered the “best agent” in our suburb, why not, right?

Momentum Media, the group behind REB, do around 90 events of this type every year. 90! They clearly saw a commercial opportunity and, given the event was a sell out with around 500 people in attendance, it’s unlikely to be a one-off.

The night itself was fabulous (yes, I know, I was a winner) but it really did have a wonderful, supportive feel to it. Most of the finalists knew each other and most of us were incredibly happy no matter who won!

I expected some fall-out on social, but what surprised me was the focus of that fall-out.

There were a number of awards that were unique to this event; awards that celebrated diversity, wellness advocates and mentors. And that was the focus of some of the negativity. Claims that our consumers don’t care about that type of thing.

Let’s be clear, diversity isn’t just around gender. It’s also age, background, experience and beliefs. Without diversity in our people, we struggle to have diversity in our thoughts and actions. And wellness is not about tofu burgers! It is about physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

In a world where men between the ages of 18-44 are more likely to die from suicide than any other cause, and women of the same age are more likely to die at the hand of their intimate partner…if we don’t think that mental wellbeing is an issue in society and in our own industry as a microcosm of society, then we are kidding ourselves!

Instead of focusing on what was wrong with these awards, let’s instead focus on what is right and what we can all learn from the winners.

I for one am looking forward to a time when gender is no longer on the agenda. In the meantime, these women really do have a lot we can all learn from! Let’s help lift them up rather than trying to tear them down.

In case you missed it, here is the list of winners:

Association Professional of the Year
Leanne Pilkington, REINSW

Auctioneer of the Year
Briannan Davis, Cooley Auctions

BDM of the Year – Property Management
Penny Costa, Ray White Oakleigh

Buyer’s Agent of the Year
Amanda Gould, HighSpec Properties

Industry Thought Leader of the Year
Tanja M Jones, TMJ Coaching

Innovator of the Year
Lisa Novak, Novak Properties

Mentor of the Year
Michelle Williams, @home Property Management

Newcomer of the Year
Melinda Jennison, Streamline Property Buyers

Office Administrator of the Year
Nicole Smithard, Laguna Real Estate

Principal of the Year – Metropolitan
Mechlenne Douaihy, Merc Real Estate

Principal of the Year – Regional
Lynne Hayden, LINKS Property

Property Manager of the Year – Metropolitan
Danelle Hunter,Biggin & Scott Knox

Property Manager of the Year – Regional
Tameka Smith, Key2 Property

Residential Mortgage Broker of the Year
Lauren Hall, Loan Market Edge

Rising Star
Hema Ramoo, RAM International

Sales Agent of the Year – Metropolitan
Maria Cassarino, Stone Real Estate Seaforth

Sales Agent of the Year – Regional
Sara Perry, The Property Shop

Sales Campaign of the Year
Mechlenne Douaihy, Merc Real Estate

Young Leader of the Year
Marina Makhlin, Belle Property

Wellness Advocate of the Year – Individual
Tanja M Jones, TMJ Coaching

Diversity Boutique Independent of the Year – 3 or less Offices
Lumby Hampson

Diversity Major Independent of the Year – 4 or more Offices

Diversity Boutique Network of the Year – 39 or less Offices

Diversity Office of the Year – Metropolitan
Noel Jones Camberwell

Diversity Office of the Year – Regional
LJ Hooker Nerang

Wellness Advocate of the Year – Business
Katrina Beohm Real Estate

Women’s Community Program of the Year
Real Women In Real Estate

Leanne Pilkington, REINSW