Forbes has once again placed Keller Williams Realty on its annual list of America’s Best Employers for Women. This is the third year in a row in which Keller Williams has appeared on the list, ranking sixth among 300 multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, REI, and Ulta Beauty. The accolade comes on top of a growing list of notable awards for Keller Williams in 2020, including America’s Best Employers for Diversity, Most Innovative Franchises and 2020 Newsmakers.
Forbes, in partnership with research company Statista, developed the list by surveying 75,000 Americans, including 40,000 women, working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. Respondents, spanning across 300 industries, were asked to share their opinion about their respective employer’s culture, image, opportunities for career development, working conditions, salary and wages and diversity.
Breaking the Mold
At Keller Williams, 50% of the company’s executive team is comprised of women, which is a stark contrast to recent research by Catalyst which found women only made up 26.5% of executive positions in U.S. public companies.
“It is an honor to be recognized among an incredible group as a top employer for women. And, an even greater honor to be in business with powerful women across the globe who are pushing the bounds of tradition to make an immense impact in our industry and world. This recognition shines a light on their work and we are deeply committed to creating an environment that allows them to grow and thrive,” says Ellen Curtis, vice president of operations for Keller Williams Realty International.
Over her 16-year career at Keller Williams, Curtis has championed the company’s models and systems, empowering KW to become the largest real estate franchise by agent count in the world. She has risen the ranks from director of marketing and communications to vice president of operations for KW Worldwide to her role today.
And the trend of women in leadership roles continues: today, 55.1% of franchisee operational leaders in offices across the U.S. are women.
Building the Career of Their Dreams
Karina Loken, co-founder and president of The Loken Group and an owner of the KW Platinum market center, is among this group.
Loken has called Keller Williams her professional home since 2008 and credits the company as the key source of her professional and personal growth in training and leadership. She started as an individual agent and moved into an interim team leader role. Then, in 2011, she and her husband Lance established The Loken Group. In 2019, the group’s 81 members closed over 2,400 units for $627 million in volume. At the KW Platinum market center in Houston, Karina leads the vision and helps agents and leaders achieve their goals. Last year, KW Platinum experienced a 170% increase in agent profit year over year and nearly a 360% increase in profit share year over year.
“I am so blessed being in business with Keller Williams,” she shares. “The opportunities I have had to learn from our KW leaders and participate in Masterminds has proven to be invaluable. I would not be where I am today if I attempted to do it all alone. And the best way to honor those who helped me is to pour it all into our people and help them the same way.”
Like Loken, Jessica Ye and Lisa Joa have been able to amplify their passion and sharpen their business acumen through the models and network the company provides. Keller Williams’ focus on expansion has allowed them to propel their homegrown international business to the next level and expand their horizons beyond measure. Together, with their business partner Jim Park, Ye and Joa co-launched a new expansion team operation, Marquis International, in January.
“Our model is to focus on real estate investments and development opportunities with an emphasis on working with high-net-worth individuals from Asia who want to buy a second luxury home in the U.S., or invest their money in the U.S. real estate market,” says Ye, who founded Keller Williams Realty Cambridge in 2006 and has sold nearly a half a billion dollars of real estate over her 20-year career.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the pair has shifted slightly to focus more on their investments and believe their individual and collective victories have and continue to be made possible because of the strength of the KW network.
“We were introduced to one another at KW’s Family Reunion event in 2018 and have been able to accelerate quickly,” shares Joa. “On top of our traditional real estate business that caters to domestic and international clients, we are growing our personal portfolios and have decided to venture into Huntsville, Alabama. The team leader helped us understand the local market and we plan to move into other areas that offer our investors high ROI. None of this would be possible without the shared language and strong focus on education created by Keller Williams. Because of KW, we’re able to think about various ways to experience success in real estate beyond being a broker. ”
Supporting Women Worldwide
Including the United States, Keller Williams provides entrepreneurship and leadership opportunities to women in 47 regions across the world. Dilara Isci chose KW Turkey for a fresh start and opportunity for a fuller future, she says.
“Keller Williams enabled me to dream big and visualize the big life that I am living today. Five years ago – at the age of 43 – I left a 23-year marriage to start over on my own. I had no prior work experience, yet in my first year at Keller Williams I closed 26 real estate transactions. Last year, I closed over 100 and am the number one agent (with the highest gross revenue) in Turkey.”
Between 2015 and 2019, Isci’s GCI increased by 350%. She attributes her success to the training provided by her market center and KW’s powerful models and systems.
Isci’s newfound career in real estate and fresh start at Keller Williams has also allowed her to fulfill her purpose: being of service to others.
“Keller Williams’ culture of caring, belief system and focus on integrity matches my own, and here, I’m able to achieve my purpose and reach more people than I ever have.”
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