03 August 2021

The global R.E.A.L. group, with the support of RE/MAX HQ, is helping women shatter any barriers they may encounter along their career path, regardless of where they are in the world.

The group is bringing the brilliant business minds of female RE/MAX affiliates together to exchange ideas, best practices, and – most importantly – personal stories, in an authentic and judgment-free forum.

R.E.A.L., or “RE/MAX Empowering Ambitious Ladies,” began as a means for women of RE/MAX Europe to network via social media but quickly morphed into something so much bigger – both in practice and in geography. From a private Facebook group to in-person R.E.A.L. events to Zoom calls during the pandemic, the group has expanded beyond Europe and into the global RE/MAX network.

On International Women’s Day, March 8 2021, R.E.A.L. Co-Founder Michelle Goodridge (Senior Executive Administrator for RE/MAX INTEGRA and RE/MAX Europe) gathered a panel of women leaders for a special virtual event. Adopting a theme of “Choose to Challenge,” the event featured four speakers – Fiona Petrie, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the U.S.A. for RE/MAX INTEGRA; Dotti Peñate Sosa, Region Owner of RE/MAX Argentina and Uruguay; Georgina Ramos, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Prima Classe in Italy; and Meni Mancini, Founding Partner, TradeWorks Environmental – who each shared a personal example of a time when they overcame a challenge.

“From challenge comes change,” Goodridge said during the call, which was attended by more than 300 RE/MAX affiliates worldwide. “Collectively, we can help create a more inclusive world.”

Below are stories and words of advice offered during the call…

You can juggle both career & family
Originally from Spain, Peñate Sosa sold everything to move to Argentina and bring RE/MAX to a new part of the world. It wasn’t an easy journey – she says their business almost failed within the first five years. Yet after years of hard work, she and her husband have transformed real estate within the region and contribute to RE/MAX being a leading global brand.

She says that professional women shouldn’t let guilt be a limitation in their lives. Recently, Peñate Sosa was considering leaving the country for a few months to care for her mother, but she was worried about her ability to manage the business from afar. She chose to push through her fear. With a strong support team back home in Argentina, Peñate Sosa says she was able to balance leading the business while still helping her mother.

“Women are amazing – we do so many things, you really can get through anything,” Peñate Sosa said.

Grit and determination pays off
Georgina Ramos recalled the day she opened her wallet and realized she had only 10 euros left to her name. Originally from Mexico, Ramos had moved to Italy for a fresh start. She struggled to find a job without knowing the local language, but giving up was not an option.

Ramos taught herself to cook so she could get a job as a caretaker, which she then leveraged into a job at a restaurant. It was there that she met Andrea Russo, her now-husband and business partner in running RE/MAX Prima Classe. Today, Ramos is committed to using her success to elevate other women.

“I’m driven by the desire to live my life and help other women,” Ramos said. “We need to recognize the beauty within other women and look for the opportunity to lift them up.”

Don’t listen to naysayers
When Mancini became a mother at a young age, there were many, including her traditional immigrant family, who assumed her life would look completely different than it does now.

“In the world I was raised in, being a teen mom was the worst thing you could have done to yourself, for your child’s life and for your family. I was shut out completely with no support,” Mancini said.

But Mancini had a vision for herself that was greater than the perception of others. Through hard work and perseverance, Mancini is now a Founding Partner of TradeWorks Environmental, a company committed to developing, producing and introducing technologies to divert waste from landfills and create access to cleaner waters in communities.

“There is no glass ceiling except for the one you put on yourself,” she said. “You can create and be anything you want in your life. We all have our own version of our stories or challenges that could stop us, but the real story is choosing to challenge ourselves and keep going forward.”

Don’t allow fear to hold you back
Petrie shared her story of becoming the first person in her family to go through a divorce. Once she was free of other’s expectations, Petrie said she was free to pursue a life that she loved.

“We have so many fears that we create that are just in our head,” she said. “I think we just need to get uncomfortable together, figure out what’s holding us back so we can move forward without fear and be fierce,” Petrie said.

Final advice
“Each woman that shared today is quite strong, and we really don’t know how strong we are,” Peñate Sosa said. “Facing your own difficulty and conquering fears might be your future story that helps one person or many when you share it, just like we had the opportunity to do today.”

RE/MAX affiliates can stay up to date on the latest events and news from the R.E.A.L. group by following @remax_r.e.a.l on Instagram or requesting to join the “R.E.A.L. - RE/MAX Empowering Ambitious Ladies” group on Facebook.

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