A prominent LA-based figure in the #MeToo movement – and the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit against The Weinstein Company – will be speaking to professional women in Sydney this month about equalising power dynamics, particularly in the male-dominated real estate industry.
Louisette Geiss, one of the first women to publicly come forward against Harvey Weinstein will be a keynote speaker at the REINSW Women in Real Estate conference (WIRE) on 26 March at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The annual event, hosted by the Real Estate Institute of NSW (reinsw.com.au), brings together women across the industry and well-known local and international speakers for a day of professional development and personal inspiration.
Louisette was a working producer, actress, singer and writer for more than 20 years, but left the entertainment industry after her experience with Weinstein. She reinvented herself and moved into social media, before working in title insurance protection and settlement services for home buyers and real estate agents.
Louisette says: "We have a responsibility to empower women and men to work towards ending harassment, particularly in industries where there is a growing gender imbalance. Regardless of whether you are in the real estate industry or entertainment industry, it's incredibly vital that we respect one another and work towards ending the negative power struggle that has been widely accepted. We need to shift away from what women and men have been asked to accept for hundreds of years. I feel strongly that we need to hold each other up and hold each other accountable. Let's create a new reality where both women and men are equally respected and therefore, enjoy a better work environment because of it."
REINSW President Leanne Pilkington says: "We're extremely honoured to have Louisette speak at this year's WIRE conference to discuss this very relevant issue. We can all learn a great deal from Louisette, as a women's rights advocate and champion of change. We are very excited to give Australian women the chance to hear her."
Other speakers at WIRE 2019 include agent and founder of Good Deeds Property Buyers Veronica Morgan, who will present on mastering difficult conversations, and REA branding specialist Imogen Ball, who will talk about overcoming the challenges of a modern-day businesswoman to build your brand. Ewan Morton, co-founder and joint managing director of real estate company Morton, award-winning Belle Property principal Cathy Baker, international leadership influencer and body language expert Dr Louise Mahler, and CEO of Domestic Violence NSW Moo Baulch will also be presenting across a range of topics.
Each year, the WIRE conference attracts more than 300 professionals working across real estate sales, property management, commercial real estate, auctioneering, buyers' agency and agency services.
WIRE 2019 will be held on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 at the Art Gallery of NSW from 7.15am. For further information, visit www.reinsw.com.au/wire1
Question: What is the Women in Real Estate conference?
Freye Lowery: The Women in Real Estate conference (WIRE) is one of the real estate industry's key events for professional development. Held annually in March, the event brings together women (and men) from across the country, and the world, to engage, inspire and empower women to take their careers to the next level.
Notable past WIRE speakers include:
• Leigh Sales
• Louisette Geiss
• Em Rusciano
• Mia Freedman
• Alisa Camplin
• Leanne Pilkington
Veronica Morgan is co-host of Foxtel's Location Location Location Australia & Relocation Relocation Australia, principal of Good Deeds Property Buyers, co-founder of Home Buyer Academy and co-host of The Elephant in the Room property podcast. She is a Licensed Real Estate Agent, Buyers Agent and Qualified Investment Property Advisor.
Question: How does it feel to be speaking alongside Louisette Geiss?
Veronica Morgan: I'm honoured to be included in the line up of amazing speakers and I'm looking forward to hearing Louisette Geiss's story. Not just about her incredible courage in leading the #metoo charge but how she has transformed herself into a top real estate professional. I hope I'm not taking liberties in expecting her to say that she finds it more rewarding than a career in acting. Maybe that's just my own bias kicking in...
Question: Can you tell us about your talk at WIRE 2019?
Veronica Morgan: I'm going to share my own learning and discovery around mastering difficult conversations, along with some practical tips for making them easier. In real estate, no matter which area we work in, we regularly handle difficult conversations. Discussions around property can be highly emotive and when you add money to the mix, there's always the potential for anxiety on both sides. This is particularly relevant now that the Sydney property market is in the downward part of the cycle. When this happens, these tough conversations increase in volume and intensity. I'll be delving into three aspects of conversations: intentions, reactions and admissions and I have a tomato sauce analogy that I hope will increase the memory recall of the audience!
Question: Why is this topic especially important, for women?
Veronica Morgan: Women in particular like to be liked and this can sit uncomfortably when we need to deliver bad news or some tough love. As professionals we need to learn how to overcome our own fears and anxieties in order to provide excellent advice. I might add that I'm certainly not putting myself forward as an expert in this area - I'm a work in progress myself!
Question: Could you share your advice for mastering a difficult conversation?
Veronica Morgan: At the core of everything I'll be talking about is learning to deal with our own feelings before we deal with those of our clients. When we get over ourselves and learn that it's all about them, not us, we can experience a freedom that allows us to be so much more effective.
Interview by Brooke Hunter