Recent studies suggest that placing women
in leadership positions is economically beneficial
to the financial health of a company. For example, Fortune 500 companies with three or more
women on their board of directors experienced
a nearly 50% higher return on investments
over a five-year period. Similarly, Fortune 1000
companies with female CEOs performed three
times better than benchmark S&P 500 companies. Yet, in spite of such success, women make
up less than 6% of the CEOs whose companies
are part of the S&P 500.
While the business world is still just understanding the potential of women in leadership,
there is little doubt that the overall economy
has already noticed the impact of their financial
decision-making. Studies have shown women
make the vast majority of purchase decisions.
As it relates to homeownership, single women
are better at paying their mortgages than
their single, male counterparts. In spite of their
traditionally lower incomes, women continually
pay higher down payments when purchasing a
home. Therefore, industry leaders should not
only support and empower women but also
acknowledge them as a target market.
This October will mark the one-year an-
niversary of MBA’S mPower network. mPower
is an online community designed exclusively for
women in the real estate finance industry, pro-
viding information and celebrating achievements
while creating a powerful women’s forum. What
started as an informal idea has blossomed into
a profound and impactful community. There are
more than 1,000 women who belong to this
exclusive online community; who also attend
high-energy, networking events; communicate
with one another; and gain access to valuable
resources and information. mPower events
allow women to not only grow in leadership
capabilities, but also build a network with other
women in our industry.
But, we cannot do it alone. We need men
who hold leadership positions to advocate
on behalf of women. And, when they do, it is
powerful. Just recently I spoke at an event with
industry CEOs where the majority of attendees
were men. The topic of mPower came up and to
my pleasant surprise, a former MBA chairman,
who is a man, spoke up and stated how crucial
diversity is to our industry. He made a passion-
ate case for taking explicit action to enhance the
role of women in the workplace and to advance
diversity and inclusion overall. Thankfully, he is not
alone. His comments lead to a robust, supportive
dialogue within the room.
We should all remember, men who are se-
nior leaders in our industry probably have wives,
partners, mothers, sisters, and daughters who
may have worked, are currently working, or are
just entering the workplace. On a daily basis, they
serve as role models for how best to promote
inclusiveness and leadership.
Creating a space for women to advance
and providing tools so they can reach their full
potential must be a collective goal of our industry. There are already a number of programs,
like MBA’s mPower, that provide resources for
women to succeed. It is important for men and
women alike to continue championing efforts toward this goal. Together we can foster an environment of equality and ensure that opportunities
exist for all going forward.
Marcia Davies is Chief Operating Officer for the
Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Marcia leads
MBA's networking platform for women in the real
estate finance industry, mPower - MBA Promoting
Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach.
She can be reached at MDavies@mba.org.