MReport September 2018

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Page 24 of 91

TH E M R EP O RT | 23 COVER STORY T he days are long gone when women were trying to break into the workforce. Now, they have their sights set higher—whether on the C-suite or launching women-owned compa- nies. The housing industry has been no exception to this movement, so this month, MReport spoke with several women industry leaders to discuss their views on the changing industry, the challenges they've faced during their careers, and the ways they have learned to over- come them on personal and professional levels. As we near the end of the sec- ond decade of this new century, we take a look back on what has influenced the progression of women in the business world, and the actionable steps we can take to continue the progression of equality in our society. Debora Aydelotte is COO of Credit Risk Solutions, a provider of outsourced origination and due-diligence services. She told MReport that Dr. Derald Sue, a Columbia University psychology professor, cataloged a taxonomy of microaggressions exerted against female employees. Those microag - gressions include what are termed "microinvalidations"—acts endemic in an environment that work to exclude or ignore individuals' or groups' contributions. "Dr. Sue's research found that microinvalidations can potentially be the most damaging type of dis - crimination because they directly and deceptively undermine and dismiss the individual's self-worth and value," Aydelotte said. "These microinvalidations can be con - scious or unconscious." According to Dr. Sue's research, microinvalidations range from interrupting women who are speaking during meetings to more egregious acts, such as women being passed over for promotions despite demonstrating every bit of the competency and professional - ism of their male colleagues. "Another issue is the myth of meritocracy," Aydelotte said. "We want to believe that everyone has an equal chance of success. But if it were true, why is there so little diversity at the higher levels of companies?" asked Aydelotte. Forward-thinking companies aren't waiting for changes in the culture to seep into the busi - ness arena—they are aggressively pursuing ways to efficiently and effectively integrate and empower their female employees. Some of the ways compa - nies are working to tackle these problems include: 1) diversity and inclusion assessments; 2) em- ployee/business resource groups; 3) formal and informal mentoring, career development, and recogni- tion programs; 4) review process- es that encourage vocalization of professional needs, including pay equity; 5) support of expanded in- dustry and community participa- tion among women, including at conferences, summits, and other events; and 6) the broadcasting of women employees' achieve - ments. (See MReport's Women in Housing Leadership Awards final- ists, profiled on pages 39-51.) Lori Eshoo, President and CEO of National Tax Search, LLC, says that her organization strives to By Dru Murray With reporting by Kristina Brewer

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