What Women’s History Month Means to Us

Outside cover image for Alvarado Real Estate Group's Article What Women's History Month Means to Us

Inside cover image for Alvarado Real Estate Group's Article What Women's History Month Means to Us

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the female excellence right here at the Alvarado Group. We’re proud to be woman owned and a majority woman team, and we’re honored to support and empower women within our industry and community. 

So, join us as we sit down with our team members and learn what Women’s History Month means to them. Our team members also share what they’ve learned from their mentors and role models, and they provide advice to women who are new in their real estate career or who are considering becoming a realtor.



Photo of Alvarado Real Estate Group team member Belinda Thomas for Women's History Month

Belinda Thomas

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month, for me, means celebrating women for being the pillars of households and communities that they are. For so long, women have experienced discrimination and inequality, and yet despite that, we have shaped our country’s history, society, and culture. From historical figures like Rosa Parks to Angela Davis to family figures like my mother, women have defined our communities and our homes, and this month is a time to honor and celebrate that.


What advice would you give to a woman starting her realtor career?

First, you have to create a support system. Real estate demands a lot from you. This career requires dedication and energy, and if you don’t have people around you to support you and carry you, it’s so easy to burnout. Second, you have to get advice from people who know what you’re going through. You need to talk to other realtors and people who have walked this path. Learning from them helps so much, especially when it comes to balancing work life and family life.


Who are your role models or mentors? 

The most influential role model for me is my mom. My mom was a Haitian immigrant that came to the United States to create a better life for herself and family. She was a single mother of 6 who worked as a housekeeper for over 20 years. With only an 8th grade education, my mother accomplished more in her lifetime than I can ever imagine. She was so resilient and determined to give her children more than she ever had. Everyday, she showed me what it meant to be a woman and a beautiful human being. 

Another role model for me is Kirstin, my old supervisor. She was a young woman that took a leap of faith in becoming a young executive director for a growing organization. She broke down many barriers and uplifted everyone around her. She encouraged me to follow my dreams when I spoke about going into real estate. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and always made room at every table we were invited to. And through uplifting me, she taught me how to uplift others. 

And one more role model that I have to shout out is Tiffany Malone…because she’s a total bad ass! Lol.



Photo of Alvarado Real Estate Group team member Nilda Bernier for Women's History Month

Nilda Bernier

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

For me, Women’s History Month means remembering how much women have achieved. Women are powerful people. We always have been and we always will be. And, today, we truly see women shaping our culture. Today, women outnumber men in several industries, and women hold more college degrees than men. In fact, from 1970 to today, the amount of women with a college degree has quadrupled. It’s amazing to see the strides that women have made and are continuing to make. And it’s exciting to think of the strides we will make from today into the future.


What advice would you give to a woman starting her realtor career?

My absolutely essential piece of advice is this: be patient! This industry is hard. Being successful in real estate requires a lot of time and effort. It definitely doesn’t happen instantly or overnight. So, don’t be discouraged if things aren’t moving as fast as you think they should be, and don’t push so hard or so fast that you burnout. Just take a breath, be diligent, and you’ll make it! 

After being patient, here’s an advice checklist that’s helped me:

  • Get your finances in order before making the plunge into being a realtor! 
  • Put the time in and network in any way you can. 
  • Ask for help. Your close inner circle wants to see you succeed, so use them! Whether it’s from your family or friends or from your fellow realtors, don’t be afraid to ask for help! 
  • Take any leads given to you. 
  • And always, always, always communicate in a timely manner!


Who are your role models or mentors? 

The biggest role model and mentor for me is my mom. Sadly, she passed a few years ago, but, long before she passed, she taught me what it means to be a strong, independent woman. She raised three children in Puerto Rico with little to no help from anyone else. She would work multiple shifts to ensure we always had the best education, food on the table, and clean clothes on our back. She never felt sorry for herself and she always accepted responsibility for everything. I will forever be indebted to my mom and I miss her dearly. 

After my mom, another meaningful role model for me is my older brother. He became a father-figure for me when we were young, and he’s always been a positive light in my life. He’s one of the most genuine and kind people I’ve ever met. He always puts others first, and he makes me a better person.



Photo of Alvarado Real Estate Group team member April Johnson for Women's History Month

April Johnson

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

I’m thankful that we have Women’s History Month to celebrate women’s contributions, skills, and accomplishments in society. At the same time, the fact that we have a month dedicated to celebrating women is an indicator that we need a reminder to do so in this day and age. I’m looking forward to a time when we don’t need that reminder.


What advice would you give to a woman starting her realtor career?

Oh my gosh, there’s so much advice I would give! But, I think the most important thing is this. Do not devalue your worth, skills, talents, expertise, and knowledge. No matter if you have experience or not, you have just as much potential as the next person (if not more!)  So, don’t sell yourself short or talk down to yourself. Believe in yourself! So, if you really want to get into real estate and become a realtor, go for it! Because you already have everything you need, you (and the motivation to be great!).


Who are your role models or mentors? 

There’s several people who motivate me. In real estate, Sara Alvarado was my mentor :). 12 years ago, she began coaching and inspiring me to be my authentic self. She encouraged me to do my very best and to always learn, grow, and improve. She helped me see how we’re all individuals and how to appreciate each other’s unique approaches. And she taught me to trust myself and to move my business in the direction that feels right for me. And all these years later with Sara’s advice and encouragement, I have built a successful career where I truly enjoy what I do every day.

I’m also inspired by women who truly follow their dreams and listen to their souls. I especially admire women athletes and adventurers. I admire Amelia Earhart’s rugged adventurism, individuality, and courage to become a pilot and travel around the world. I’m motivated by Simone Biles’s incredible strength, dedication, and bravery to both become an Olympian and to openly share her struggles with mental health. And Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, the insanely talented snowboarder (also an Olympian), inspires me as she keeps defying the boundaries of the sport. 

Growing up, I was lucky to be surrounded by strong female role models like my sister, my mom and my grandma. My Grandma Mary would tell the story of how she nailed shingles up on the roof of her house with her youngest child strapped to her. She was one tough cookie! Both my mom and my older sister constantly encouraged me to be my full self and do what makes me happy. They inspired me to break gender stereotypes and to challenge sexism, and they fully supported me to participate and excel in sports and academics. I’m proud to say they’ve helped me become who I am today.



Photo of Alvarado Real Estate Group team member Tiffany Malone for Women's History Month

Tiffany Malone

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

For me, Women’s History Month means highlighting all women. It’s a time to showcase our strengths, our accomplishments, and our dedication to our jobs, families, and goals. But, it’s also a time to be open about what we face on a day-to-day basis, about the trials and tribulations that we don’t talk about, and about how much work there is still to be done in creating real gender equity in our society.


What advice would you give to a woman starting her realtor career?

I would give these two mottos to a woman starting in real estate. First, “Stay the course.” Starting out, it’s hard to keep pushing ahead, but you have to remember that if it were easy everyone would be doing it. Second, “Empowering people empowers you.” As a realtor, you guide people through one of the largest purchases they’ll ever make and you empower people to move through a huge milestone in their life. Helping people like this brings a fulfillment and empowerment that is hard to put into words.


Who are your role models or mentors? 

One of my role models is definitely Sara and Carlos Alvarado. They share such complementary strengths. They’ve helped show me what true partnership really looks like. One is reserved, level headed, and extremely organized. The other gets it poppin’ quick and is outspoken, energetic, and has an aura that is blinding. Plus, alongside their complementary strengths, they also share the same wonderful, mutual traits. They both are honest. Both are great in regards to business and personal development. Both of them are willing to go above and beyond to help guide you. And just being around both of them makes you feel comfortable and seen. 

Along with all of the above, they inspire me because they know how to pivot when things aren’t working, they’re team players, and they genuinely care about their legacy. All in all, Sara and Carlso are so inspiring! And anyone that has crossed paths with them has been in truly good hands. 

Another role model for me is Ron Lesitkow. He’s the first person who welcomed me with open arms in the real estate industry. He has such a huge heart, he always picks up the phone when you call, and he has always supported me (even if he doesn’t quite agree with my choices). Ron’s inspiring because he started his career from nothing, and from that, he’s built a solid business. And alongside all of that, what I’ve learned from Ron is that, when you save and invest, real estate really can change your life. 

And my biggest role model is Mary Collins (My Mom). She inspires me because she is the strongest woman I’ve ever met.  Her heart is kind, her soul is giving, her presence is soothing. She never complained about work, life, or unfair treatment. She just walked the walk. A mother, a friend, a grandmother. What I learned from my mother is that though I might not have a lot of money, the best clothes, or the greatest situation, as long as I have love from my friends and family, I’m winning. And money can’t buy that.



Photo of Alvarado Real Estate Group team member Sara Alvarado for Women's History Month

Sara Alvarado 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

Women’s History Month, for me, is an opportunity to discuss intersectionality. After first opening the Alvarado Real Estate Group as an independent brokerage in 2008, a community supporter stopped by our office one morning to congratulate us. We chatted a bit and then he asked me if we had applied for any minority owned business grants. I looked up at him and said, “For what? Because I’m a woman or because Carlos is Mexican?” He replied, “Both.” I shook my head, “No” and changed the subject. 

As a white woman, raised by feminist parents, I grew up in the colorblind generation where gender stereotypes shouldn’t get in my way and race wasn’t a topic of conversation. But racism and gender discrimination exist. It took me a while after that conversation to begin exploring intersectionality, and how gender, race, able bodiedness, and class affects each of us and how it affects me. 

Even though I was raised to break through gender barriers I still needed to face the ways in which gender discrimination exists today. Currently the majority of large real estate brokerages are owned by men and the majority of leadership roles in the real estate industry are occupied by men. But, the gender gap in real estate is starting to close. In the past ten years, there has been an increase in brokerages opened by women locally, and I am here for that! 

It was easier for me to examine the sexism within our industry and more challenging to confront the racism. So, yes, on the one hand, as a woman, I have been shaken by condescending and aggressive gender discrimination and misogyny. But, on the other hand, as a white woman, I’ve also experienced unearned success because of my white privilege. I’ve experienced both dis-privilege alongside ample privilege. 

So, for me, Women’s History Month is a reminder that my ancestors are cheering loudly for me to break down barriers and use the privilege and the strength they gave me to address and call out the oppressive systems still in place. That means calling out gender discrimination as well as all forms of discrimination and speaking up for Black rights, immigrant rights, disability rights, LGBTQ+ rights, class rights, and the rights of all those marginalized and oppressed. Yes, women’s history means a lot to me, but intersectionality means even more.


What advice would you give to a woman starting her realtor career?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am more than willing to share my opinions, and with more than 20 years of experience, it’s hard to keep it short so I’ll offer up two important pieces. First, know and like yourself. The more confidence you have in yourself, the more you know who you are and what you believe in, the stronger and more meaningful your career will be. Second, know your ‘why’ well. The more you know about what motivates you and what your true goals are the more fulfilled you’ll be in your career. 

When you know yourself and know your ‘why,’ you will be more discerning about who is teaching and mentoring you and about what models you’re buying into. You’ll also be more empowered to challenge what doesn’t feel right to you and to stand up against inequity and unfairness. This is so important, because, being honest and open, the real estate industry is drenched in capitalism and scarcity. When we look at the history it’s clear, injustice built our entire industry, and it’s our responsibility to undo that wrong. And you can’t take impactful action if you don’t do the self-reflection and inner work required to understand your personal principles, motivations, and intentions.

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