Joana Filgueiras Has Words of Encouragement for Champions of Diversity
While women in residential real estate began outnumbering men in 1978, some female agents still struggle to receive equal pay, achieve leadership positions, and break into more heavily male-dominated sectors, such as commercial real estate. For instance, female agents in commercial real estate made an average of $103,900 per year compared to the average $169,200 their male counterparts earn.
The numbers are even bleaker for women of color. In 2017, more than 75% of senior executive jobs in commercial real estate were held by white men, 14% were held by white women, 1.3% were held by black men, and fewer than 1% were held by nonwhite women. Furthermore, only 2% of 889 surveyed real estate investment management firms were minority-owned, and only 0.07% were women-owned. Women of color are at a double disadvantage, lacking both gender and racial representation throughout the industry and beyond.
Despite these unfortunate figures, the tides are turning. Women and agents of color across the nation are setting sales records, earning advanced licensure, and making waves in real estate. Oregon’s own Joana Filgueiras is one such woman. With 15 years of real estate expertise under her belt, Filgueiras is intimately familiar with being the only woman of color in the room. Fortunately, she hasn’t let that stop her and has created an illustrious career in and around the real estate industry.
Filgueiras is a Brazilian American real estate expert whose dealings span from Miami to Oregon, where she now works at Prosper Portland, a local community development organization. She also touts a number of impressive accolades, including Chairman's Gold, President's Circle, Honor Society, and Top 10 in Real Estate. Filgueiras is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and, just last year, championed a committee aimed at ensuring that women and people of color feel welcome and represented at industry events. As a multilingual woman of color herself, Filgueiras has some welcome words of encouragement for those similarly breaking barriers in commercial real estate and beyond.
Advice for Women of Color in Real Estate
First and foremost, “you are worth it and you belong,” said Filgueiras. “Even when you walk into a room where no one looks like you, or when someone doesn’t understand or corrects your accent.” Real estate truly is for everyone, and you deserve a seat at the table just as much as anyone else.
Filgueiras also recommends finding a strong and supportive community. “Keep on showing up and find allies,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be someone who will become your best friend, but find someone or a few people who you can tag along [with] to events and networking, who are willing to introduce you to others.” After all, there’s strength in numbers! Making connections can be key in breaking barriers.
While you’re in the business of building professional relationships, perhaps consider a real estate agent mentor. The right mentor can become a source of inspiration, information, and confidence for new and experienced agents alike. Growing your career, particularly in the face of adversity, is hard work. The right mentor can provide support, advice, and guidance.
Finally, and most importantly, Filgueiras stresses the importance of perseverance. “No matter what, if it is what you really want, don’t give up. By becoming the representation you struggle to find today, you help create a better future.”
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