The relocation industry, which has long been dominated by men, is witnessing a remarkable shift as women make significant strides in this field. From managing corporate relationships to facilitating residential moves, women bring a fresh perspective to this industry (and the results are transformative for the people and projects they support)!
Their unique problem-solving skills, empathetic approach, and diverse insights are reshaping the relocation process. I wanted to seize the opportunity to shine the spotlight on a few (among many) women changemakers in our organization, to share their experiences within the relocation industry and highlight their contributions, challenges, and strategies for success.
Teresa Clay, a stand-out Client Services Manager at Movers International, sheds light on her journey and motivation to transition from Relocation Counselor to her current role:
I had to overcome my fear of leading a group of people. Being on the forefront, as a counselor, you only answer for your desk. But as a manager, you have a group of people relying on you for guidance and support. You're responsible for teaching and training them on everything they need to know, so if something happens, it falls back on you. In short, the stakes are higher, but I’ve always enjoyed helping my colleagues, and ultimately, this is what pushed me to seize the opportunity.Teresa Clay
Teresa’s journey wasn’t without its challenges. Upon applying for her current leadership role, she found herself in competition with other male applicants. What may have been discouraging and an excuse to give up, Teresa channeled into a determination to push forward (and this paid off in a big way). In a surprising twist, Teresa discovered that a male candidate and competitor, after being informed she was a top choice, also recommended her for the job in the end. She reveals, “Overcoming my own mental battles – like self-doubt and concerns about being perceived as incapable — was probably the biggest struggle I had to deal with.” Teresa’s experience highlights the importance of pushing past any initial setbacks and persevering toward one’s goals. You may be surprised to discover the cheerleaders who have been in your corner all along.
Madison Schroeder, a rising star in the industry as a Strategy Pricing & Quality Analyst, notes, “Being available to clients and agents can go a long way in fostering trust.” She underlines the significance of communication and responsiveness in establishing and building trust with clients, particularly in helping them navigate challenges.
The mobility industry can be a very high-stress environment. Sometimes it isn’t about the situation itself, but the trust lies in knowing that you have a good relationship with someone you feel comfortable reaching out to at any time. That’s what puts people at ease and furthers their trust in you in the future. Being an “expert” in your role is critical when establishing trust, but also being able to say “you know, I am not quite sure on that subject; can I do some further research and get back to you?" also earns trust because it shows that you aren’t just telling them things that they want to hear, but that you genuinely want them to have the correct information to guide them in any situation.Madison Schroeder
At the heart of exceptional service – and trusting relationships — is authenticity and empathy. We’re humans supporting humans, and while we may not always have the answer to every query, it’s about being there to listen and doing everything we can to source a solution.
In my conversations with women across our organization, the value of support networks and mentorship programs were often identified as two pivotal factors in the success of women within the relocation industry.
Support networks, most notably, are valuable platforms for fostering a culture of diversity and inclusivity. They serve as safe spaces for open dialogue and the sharing of ideas, helping to foster environments where everyone feels valued and understood.
Teresa is also one of the leaders of the DEI program for the Weichert Inclusion Alliance colleague network; this position has complemented her role as a manager.
I not only teach, but provide a safe place for others to speak and express themselves, and this dialogue helps me to continue to learn about others.Teresa Clay
As well as focusing in on the experiences of different races, ethnicities, and cultures through this colleague network, the group also addresses the challenges faced by women and single mothers in the industry. Her efforts ensure that everyone feels included and empowered. Everyone is shaped differently, and these unique experiences mean we all have something different to bring to the table. Being open to discussing issues and challenges, and understanding different backgrounds is so critical to fostering an inclusive environment where everyone’s perspective is valued.
Madison reflects on her experience with supportive managers who have stepped in to serve as mentors: “Mentoring programs, especially mentoring with senior women, has been a great step towards furthering my career, and I’m grateful to work for an organization that helps facilitate these connections.” She emphasizes the value of establishing relationships with women who have achieved senior positions, providing insights into their career journeys, and sharing their successes and challenges.
Honestly, I have been very lucky with all of the managers that I have had since starting my career. Even when I wasn’t looking to change roles, every manager has encouraged and gently guided me toward opportunities to further my career. When I was in the Business Process Reporting Analyst role, Lisa Prather always thought of me when she saw different job postings and would suggest that I not only apply to them but would recommend me as well…even if it meant losing me as a member of her team. Tom Grohmann was influential in my transition to Reporting, and later to my current role of Strategic Pricing & Quality Analyst. He continually supports me and includes me in situations that allow me to gain exposure and knowledge in different areas of the business, which has not only allowed me to grow in my current role but is helping to set me up for future career opportunities.Madison Schroeder
This underscores the value of great leadership in helping to carve out and empower women to seize the opportunities that can bridge the gap between junior and senior roles and ensure greater representation at the top levels of an organization. Madison shares a significant statistic: “A recent Forbes article said that women in senior management roles grew to 32% in 2022, which is the highest number ever recorded.” It’s a great step in the right direction, but it also highlights that we still have far to go. Our work – as women in relocation and advocates of workplace equality – is not done.
As women continue to ascend to leadership roles, offer exceptional service, and overcome industry challenges, they set a new standard for success. These leaders and professionals are driving positive change within the industry, and their accomplishments serve as an inspiration for future generations, fostering a more inclusive and equitable future for the relocation sector.
Stay tuned for more inside insight from Chelsea as she continues her interview series, amplifying the stories of the (many) great changemakers across our organization.