Women Trailblazers of Real Estate – Then & Now

March is dedicated to looking back at Women’s History and the powerful role that women have played in the success of our nation’s workforce. Today we look back at the trailblazers of the past and present who have positively impacted the Real Estate Industry and their local communities.


Women have played an intricate part in the development and succession of the real estate field since its inception in the 1790’s. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the large real estate boards dropped their gender discriminatory laws, thus giving women full access to create their own business and sell to their own clients while being backed by the same resources as the men in their field. The industry has come a long way since diminishing male-biased laws. Over 60 years later, women account for more than 67% of REALTOR®s

Past Real Estate Trail Blazers

Ebby Halliday, better known as the “First Lady of Real Estate” was a forward-thinking entrepreneur who developed her sales skills selling hats at her own boutique. Soon after she found interest in real estate and applied her skills to the Dallas residential Real Estate in the late 1930s. Then the the industry was mostly dominated by men. This didn’t break her stride as she became one of the top sellers in the market. Her success continues to blossom even after her passing in 2015, with her firm still serving the Dallas DMA.

Corrine Simpson was the first female member of the National Association of Realtors. According to the NAR’s History of Women in Real Estate, the association first started in 1908 with its membership being entirely male, despite 3,000 women working as brokers nationally. Corrine was the one to break the glass ceiling for women and mold what is the NAR today.


Dorcas Helfant would become the first female president of NAR in 1992. At the age of 45 she was also one of the youngest people to serve as president at that point in history. During her presidency she pushed for tax reforms that would stimulate and strengthen the then-struggling housing market. She led the stride in NARs internal structural change, including new strategic planning and budgeting processes, and emphasized the importance of REALTOR® involvement in the political landscape.

Today’s Real Estate Trail Blazers – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Edition

Christy Budnick was the first female CEO of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Franchise Network. When the CEO of BHHS of America, Gino Blefari selected Christy, he said his decision was based upon her “exceptional skills, brokerage experience, industry-wide respect and remarkable leadership”. When she began this journey in 2021 Christy stated in an interview with RISMedia: “I am unabashedly proud to join the ever-growing number of women CEOs, both within the real estate industry who lead franchises and brokerages, as well as all women who make invaluable contributions to the workplace.”

Emily Clark, President of Robert Paul Properties leads one of the top brokerages in MA, alongside Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Commonwealth. Clark had been with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Robert Paul Properties since 2017 as their General Sales Manager. During this time the brokerage added over 40 new agents and saw a 65% increase in sales volume for the Boston and Greater Boston Areas. Now as president she continues to grow the company’s success as she oversees planning and implementation of the strategic initiatives. She is known by her peers for her dynamic and innovative approach and her high-level residential real-estate expertise.

Kelly Marie, the General Sales Manager of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Robert Paul Properties has worked in some of the top brokerages in Massachusetts helping agents grow their business. Marie oversees 17 offices and 200 agents across the South Coast and Cape Cod. She continues to pave the way for future women in the industry by holding positions on the local Board of Realtors, the Women’s Council of Realtors and the MA Board of Realtors Education Committee.

This month and every month of the year, we celebrate our female team members, agents and clients and support their success in their endeavors. Cheers to the next generation of female trailblazers!