The annual observance of International Women’s Day, adopted by the United Nations in 1977, was celebrated locally on Wednesday by more than 200 women who work as local real estate professionals.
The Burbank Association of Realtors teamed with the Women’s Council of Realtors of Greater Los Angeles to mark the day that honors and celebrates women for their contributions, hosting a complimentary luncheon at the association’s West Magnolia facility.
The assemblage was welcomed by Marty Del Cid, a realtor with Media West Realty who serves as the president of the Burbank association and the Greater L.A. group, and real estate broker Karol Kochova, a former local association president who is now a director of the California Association of Realtors.
“Karol was the one who initiated this celebration when she was the [Burbank] association’s president,” said Cheritta Smith, who serves as the organization’s chief executive officer. “Her goal for this event was to set aside a day for women of the local real estate community to come together and support one another, which is vitally important in our industry which is so dominated by women.”
Del Cid also lauded Kochova for highlighting the important roles women play in the real estate community.
“She embodies the mission of the Women’s Council of Realtors, which is to advance women as business leaders in the industry and the communities we serve,” said Del Cid. “Our strength is in our network — it is in our members. As we mentor each other, help each other, learn from one another, and celebrate each other’s successes, we each grow stronger. [The Women’s Council] is a safe place for women to step outside of their comfort zone, ask for help and reach out to each other. We believe our greatest resource is each other.”
In recognition of Smith’s embrace of the combined core tenets of the council and the association, Del Cid and Kochova bestowed their Making a Difference award on her for the outstanding dedication, inspiration, motivation and leadership she has shown over the years.
Along with Smith, other notables in attendance at Wednesday’s luncheon were members of the Women’s Council leadership team composed of President-Elect Shahnaz Kafader, First Vice President Sofia Sedrakian, Treasurer Melody Nazarian, membership director Gurmeet Kaur and local event director Emily Yaghobian.
While International Women’s Day focuses on the women’s rights movement by bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, violence and abuse against women, this year the theme was “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”
Acknowledging the numerous contributions women have made to the digital world, from the earliest days of computing to today’s age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, this year’s theme recognized a persistent gender gap in digital access that has kept women from reaching their full potential.
While women have made great strides in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, they are still underrepresented in education that integrates the four subjects into a cohesive, interdisciplinary and applied learning approach through real-world application and teaching methods, according to speakers at the luncheon.
That’s why this year’s International Women’s Day asked that everyone call upon local, state and federal officials, activists and the private sector to make the digital world, including tech design and governance, more inclusive, equitable, empowering and safer for women in all careers.
Established in 1922, the Burbank Association of Realtors is a professional trade organization representing Realtors and affiliate members engaged in real estate business.
David Laurell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.
First published in the March 11 print issue of the Burbank Leader.