Below is an exceprt from herRochester.com’s article on our Executive Vice President, Karen Leonardi.
At age 33 and with a 7-month old baby at home, Karen Leonardi became the first female CEO of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors. Now 40, she was recently named executive vice president at Nothnagle Realtors, one one of the largest real estate companies in the country.
Leonardi has been with Nothnagle for four years, previously as vice president of corporate and consumer affairs, before her recent promotion.
She oversees internal departments that provide support to the sales staff, which includes marketing, advertising, relocation, and home services.
“I keep everything running behind the scenes,” Leonardi said.
Living in Rochester her entire life, she enjoys the cultural offerings, restaurants, and quality of life here.
Leonardi gives back to the community by participating in Nothangle’s community involvement efforts, and also as president of The Housing Council, which provides foreclosure prevention and other housing-related counseling.
One of the biggest challenges she has overcome in her career was entering and moving up in a male-dominated field. She found herself constantly interacting with board members, business owners, and government officials that were mostly older men.
“It was intimidating because I kept thinking that they saw me as this young girl and inexperienced,” she said.
Leonardi decided to cut her hair short, buy a lot of pants suits, and dye her hair darker all in an attempt to appear older.
It wasn’t until she started meeting with a professional coach that she learned how to truly gain confidence. She said he told her, “What if they’re looking at you and thinking, ‘wow, this young woman really has it together’?”
“I honestly can say that was a pivotal moment for me,” Leonardi said. “I just never looked back and I never felt that intimidation or lack of confidence.”
Her best advice for young women entering the business world is to trust your intuition and find a few key people that will keep you balanced and give you honest and constructive criticism, like a mentor, spouse, or partner.
Read the rest of the article on herRochester.com