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We celebrated “Galentine’s Day” with an inspiring conversation about leadership, identifying mentors, and how to celebrate your success.

What’s Galentine’s Day? For those unfamiliar with the show Parks and Rec, it’s a fictional holiday that celebrates sisterhood. Even though the holiday may be made up, there’s nothing phony about the idea of women supporting, celebrating, and encouraging each other.

In honor of Galentine’s Day, Sue Yannaccone, President and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group, spoke with two inspirational leaders who have risen to remarkable success while helping others along the way:

Genius Before Gender

Sue kicked things off with a jarring statistic. Women currently represent nearly 60% of the real estate community. But according to data from LinkedIn, American women are 28% less likely than men to have a strong network. This disparity is unsustainable, and needs to change. As Sue put it, “I have found that women who build a supportive network and have go-to mentors feel more confident and are more equipped to succeed in leadership roles.” Given that real estate is primarily a relationship business, there’s no better forum than What Moves Her® to help address this networking gap.

Sue welcomed Alex Perriello, one of the most important mentors in her career. Throughout his time at the helm of Realogy, he earned a reputation as a nurturer of talent, and a true champion for diversity and inclusivity. He credits his laudable track record to his upbringing, growing up in a household filled with very strong women. Memorably, Alex said, “I always put genius before gender. Could they do the job? Did they understand the mission and vision and purpose of the company?” 

Expanding on that point, he noted that, “It’s not just picking the right people. It’s making sure that they’re in an environment where they’ll have mentors that will help them reach their full potential.”

Description Over Opinion

Sue then welcomed Debra Trappen to discuss what can often be a touchy subject in the workplace: giving and receiving feedback. Sue pointed out that research shows that 20 to 30% of women receive less critical feedback than male counterparts because supervisors are worried about their “emotions and feelings.”

Debra—an entrepreneur, corporate speaker and industry influencer—talked about the importance of mindset for managers before giving critical feedback to a direct report. They should go into the meeting thinking, “Today I am going to empower this person to reach their potential. I’m in there to help them do it better next time.”

Debra also discussed the importance of description over opinion when giving feedback. For example:

  • Opinion: “You did such a great job last week.”
  • Description: “I love the way you were creative about the marketing presentation last week.”

A description uses much more specific language to describe someone’s performance, giving managers the flexibility and freedom to describe a performance in much greater detail.

Memorable quotes

Sue on asking managers for feedback:

“If you’re being managed, ask and say I want feedback. It’s incumbent on the employee to say ‘I want you to tell me when I’m doing things right, and when I’m not.’ That’s the only way I’m going to grow.”

Alex on connecting the right way:

“It’s important to connect with people because every time you connect, you’re learning. But if you just connect and it’s obvious you just want information, they can see it. It has to be a two-way street.

Debra on how a strategic approach to networking:

“Know what you core values are, when you are building that team of mentors.  Think ‘Where do I want to be?’ ‘What do I need to strengthen to get there? ‘Who are the key connections who would be able to mentor me?’ When you walk through it that way, it becomes easier.”

Sue on the importance of asking for help:

“Ask for help if you need it. There’s so much strength and empowerment that comes from asking for help. We all need help.”

 Alex on spotting talent:

“Look for people with passion. You can’t train or teach passion. When you see someone with passion for the business and the desire to do well, that is the first thing you look for.”

 Debra on meeting people at industry events:

“One of the great ways to connect at conferences is to ask about what they love to do, what they do for fun? Have things ready to go “what do you do for fun, what are you working on…come in with a dialogue that’s better than just “What do you do?”

If you missed the full event, watch it on-demand here!

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have a career mentor? Have you ever mentored someone in the business? We’d love to hear from you!

Email us at or share with us on Facebook or LinkedIn – we want to hear your thoughts on mentorship, giving feedback, and tips for networking at industry events.