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Take some wisdom with you into 2024 from the last WomanUP! podcast of of the year. Trainer Bernice Ross shares the most important lessons and best advice from top leaders


December 20, 2023

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On the last WomanUP! podcast of the year, top leaders and Wavemakers from WomanUP! shared their most important lessons from 2023, their best advice for navigating the uncertainty facing us in 2024, and shared a bittersweet farewell to Debra Trappen, who, along with Sara Sutachan and Leslie Appleton Young, have shaped the WomanUP! initiative over the past seven years.

Top lessons learned from 2023

2023 was a year packed with challenges, both in terms of business as well as personally. Here are the top 2023 lessons from the WomanUP! community that can serve as guideposts to help you improve your business and your personal life.

Be authentic

  • “The power of women’s networks. Every opportunity to present my work, whether at theaters, conferences, or on Zoom, was the result of my women colleagues. Being part of women’s circles outside of where I typically work (one great example was WomanUP!), has been enormously enriching. Thank you!” — Irma Herrera
  • “This year has flown by and has given me the opportunity to do a ton of introspective work and get to know Renee in ways I have not had a chance in years due to being “busy.” Grateful. Don’t be too busy to take time for yourself … Time flies so enjoy the moment.” — Renee Roque.

Collaboration and connection 

  • “To move forward, we need to prioritize friendship and connection. This takes work (thank you, Sherry Chris). Take the time to reach out and touch the people you care about, the people who may need a kind word. You’ll find out that you need them even more. It’s a win-win. Get over the phobia of making a phone call — they are almost always welcome. You’ll be glad you did.”  Leslie Appleton Young
  • “Not just a 2023 lesson but a life lesson — you are not alone. Everything I do, have done, and have accomplished was because of collaboration. You do not have to go it alone.”  Sara Sutachan

Embrace change 

  • “When something big and exciting is presented to you, Say yes, and then figure out the details. The more saying yes pushes you into discomfort, the bigger the leap in growth.” — Adonae Faris
  • “The biggest lesson I learned is that the only thing consistent is change. The highest form of energy is not love. It’s actually authenticity. Relationships travel at the speed of vulnerabilities. So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, which we’ve learned is so valuable in this community.” — Melissa Sophia
  • “Trust. Trust in myself. Trust in the process. Trust all of my internal nudges. Trust in the evolution and perfection of everything even if I don’t understand it. Trust.” — Pam Blair 

Encourage and empower

  • “Every single person needs to be encouraged. Say it. Recognize them.” — Tami Bonnell
  • “Believe in yourself and be the little light that ignites others.” — Luisa Zepeda

Goal setting and focus

  • “Let go of expectations and preconceptions. Don’t assume you know the outcome or let a limiting belief stop you from taking action. Shoot your shot, and see what happens!” — Adonae Farris
  • “Follow the energy. When you’re on the right path, the doors swing open effortlessly. On the other hand, if you keep bumping into obstacle after obstacle, it’s often a signal it’s time to pursue a different path.” — Bernice Ross
  • “The advice is to stay in your magic. You know what you’re really good at; [focus] on being really good at those things.” — Lane Kostegian
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and to really take a deep look at where you are in your business and your personal life. Figure out if you need help, and if you do, ask for it. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. We’re all stronger and better together.” — Sabrina Brown


  • “WomanUP! has helped me weed out the beliefs that I had about myself that were wrong. It has shown me for the first time in my life that I don’t have to be a man to be a good leader, but a leader of the future.” — Christine George
  • “Debra said it best in her session at Seabird … ‘Let them.’ Whether it be folding towels, or how someone approaches their business, there’s a level of peace in relinquishing the need to control.” — Laine Kostegian

Overcoming challenges

  • “Eyes wide open, confident and poised, capable of doing big things at all times. Stay curious, connected, and compassionately engaged. P.S. Naps are big things, too.”  Cathy Scharetg
  • “When you’re stuck, drained, stressed or pressed, it’s OK to take a step back rather than putting the pressure on yourself to have all the answers, get it all done, or find a way through a problem.”  Dani Vanderboegh
  • “My time remaining is not unlimited, so I spent 2023 trying to determine what I want the remaining time to look like. So my best advice is: Do not be afraid to look at what you are doing and make changes.”  Sandra Miller



  • “When I exercise, I feel sharper and clearer.” — Donelle DuFault
  • “This year was tough for me losing my mother and my mentor within months. So I can honestly say I was in a slight depression. The lesson I learned was to be intentional with everything you do. Intentional with relationships, career and time.” — Parisha Kinsey

Advice for 2024 

2024 will rapidly plunge the real estate industry into a whole new world where listing compensation will probably undergo major changes, and AI will continue to reshape our businesses in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.

Couple that with the ongoing wars and a presidential election year: What can you do to be prepared for what’s ahead in 2024?

Here’s what the top women leaders from WomanUP! had to say:

Create a strong support system 

  • “My advice would be to surround yourself with people who see you, who believe in you, and who lift you up — and do the same for them. My mom told me this when I was a kid, and I never really understood it until I was much older. Always be true to yourself.” — Christine George
  • “Guard and protect your greatness for the people you want to share it with and impact the most.” — Laura Monroe


Empower each other 

  • “1. Take care of yourself. 2. Let’s keep empowering and lift each other up.” — Leslie Rouda Smith
  • “Continue to shine your light! Do not apologize for your success, as it is your blessing that the Lord has gifted you! On the other hand, keep shining to enlighten others along your journey called life.” — Claudia Diaz
  • “Don’t hide your light. Be bold, be confident … and I think I learned that from all of you. When I feel intimidated, I think, ‘No, shine your light.’” — Joanne Bazarian
  • “Continue to shine.” — Luisa Zepeda

Health and well-being

  • “Keep your tribe near and show up as your authentic self every day. You are worth it, and others around will appreciate you for it. Slow down, listen, be present.”  Renee Roque
  • “Slow down and enjoy micro-joys every day because life is short!” — Sara Sutachan
  • “You have to look after your health. There are many ways to look after yourself. I have started, and some of you know this, on a health journey, and I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in my life. As soon as you get off this call, sit down, and create a healthy pathway for yourself; moving forward, we all have to be in this for a long time.”  Sherry Chris



  • “I keep reminding myself, ‘You got this, only always. That is how often things work out. Only always.’” — Cathy Scharetg
  • “When challenges show up, know that they are merely course corrections and what I call ‘crystalline moments.’ Each one provides a gift or opportunity. You may not know what that looks like yet, but if you believe there is a gift, no matter how bad it is, you will be able to move forward and the gift or opportunity will show up.” — Coni Meyers
  • “Look to your own experience and history to see the 30,000-foot-level of what is happening in our industry. Don’t let yourself miss the forest through the trees. And with that vision and steadfastness, you will be a great pillar of strength for your community.” — Hilary Saunders
  • “1. Know what you want. 2. Why you want it. 3. How bad you want it. 4. Who benefits if you succeed?” — Tami Bonnell

Strengthen relationships

  • “Stay connected. Keep in touch with family and friends. Strong relationships are key to happiness and support.” — Donelle DuFault
  • “Seek first to understand: Listen. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right. You aren’t learning anything when you are talking.”  Leslie Appleton Young


Think big 

Tiffany Curry took a stand for what women in leadership need to do in 2024. It begins with “think big.”

Think big as women. We often reduce ourselves to the rooms that we’re in. That has to stop. I think we are in a space and climate of change, where we are moving forward, whether we want to or not. Don’t be afraid. It’s time for us to go ahead and take the bulls and rise to new heights.

This is a new season that we are in. We need to be more transparent. We need to be more; our communities need us, our communities love us. And when I say community, I’m talking about all the people around us, not just in real estate, but the people at home, our family, our friends. We love hard. We deserve to be loved hard back in return. — Tiffany Curry

Saying goodbye to Debra Trappen at WomanUP! on a high note

Debra Trappen wrapped up her final WomanUP! podcast with her lessons and advice in the form of the poem below.


As you wrap up 2023, take time to reflect on what has helped the women leaders above, their recommendations for 2024, and select the two or three that resonate most strongly with you. Next, take immediate steps to determine how you can incorporate this wisdom into your business in 2024. Remember, whether it’s your business or personal life, “Together we’re better.”

Editor’s note: These quotes have been edited for grammar, style and clarity.

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,500 published articles. Learn about her new and experienced agent sales training programs at plus her latest initiative to help women build wealth and secure their financial independence at 

TOPICS: Bernice Ross | Sherry Chris