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WomanUP!® Live: WaveMaker Takeover w/ Cynthia Adams + Hilary Saunders

Join WaveMakers Barb Betts and Kendyl Young on Friday, 6/2 as they chat with Cynthia Adams, CEO of Pearl Certification, and Hilary Saunders, Co-Founder and Chief Broker Officer at Side.

We are continuing our WaveMaker Takeover as we introduce you to some women you will meet, greet, and connect with at the 2023 WomanUP!® Retreat.

Welcome! Let’s start at the beginning… YOU! Please introduce yourself! Share who you are, where you are, and WHY you love doing what you do!

  1. Cynthia Adams: I’m Cynthia Adams, CEO and Co-Founder of Pearl Certification. I live in Durango, Colorado, which is in the Four Corners area. The reason I live here is because I love the big peaks of the San Juan mountains, butterscotch smell of Ponderosa pines, and clear, fast flowing streams. I’m a nature girl at heart, and this is also why I love my job. Pearl Certification is a mission driven business helping homeowners make upgrades that lead to a more sustainable lifestyle and an increase in their homes’ value.

  2. Hilary Saunders: I’m Hilary Saunders, Co-Founder and Chief Broker Officer at Side. I grew up in Central Oregon and moved back home during 2020 w/ my twin daughters and family. My background has been in real estate in many forms since law school, litigating, brokerage, selling, and I am most excited about what we at Side are providing for other best in class professionals across the country allowing them to build their own businesses and provide exceptional service to their buyers and sellers.

What was your first leadership role?

  1. Hilary This goes all the way back to growing up as a competitive swimmer and leading teams whether they were club or school teams. Being inspirational and always finding a way to engage others to reach their true potential has always been a passion. I sought leadership roles in school and in the community. I firmly believe that providing community and support to those around you lifts everyone up and gives opportunity to those who wouldn’t otherwise find it.

  2. Cynthia Up until I graduated from college, almost every summer my mother’s family would gather in Wisconsin to vacation together. Most of our time was spent at my aunt and uncle’s cottage on a lake or at my grandparents’ house. I’m the oldest of my family’s nine cousin set, so I wouldn’t say I asked for the leadership role nor was I recruited for it. I was literally born into it. My family relied on me to help corral the rest of the kids for chores and activities. I led certain events we cousins would do together, like biking, swimming, and canoeing. If something went wrong or someone got in trouble, often it came back to me for not stepping in or being aware of how others were behaving. So I feel like from a young age I felt a sense of responsibility and caretaking for others. It was my servant-leadership 101 training.

  3. Barb, what about you? Oh wow, I don’t know if I can remember. The earliest I can remember is I was captain of my high school dance team!

  4. Kendyl Young: Barb, aren’t we all leaders when we proactively orchestrate the best real estate experience possible for our clients? I just wanted to put that out there for anyone hiding in a small shell, thinking they are not “ready” for leadership. You are. And, we need you. If the little pool you are in doesn’t want you, find another pool, because, baby- you are worth it and you are powerful! My “pool” didn’t want me, and I wont lie, that wasn’t fun. But, a new pool found me, and now I am a director for both my local and CAR.

What is the life or leadership advice you give most often?

  1. Cynthia Don’t ask for permission or wait for someone to give you the OK to lead. If you feel driven to lead on something, do it. Lead, and you will become a leader.

  2. Hilary Be your authentic self. You don’t have to be a leader for all, you should be a true leader that inspires anyone to be themselves.

  3. Kendyl Embrace Stoic philosophy. The only thing you control is your own actions and reactions. We have more energy and resources to “bring the horse to water” if we stop trying to make it drink!

  4. Kendyl - ask Barb! The more authentic you are the more relatable you are. The more relatable you are the more business you will do. People want to do business with humans and humans aren’t perfect. Always focus on relationships

Tell us about a woman in your life who helped you reach a goal or encouraged you to step into your personal power!

  1. Hilary Growing up in a graduating class of 78, I still retain many friends from grade school and our strong and mightly tribe has grown and morphed over the years, but honestly, anytime I need strength, encouragement or simply a person to listen and understand, they are it.

  2. Cynthia I had a business partner once who saw me hesitating to take on new work which was outside of my explicit training and comfort zone. She thought I had a natural talent for it and really encouraged me not to doubt myself or ability to deliver. I respected and trusted her, so this advice meant a lot to me, and I followed it…ever since.

  3. Barb, what about you? I’ve said this a million times. I have had more men encourage me and prop me up than I have women. I don’t look at it women vs. men. I look at it as humans who have impaired you and encouraged you. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. He keeps me going on hard days. If I had to pick one female who has inspired me most it would be my daughter. She is my encouragement every day to be bigger, better, and to always do what is right and not be afraid to be who I am.

  4. Barb - ask Kendyl: I have been very lucky to have pretty large group of female role models and encouragers. Huge national female leaders in our industry who took the time to talk to me and encouraged me. And, here in California, Leslie Appleton Young was one of my very first female leader crushes. I still find a little hard to believe she knows my name and I get to ask her for advice.

What are you most looking forward to at the retreat?

  1. Cynthia I’m looking forward to the inspiration and comradery I expect I will feel spending a few days with powerful and passionate women professionals.

  2. Hilary Connecting with the strong and inspirational women who are more than willing to share their personal stories and by doing so, I have always found inspiration not only for myself but taken key points of wisdom home and shared out further. I’d also like to invite everyone to come say hi to me at our booth, grab some swag and if you are up for a beach side bash, join us on the 13th at Terrace, I will post the rsvp link on my facebook and insta profile.

  3. Kendyl I have a few really good friends coming from out of state to WomanUp. I can’t wait to squeeze them and dive deep into where they are and how I can support them in their journey.

  4. Kendyl - ask Barb! The people, all the people, this community and network is amazing!

It’s time to share your final words of wisdom. Let’s start with you, Meghan!
  1. Hilary Take time for yourself everyday, even if its simply 5 minutes. Checking in with yourself and listening to what is going on will truly allow you to focus on what needs to be done as well as finding strength to know that you can accomplish anything.

  2. Cynthia Recognize what delights you or makes you curious and wonder-full. Then invite and intentionally bring more of that into your world.

  3. Barb, what about you? Just be you, believe in yourself, and always, always focus on relationships.

  4. Barb - ask Kendyl: No body puts baby in a corner…. Except for baby. Stay curious, stay foolish and never measure yourself with someone elses measuring stick.


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