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Rita Tayenaka Tells Her Story | WomanUP!® 2019

After reading a Facebook post about “Tell your story” on the WomanUP!® page, I took a deep breath and thought "Why not?!" Next thing I know I was sent a speaker questionnaire asking for pictures of me working and a formal headshot.

This was getting real! I must admit I was excited; I have never been on the big stage before to tell my story! Yikes.

The next step was a conference call with the two other women on the panel along with our esteemed moderator Leslie Appleton-Young. We see her from afar- rocking the economics of the state and SHE was going to moderate the panel- whoop whoop! I was paired with Leslie Rouda Smith- she needs no background search to know what a rockstar she is. I was so honored and humbled to be placed on stage with a woman who will lead at the very tippy top for Realtors! Our National President of NAR 2022. The third panelist was Michi Olsen…. I researched her on Linkedin and found that she had done so much in her storied career. Excitement level raised again!

When I got to WomanUP!®- and opened the program- our session was called Honoring Women Who Led…… All kinds of things went through my mind. The main thought was 'Does this mean we are done?' When it was time to mic up- I was thinking at this point that the morning had been full of heartfelt and wow stories... what was I thinking throwing my name out for this? I fearfully went back behind the massive black curtains and it was an area full of hustle and bustle of getting everyone mic’d, some preparing to be on stage, while others were exiting full of energy after their presentations. Michi and I finally got to meet in person and within minutes she had me in stitches. The woman is a powerhouse with no fear and a little bit of cougar in her. She mentioned the title of our panel, too- she was asking what does that mean, are they saying we are at the end of our career? We had a good laugh. Fear was slowly being replaced by the pre-interview jitters and on we went.

Leslie A-Y was so good at asking us the questions that led to some pretty fun stories and lots of laughs. Leslie RS told of her struggles and having to move associations to get elected local President. Michi told of the struggles in her marriage that led to her strength and talent in Real Estate. There was talk of younger boyfriends, marrying a cowboy, clogs and dolphin shorts…… Maybe not quotable but it was so much fun.

Our time was up quicker than I thought it would be (we were warned by Sara that the time would fly) and we hugged back stage. Looking forward to the fun we will share at future events. What a high- thanks for the opportunity!

My challenge for all is to recognize a woman in your company, association or in the business and reach out to them, recognize their being, their accomplishment whatever it is and make them feel seen! It is a good feeling on both ends.

It was incredible.


PS- And to answer that question floating above? No. We're not done. We led, and we are still leading and growing in so many ways.


Broker owner of a All Women Virtual Real estate company since 2007.

Graduate of NAR leadership academy, I then started an academy for future leaders at local association- now in it's fourth year serving 80 new leaders.

Guide Dog puppy raiser and pet therapy junkie with my labrador retrievers.

Family of all men- husband, two adult boys and male pup.

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