Facing down the glass ceiling

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Women face unique challenges in the workplace — juggling busy careers, demanding bosses, family, friends, homes and the belief they have to work harder to break glass ceilings can be overwhelming.

“When I was climbing the corporate ladder, I noticed women had to work so much harder for the same opportunities as men,” said Beth Miller-Rowe, branch manager with the Reverse Mortgage Group. “We were still able to achieve and outperform our male counterparts but had to work harder to get there.”

Miller-Rowe has been in the mortgage industry for 37 years, moving from a corporate environment to owning her own business. While she has achieved great success in her career, things weren’t always easy. As a single mother, Miller-Rowe struggled to keep up with her career, kids and pets.

“Trying to keep all of the balls in the air every single day was very hard,” she said. “As a mom, I was absent more than I ever wanted to be, but I had to support my kids financially.”

Miller-Rowe has advice for other women struggling to succeed in their career and find a work-life balance.

“Work hard and it will pay off,” she said. “With really hard work, you can be the one on the stage receiving awards, but you can’t resent having to work hard to get there.”

Even though they are working hard, it’s important for women to take time to do the things they enjoy.

“I travel, garden and enjoy life and things that I once didn’t think I had time for,” she said. “It’s important to take time to smell the roses, and I wish I did more of that earlier.”

The reverse mortgage specialist also believes kindness can lead to success.

“You don’t have to step all over everyone else to get ahead,” she said. “Be kind and accepting to each other and it will come back around like karma.”

Miller-Rowe feels her most rewarding accomplishment has been helping others.

“My biggest achievement is all of the lives I have touched — from my employees, to my clients and their families,” she said. “I receive letters from my clients’ family members thanking me because they never thought they’d see their mom or dad happy again.”

Susan Redgrave, realtor with Dudum Real Estate Group, experienced other challenges when she moved to Brentwood to be closer to her aging mother. She also had to launch a new career and home while caring for her young sons.

“We moved back to a town I had been to twice in my life and knew only one person,” Redgrave said. “I got my real estate license so I could work but still be home with our two young boys.”

Redgrave soon found herself launching branding campaigns to jump-start her career while she cared for her kids and mother, who was at the end stages of dementia. While it wasn’t an easy career path, her hard work paid off.

“Last year, I earned the right to be part of the President’s Club for Dudum Real Estate — one of the highest awards you can get,” she said. “I am most proud of being able to be a mom to two amazing boys who understand the value of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’”

Redgrave’s advice for women wanting to start a new career path is to take advantage of any opportunity they are given and to try new things.

“Just do it and try it out,” she said. “You never know and might end up loving it, or at the very least you know one more thing you don’t like. Life is scary, but it can also be amazing. We just have to push past the fear and put ourselves out there and see what we can do.”

Dudum Real Estate Group is located at 60 Eagle Rock Way, Suite B, in Brentwood. For more information, contact Susan Redgrave at 925-483-3294 or visit www.dudum.com/susan-redgrave.

The Reverse Mortgage Group is located at 3478 Buskirk Ave., Suite 1000, in Pleasant Hill. For more information, contact Beth Miller-Rowe at 925-969-0380 or visit www.yourreverse.com.