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Real Women Stories

Amy Smailbegovic: Women’s Empowerment Must Be More Than a Mantra

Written in partnership with Luke Lintz

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Empowering women is women’s fundamental right. Women should possess confidence, self-worth, and freedom to choose the life they want and need. But the world is still far from this level. In many parts of the world, women are paid less in the same working roles and have trouble advancing their careers which is not the case for their male counterparts.

Even though women’s empowerment is no longer a novel concept or an abstract “vogue” idea, and there is a shift that transforms society’s behavior toward women’s role and empowerment, Amy Smailbegovic explains that it’s happening too slowly. The world needs more empowered women who hold power in their hands.

For example, more independent women entrepreneurs will run competitive companies across all industries. Even though more and more women are deciding to pursue the path of entrepreneurship, a recent Women’s Entrepreneurship Report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that only 30,2 percent of women entrepreneurs surveyed expected to hire six or more employees in the next five years.

“Women contribute only 37% of the global GDP, yet they make up half of the world’s population. That is one reason I was always championing women’s empowerment,” she says. “And that will always be my mantra. But it has to be more than that. We can’t just chant ‘Power to the women.’ We must share our knowledge, help, and push each other to be better and stronger.”

With that in mind, she shares her success story so other women can get the strength and motivation to overcome challenges in male-dominated industries and come out on top.

Overcoming Challenges in A Male-Dominated Industry

It’s no secret that women must work twice as hard as men to achieve business success. As a woman, to have a successful career in any industry, there will be times when it’s necessary to fight extra hard for a right to be heard. But, in hindsight, that can also be a valuable advantage for success.

Smailbegovic agrees that women must work twice as hard to make a name for themselves, something she experienced firsthand. Still, she explains that challenges only pushed her to achieve more and that every crossed obstacle paid out in the long run.

“In the long run, women who have been undervalued become more assertive and better equipped to handle the challenges that arise when running a business,” she says. “I am a woman working in a non-traditional industry for women – real estate. Forget about TV shows, where everything’s perfect. Real estate is still male dominated. It’s a battleground that I’ve been fighting on for the past 15 years.”

While Smailbegovic will continue to fight for her and other women indefinitely, she has already achieved significant success. After becoming one of the most profitable time-share managers, Smailbegovic decided to create and lead her team’s expansion into the real estate commercial and residential branches.

As Amy Smailbegovic points out, she is quite proud of her team’s achievements, especially the number of annual sales, which is unprecedented in the industry. “My sales team is made of top agents in the industry,” she says. “With seven to ten agents in my team, we produce between 30 million and 40 million dollars in sales annually.”

The Importance of Planning

Making plans is crucial for success, but as Smailbegovic puts it out, Mike Tyson perfectly summed it up with his quote: “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.”

That’s why the second part of Amy Smailbegovic’s advice is to make a plan and prepare for everything and anything. “For example, I have made a long-term five-year plan. And then, I broke it down into smaller and smaller pieces until I got on a daily level,” she explains. “My daily routine consists of asking myself where I can gain something or where I can start something new. However, the plan is helping me actually to achieve and move toward my goal.”

Step by step and day by day, Amy Smailbegovic and women like her are helping the world and society transition to women’s empowerment. It’s going to be tough for the brave pioneering women to break the system and build a better one in its place. But that’s the only way to achieve that.

Still, Smailbegovic points out that it would be best if more and more women started working actively towards building a better future. No matter how small and meaningless ideas or dreams they believe they have, Smailbegovic says they should act on them because there is no such thing as a small and empty dream.

“Every dream is important. And power comes from your happiness,” she says. “So, get out and chase your dreams. Build your better future because the more hands we have, the faster the change will come.”

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