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Listing Bits: Katie Smithson, W+R Studios’ Director of MLS Services, talks about being a professional woman in real estate tech

by Greg Robertson on October 27th, 2017

Katie Smithson picks her battles. Even well-meaning colleagues occasionally make insulting or offensive comments, and a professional woman has to decide what she can brush off and what she simply cannot accept. Though the lines can be blurry, nine years in the industry have taught Katie how to establish boundaries and present herself as a professional.

Katie grew up in Franklin, Tennessee, and went to school at Tennessee Technological University. Discouraged by the boys’ club that was electrical engineering, she changed her plans and pursued a degree in marketing. Her first foray into sales and customer service was at a Sprint/Nextel store back in Franklin, where she saw the first MLS searches on a Blackberry. After a move to Knoxville, Katie worked in marketing for a local mortgage company that happened to use CRS Data for tax purposes. Tired of spending her days in a cubicle, she noticed an opening for a trainer at CRS. Katie won them over and secured her first job in real estate. After four years working with agents, realtors and MLS execs to implement the use of CRS products, Katie had a conversation with Greg in a lobby bar at CMLS Boston, and the rest is history.

She has worked at W+R Studios for five years, serving as Director of MLS Services since 2016. Today she shares the details of her activism through the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute, the challenges for women in the real estate industry, and her advice around establishing professional boundaries.

What’s Discussed:

Why Katie gave up on electrical engineering to pursue a marketing degree
Katie’s early sales and customer service experience at Sprint/Nextel
How Katie got involved with the real estate industry
Katie’s role as Director of MLS Services at W+R Studios
The shift from training to sales
Katie’s work with the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute
– Issues affecting women, children
– Get in front of legislators
The challenges for women in the real estate industry
How Katie establishes boundaries as a professional woman
The complications of alcohol as part of industry culture
How Katie’s reputation in the industry has improved her experience with sexism

Katie’s advice for women coming up in the industry
– Keep your head on straight
– Maintain professionalism
– Have a buddy

The challenge of dressing appropriately for women in a business environment
Katie’s recommendations around resources for sales executives


CRS Data

Arianna Huffington on Repeating Outfits

‘The Rock’ Test for Sexual Harassment

Inc. Magazine

Connect with Katie Smithson:

W+R Studios

Georgia Women’s Policy Institute

Katie on LinkedIn

From → Listing Bits, Podcast

  1. Cindy Miller permalink

    Thanks, Katy! We need to discuss this topic more – I do not ever want my male colleagues to feel uncomfortable or afraid to throw a compliment or even a somewhat inappropriate joke my way. When we talk about sexual harassment and sexual assault – it is about power and aggression (harassment; assault), not about sex. #metoo

  2. Katie permalink

    Hi Cindy! You are absolutely right…I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s wrong to give a compliment, but sometimes there is a tone that is aggressive or demeaning. I don’t think I did a good job of conveying that message or really getting into the issue of sexual harassment and assault. I think Greg should do a follow up with a panel of women instead of just hearing my voice. What say you, Greg?

  3. Sounds great. Someone else suggested that as well.

  4. Cindy Miller permalink

    I think you did a great job conveying the message! I do fear the media often gives a voice to those that get offended by every little comment. As you pointed out, it is often the delivery and context, not necessarily the words, that make it an uncomfortable situation.

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