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Success requires thick skin and good mentors
Barb Esfelds column addresses women as leaders
new deh barb esfeld article art
This page from Fair & Equitable, the International Assessing Officer magazine, features a column by Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld, a well as her photo with other women leaders in the field. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 Ladies Who Lead in the Assessment Industry

BY BARBARA ESFELD

Barton County appraiser

While attending the 2017 IAAO Conference in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to attend several sessions. One of the sessions was a panel discussion given by several empowering women.  This panel consisted of our incoming President Dorothy Jacks, AAS from Florida, Rebecca Malmquist, CAE, SAMA from Minneapolis, Carol Kuehn IAAO Past President from Wisconsin, Amy Vermillion from Iowa, and Amy Rasmussen, RES, AAS, ICAA from Iowa.

This session was particularly interesting to me as changes in our industry are rapidly taking place as the U40’s, a term I learned in Vegas for people who are under 40 (NOT ME), are or will soon be leading the Assessment World.

Effective leaders like to keep in mind the quote: “A Goal Without A Plan Is Just a Wish” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. 

As ladies who lead, we should all seek to obtain strong independent mentors that we can go to for wise advice. Looking back some 20+ years ago some of my mentors were Carol Neighardt who calmed me down by telling me we were not performing brain surgery or Mark Neihaus who was so composed and always willing to help. I realize I had many mentors both male and female that helped along the way. 

Effective leaders are very engaging and know how to lead people where you want them to go. Role models are very important.  Surround yourself with people who lift you up.

Effective leaders realize school is never out. On occasion we find we all must attend the Hokey Pokey Clinic and turn ourselves around. Remember to ask questions and reach outside of your own office for help as needed.

Some women tend to be shy. It is important to be somewhat thick skinned and seize an opportunity when one arises. 

A strength that women do have is the ability to think long term. At times it is helpful to know what the answer should be and work backwards. 

To bring things to a close; one of the most important things you can do is network outside of your office by become involved in your community. It is helpful to belong to service clubs such as Kiwanis, Rotary, and Optimist etc. or donate your time to make a difference. Giving to others is something you will not regret. 

 The writings of Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld have really struck a chord, leaving an impression on her colleagues around Kansas, as well as women around the world.

A column penned by Esfeld first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Appraising the Plains, the publication of the Kansas County Appraisers Association. But, it didn’t stop there.

“I later got a call from the editor of Fair & Equitable (the International Assessing Officer magazine) who wanted to know if they could re-print the article,” Esfeld said. “They reprinted it in the November-December issue. They added a copy of a panel picture (of other women leaders) and included my picture as well.”

The article, entitled “Ladies Who Lead in the Assessment Industry” looked at women’s growing role in the assessment field, but held resonance for women in all lines of work. It was born out of a meeting Esfeld sat in on last fall.

“I attended the International Assessing Officers conference in Las Vegas this past September,” she said. “At the conference one of the classes I attended was called Ladies Who Lead in the Assessment Industry. She found it interesting and wanted to add her thoughts.

“It’s about empowering women,” Esfeld said. 

“Some women tend to be shy,” she wrote in the column. “It is important to be somewhat thick skinned and seize an opportunity when one arises.”

Also, she wrote, “effective leaders like to keep in mind the quote: “A Goal Without A Plan Is Just a Wish” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. As ladies who lead, we should all seek to obtain strong independent mentors that we can go to for wise advice.”

She cited her experiences and how her mentors shaped who she became.

“It was a fun article to write as years ago it was not heard of to have a woman as county appraiser,” she said. “I would say that women who lead are still somewhat of a minority but you can tell by my article that I think we have a lot to offer.”