“I’m a big believer that there women have every opportunity available to them,” she told Real Estate Business.
“We just got to get better at talking about our successes and we also have to get better at asking for the promotions".
Ms Smiles said the flexibility of the real estate industry made it even more of an attractive career path for women.
“You can own your own business either on your own or in a partnership. It creates a lot more opportunity than other industries."
Despite being one of the few women in senior management positions in real estate, Ms Smiles said it has not been a challenge for her.
“It certainly creates interesting situations from time to time and I think sometimes you have to have a certain personality to achieve an outcome and it’s such a fine line to being said ‘yeah that was a firm and fair outcome’ to being ‘oh she’s being very hardnosed’.”
“Women do walk a very fine line and we have to be quite good at balancing that.”
Ms Smiles’ success in balancing her responsibilities as a businesswoman, single mother and philanthropist was recognised this week when she was named one of the 20 finalists for the 2013 Telstra Victorian Business Women's Awards, which rewards the achievements of business women across the country. She is also one of the six women to be shortlisted for the Private and Corporate Sector Award.
“I’m very excited and very humbled and very honoured because not often do you get an opportunity to enter an award like this,” Ms Smiles said.
For the mother of two, being a finalist was not so much about women in business but being able to represent the real estate community in a prestigious award.
“It’s an industry representation that hasn’t occurred at that level before and I’m really pleased that I have the opportunity to do that," she said.
“If you have a look at the other finalists and the businesses that they’re from and what it suggests to me is that we’re doing all the right things in business to compete in a high corporate level at an equal basis.
Winners of the 2013 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Tuesday October 15 in Melbourne. Victorian winners will proveed to the national finals in Melbourne on Thursday November 14.
Read more on Ms Smiles’ reflections on being a businesswoman.