NC REALTORS® Women in History

May 2018 Insight: Women in History resource header

In March, NC REALTORS® celebrated the fearless women who, throughout our history, shaped the association, their communities and the real estate industry into what they are today. These women are legends in their own right, serving as REALTOR® leaders at the local, state and national levels. They had the courage to stand tall in the face of adversity against disruptors, obstacles, naysayers and non-believers. They advocated on behalf of fellow REALTORS®, homeowners, association staff, the trade and each and every one of you. They tackled sensitive issues with grace, built consensus, motivated the masses and sacrificed personally to do what, in their heart, they believed was the smart move at different times.

NC REALTORS® was thrilled to honor these women throughout the month of March during National Women’s History Month through features, personal story telling and a networking and celebratory lunch with female staff to cap it off. Along the way, we discovered new things about each other that makes each and every one of the honorees unique. We learned what inspires them, the root of their passion for real estate and helping consumers achieve the American dream and what lessons they learned throughout their storied careers. Together, we laughed, shared and committed to actively celebrate the women in our association, lives, networks and industry every day of every month—not just during National Women’s History Month. Enjoy this snapshot of our NC REALTORS® Women in History profiles.


Amy Hedgecock: I am lucky enough to work in a company that my grandfather started. My mother and uncle have both worked here. My greatest accomplishment has been being able to take the reins and run the company. There are different challenges every day, but there is nothing better than being your own boss and putting your ideas in action.

Angala Macy: After 25 years, I feel I’ve grown up in this industry. It has helped me raise my children as a single mother. As hard as it was, to me, that was a huge accomplishment.

Maren Brisson-Kuester: I know the extreme hard work that’s necessary to build your own business from nothing, and the pressures that come from having to support your family both emotionally and financially. The struggles were real, and I’ve had to earn everything I’ve ever gotten through a lot of hard work.

Wendy Harris: So much of my community changes over every few years because of our strong military presence. My father retired at Fort Bragg, and while my experience as an army brat gives me a special understanding of military homeowners and renters, I could not rest my career in real estate on his past military experience. As a REALTOR®, you are constantly at risk of having to re-build your business.


Amy Hedgecock: More than anything, the regulations that are imposed on our industry can be so challenging. It seems that every year there are changes that affect us in either real estate sales or property management. Keeping up with changes—and making sure the agents in my office stay up-to-date—often feels like the bulk of my job. I’m glad that NAR and NC REALTORS® have made it very easy to help advocate for our industry and our members. I try to never miss a call for action. I use the legal hotline regularly, just to make sure I’m keeping on the right path.

Angie Baker: My greatest accomplishment is that I have survived a very tough time for this industry. The recession brought so many challenges to my local area, and I’m happy to say that we have rebounded in the last 18 months.

Brooke Cashion: Expenses for health care as a 1099 employee, lack of professionalism among other REALTORS®/licensees, dissemination of information among a variety of platforms and keeping info up to date and relevant.

Cindy Chandler: Early on, it was being female in a male dominated career (commercial real estate). Later on, it was dealing with the many aspects of real estate and trying to see that all were recognized.

Kim Dawson: The low inventory of the current market. Buyers are frustrated with trying to find a home, having to spend way over list price, thinking sellers are being greedy or not preparing their home for sale and losing money over repairs.

Leigh Brown: Learning to overcome negative back hallway talk. But remember: those who fight change are the ones who need it most.

Lisa York: My greatest challenge was coming into the business at the downturn. However, somehow I made my first sale within the first three months of having my license. As bad as the market seemed then, it gave me the opportunity to build my business to the success it is today.

Lolita Malave: The recession was so difficult. I was dealing with an aging parent, a growing child and no business to speak of to support either. It was a couple of years of reaching back to the basics and rebuilding a business out of the ashes.

Maren Brisson-Kuester:  Feeling legitimized. I’m a young woman from Charlotte, and that hasn’t made things easy. It’s taken over a decade for me to feel like I’m finally taken seriously, and I’ve accomplished that through persistence. I cared too much to give up. I kept my head down and my chin up, ignored the naysayers, put a smile on my face and continued doing what I was doing.

Mary Arey: Overcoming prospective clients’ lack of trust after negative experiences with previous agents and constantly working to improve the public’s perception of REALTORS®.

Stephanie Walker: Serving as NC REALTORS® president during financial restructuring and the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.


Amy Hedgecock: I love being involved in the REALTOR® association because I feel like we take people as they are. Women or men, no matter your origin, we embrace anyone with a passion for this industry and a willingness to improve it. Do we always agree? No, but we debate issues and work together for resolutions. In that way, we are far more progressive than the rest of the world, it seems.

Brooke Cashion: I was lucky to have members in Winston-Salem Regional Association of REALTORS® that were willing to identify my willingness to serve and then mentor me. However, I am sure that is not the case statewide and in every association. I find it challenging at times to know where I belong on the state level. There are a lot of layers, moving parts and overlapping pieces.

Lisa York: My greatest challenge as a member was forcing myself to volunteer for committee positions early in my career. But, I have enjoyed volunteering my time and getting to know our members.

Maren Brisson-Kuester:  I make it my priority to get people engaged and to make people realize that their voice matters. Everyone needs to be engaged. I’m a no one from nowhere, and now our state’s political leaders know who I am and what I think because I got engaged. If I can do it, anyone can!

Wendy Harris: Prior to going through the NC REALTORS® William C. Bass Leadership Academy, I would say my biggest challenge was finding my place within NC REALTORS®. I was involved and wanting to be more involved, but was still struggling with the hows and whys. Th e William C. Bass Leadership Academy changed everything. The relationships I developed have done more for me in a shorter period of time than any other period of my life.


Dorothy June Dinkins was born in Yadkin County and graduated from Yadkinville High School. She went on to receive a B.S. degree from Appalachian State University, M.S. degree from the University of Tennessee and did graduate study at Northwestern. She worked as the Athletic Director of R.J. Reynolds High School for 12 years, then in 1962, she began her career in the real estate industry, forming Twin City Investment Company.

June was very passionate about real estate and dedicated much of her time during her 40 years in the business to mentoring young REALTORS®.

June Dinkins was nominated by NC REALTOR® Lou Baldwin of The Baldwin Companies in Winston-Salem. 

Mary Ann Parrish was born in West End Winston-Salem and graduated from Salem Academy and Salem College. She married Fred Parrish in 1948 and had two daughters before he died of a malignant brain tumor at the age of 47. Upon Fred’s death, Mary Ann decided to begin a career in real estate. She was indebted to her friend Henry Nading, who in the mid-1960s encouraged her to join his firm. Later, she formed her own company, Helms-Parrish Properties. Through hard work, love of people and perseverance as a “woman working in a man’s world,” Mary Ann watched her small company grow and later be purchased by Merrill Lynch, then Prudential and finally Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She continued to go to her office daily until well into her 90s.

Mary Ann Parrish was nominated by NC REALTOR® Lou Baldwin of The Baldwin Companies in Winston-Salem, and Chrissy Shifflett Kincheloe, Director of Marketing for the Berkshire HathawayHomeServices Carolinas Realty Family of Companies.

Read all Women in History profiles at

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