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How Founder Alison Bernstein Is Uniting Mothers with Her Real Estate Company

Elizabeth Hazard

New York City mother and entrepreneur Alison Bernstein is on a mission to give other mothers a foot in the real estate industry and find families not only a home but also a lifestyle in the suburbs. 

With that mission in mind, Bernstein founded Suburban Jungle, an innovative real estate concept that is changing the industry’s landscape by employing a team made up completely of mothers. Today, Bernstein and her Suburban Jungle team are helping families find their happiness in the outskirts of Brooklyn, Manhattan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Dallas and the Hamptons.

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Worth recently spoke with Bernstein (pictured below) about founding Suburban Jungle, mothers in the workforce and filling a void in the real estate market.

Q: What motivated you to start this company?

A: The company was started both from an industry demand as well as personal experience. While expecting our first child and at Columbia Business School, we started trying to figure out where and how we wanted to raise our family. We recognized that there was a void in the residential real estate marketplace to get truly objective advice—and understand the town dynamic from the inside out.

Working mothers are often overlooked in the workforce. What do you find is their biggest asset?

Working mothers make up a talented pool in the workforce but often times need to drop out due to rigid schedules or lack of flexibility in the workplace. We devised a system that allowed working women the flexibility to spend time with and manage their families, while working at times that were best for them and on their own terms. This provided me the unique opportunity to select from a virtually untapped pool of very talented women and empower them.

As a working mother, what do you find is the biggest challenge, and what’s your best advice?

The biggest challenge is time—which means opportunity cost for mothers. The ROI for every minute you are away from your kids is worth that much more than it would be otherwise. The best advice is to schedule smartly. For example, if you have young kids, perhaps you schedule your calls for the early evening when your kids are asleep. Schedule life, big and small, as you would actual [business] meetings. Finally, use every moment—driving in your car, waiting at pick-up, to execute calls and catch up on emails.

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Your real estate advisory is really shaping the future. What’s been your biggest struggle in starting it from the ground up? 

For Suburban Jungle specifically, it was explaining to the end consumer who exactly we are, where we fit in the real estate process and why we are essential to it. We created a unique piece of the market, and educating the consumer was imperative.

What’s your best piece of advice for women who want to make it in the world?

Don’t overanalyze—analysis paralysis kills great ideas. Seize opportunity. Failure is proof that you are trying.

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