NewsWomen's History Month 2023


KC auctioneer 'blazing trail' for women in her industry

Trisha Brauer.jpg
Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-31 08:55:44-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — As a successful auctioneer, Trisha Brauer says her craft is much more than mastering the ability to speak quickly.

“You walk into any room and you say you're an auctioneer, and everybody wants you to do it,” Brauer said, referencing the cadence she uses when conducting an auction. "That's really about 5% of what a good auctioneer really does."

Brauer is a successful businesswoman and sits on the board of the National Auctioneers Association, based in Overland Park.

She says auctioneering is about understanding what product one is trying to sell. For her, the "product" is the mission of charities and nonprofits all around the country.

"We get to be the agents and the advocates who make that happen,” Brauer said.

But a career as an auctioneer wasn’t always her goal.

Auctioneering school was her stepfather Darrell Cannon’s idea. He's an auctioneer, too.

“You learn to recognize those types of people, and she was,” Cannon said.

Brauer says she "really didn't want to be there" because she didn't want to sell farming equipment. Although, her attitude changed when she learned about auctioneers who work specifically with nonprofit agencies.

“I was in tears on the phone with my boyfriend-fiancee-now husband going, ‘I can't believe I resisted for this long because I think I found what I’m supposed to do with my life,'" Brauer said.

Cannon says after a year, Brauer was "blazing trails."

Today, Brauer continues to blaze trails in her trademark sparkly boots and matching sparkly microphone, leading a team of mostly women auctioneers in her company Taking Bids Fundraising.

“I never thought that it could be a career for me because I never saw anybody who was doing it that looked like me,” Brauer said.

Changing perception is important to Brauer and her team, including Ashlie Beck who says she thinks of her teenage daughters every time she goes to work.

“I feel like they get to see someone doing something that's outgoing and different, and I’m passionate about it,” Beck said. “I feel incredibly proud to be a woman being an auctioneer."

The National Auctioneers Association says its current membership is only about 16% women.

Member Jennifer Gablemen works in the New York area. She says she'd love to see the number of women members increase to 30% or higher.

"Twenty or 30 years ago, women will say, ‘That's why I would wear pantsuits, certain colors so I would blend in with the men,’" Gableman said. “I don't have to wear pantsuits everywhere I go, I can dress more myself, I don't have to dress like the guys do."

Brauer says she also makes time to talk with young women who are trying to figure out their professional aspirations.

Her message is always the same: “If you're curious about something, don't let your gender be the reason you don't ask questions or put yourself out there.”