One night in my college dorm room, with my face buried deep in an organic chemistry textbook, I started to contemplate my life. For the first time ever, it hit me that I’d never established what I wanted most in life. I realized that I wanted to help others and to achieve financial freedom. So, instead of graduating from college and attending medical school, I graduated and obtained my real estate license.  My specialty is in designing systems around marketing and sales to consistently generate clients for my team to service. Our niche is helping anyone who has a goal of owning or investing in real estate throughout New York and Florida. My parents were immigrants from Colombia, and everything I do is based on the core values they have instilled in me. I have always been open to helping other agents in the industry, regardless of which company they are affiliated with. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than encouraging collaboration among real estate agents. 
I overcame adversity at a young age. I was born with hip dysplasia, which resulted in me having hip surgery and being wheelchair bound for a year in elementary school. Don’t worry—I thought it was cool all my classmates had to wheel me to lunch, and I was determined to prove to my peers that I could live a normal life once my cast was off. Then, at age 11, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and I have balanced my autoimmune disease for more than 15 years now. Because of this adversity, I learned early on not to dwell on things outside of my control. These monumental life moments changed how I perceived things. I have always had a positive outlook on life and thrive in challenging situations. I’m a very headstrong person and I’m determined not to let my medical history affect the way I work. I’m still old fashioned in that I love hosting open houses and connecting with buyers face-to-face. I have a very streamlined system on how to best gather lead information and follow up after our first meetup. I’m also not afraid of cold calling or door knocking. I know these seem like a system of the past, but I believe they set you apart from the rest and shape you into a better agent.
I lean into my journalism roots to educate future buyers through raw storytelling. Stories help us learn and grow and, for me, they help build trust, which is the foundation of any business relationship. I focus on telling stories about my transactions through social media, where I share insights on how to navigate negotiations, how I get my clients’ contracts accepted, what the options are when an appraisal comes in low, and more. People gain a better understanding of the homebuying process, so when their time comes, they feel more comfortable. In 2020, I created a video series, “Home of the Week.” I film and edit the story of homes in various neighborhoods, documenting finishes, specs and layouts. After eight or nine weeks, I move on to a new price point in $100,000 increments. People can compare how much house they can get in different parts of town for the same money. Between Instagram and LinkedIn, these videos are now being shared with 4,000 to 6,000 people weekly, and they’ve led to 61 leads.
I come from a long line of successful women real estate agents. My great grandma was the first woman broker in Lexington, Ky., in the 1950s and my grandma was a real estate agent as well. I sang professional opera for two years after graduating from college and was successful, but I could not afford to move out of my parents’ home and wanted to be more independent. I’d always thought that real estate would be an exciting career. Growing up, I used to write in my journals that I could see myself as a real estate professional. My mother, a homemaker for over 30 years, and I signed up for a real estate course together, and I became a fourth-generation real estate agent. I always walk into a listing or buyer consultation with the intention of making my client feel like they can rely on me as a professional and as a friend. I treat my million-dollar clients just as I do my $100,000 clients.
Currently, Idaho has only 15 municipalities out of 44 in the state that have city ordinances protecting LGBTQ+ people against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Those in the LGBTQ+ community are continuously under threat by extremist groups such as the Idaho Liberty Dogs and others. I have experienced that hate and discrimination firsthand and it was not something I had ever experienced until I became an Idahoan. I was recently approached by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to lead an event that would increase awareness of LGBTQ+ foster parents, as there is a high number of LGBTQ+ youth in the Idaho foster care system who are struggling to find foster homes that are safe and supportive. It is imperative that we as REALTORS® recognize the responsibility that we have as influencers in the community. If we are not continually challenging ourselves and our beliefs and prioritizing education, we are susceptible to negatively affecting the lives of individuals in our community.
Real estate is in my blood. My grandmother, grandfather, mother, aunt and sister are all in the business. When I graduated college, my older sister Christina, who I looked up to, had recently gone through a job search. She was working as an agent at a boutique brokerage. She told me, “Dina, you have to talk to these guys [at Wydler Brothers Real Estate]. They’re different.” Coincidentally, Wydler Brothers had a job opening for a listing manager, so I knew in my gut this was meant to be. Starting out as a listing manager gave me the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the business. That was 2018. By 2021, Hans Wydler brought me in a as a partner. We both generate leads and attend listing appointments and first meetings with buyers. For listings, I’m responsible for prep before going to market, client communication and contract negotiation. For buyers, I put together tours, conduct showings and write competitive offers. All production is recorded under Hans as the team leader, but I am the co-lister on any deals I bring.
My first job in the real estate industry was working for a title and escrow company a decade ago. I have always found researching a chain of title to be much like opening a storybook that shares details about the history of the land, the property itself, and the people who have lived in these homes. In this role, I saw firsthand the importance of having a knowledgeable and professional agent to guide people through the homebuying and homeselling process. I realized that my skills in negotiation and communication and my attention to detail would be better served in a role where I could educate buyers and sellers about the process. Today, on my team, I am fully involved in every aspect of the client relationship, whether it be on the buying or selling side. As a team, we believe in providing full service to our clients, which means we take care of absolutely everything when it comes to preparing a property for sale. Outside of real estate, I am an avid dancer. I danced when I was younger but then took a 10-year break. Now, I have unlimited access to two dance studios and make an effort to attend at least one dance class every day, schedule permitting. Dance is not just a physical activity for me; it’s a mental and emotional escape. The studios are more than just a place where I take a class. They are a sanctuary where I can forget about the stress and challenges of life and just be in the moment.
Specializing in land, farms and luxury ranches—a niche traditionally dominated by older males—I overcome the “young female” objection daily by proving I am knowledgeable, hardworking, and up-to-date in my marketing skills. In the four years since I got my license, I’ve doubled my production three years in a row, which helped me make the RE/MAX Hall of Fame in my third year selling real estate. The largest and most complex transaction of my career was over 500 parcels on one $6.9 million ranch listing. I was able to net my seller more than $1 million over what a previous agent had listed it for. At one point, the buyer asked the seller why he hired someone so young and why he didn’t opt for a discount brokerage. My seller simply responded: “Because she’s worth it.” Moments like that light a fire in me. Leaving people with a positive view of my skill, work ethic, morals and attitude has been the backbone of my business.
One way I make connections is by truly getting to know the facets of my clients’ lives. I have always had an interest in finding out what drives people, their likes and dislikes and why they do the things they do. So, by engaging in my curiosity about others, I can connect with my clients and find ways to work with them that show them I listen and care about what they want. I have great passion for the job and can connect with my clients deeper than just a client-agent relationship. Yes, I am proud of my other accomplishments in real estate, but the most rewarding thing about my job is that I have done all I can to get my clients the results they were searching for. It isn’t always easy, but having a good attitude and treating every client the same regardless of their budget is what I believe made me the successful REALTOR® I am today.
My real estate career came to me very unexpectedly. When I graduated from college, I began working full-time for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I had moved into my first studio apartment on my own, and like any millennial, I went to YouTube to learn how to organize it. There was very little content about studio apartments at the time. I’ve always had a love for creating videos, so I decided to start my own channel. In 2019, I moved with my fiancé to Chicago, where we shared a studio. I documented the whole experience on my YouTube channel and began getting flooded with messages from others looking to move to Chicago and looking for help finding their next home. In a strange twist of fate, this felt like a new way to help people make their wishes come true, just like I had done for children during my time at Make-A-Wish. I got my license in 2020, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. 
Thinking outside the box to get the job done is what I do best. I enjoy the challenge, but I want to help my clients get to the closing table. I am known for handling difficult situations very well, and I’m proud to say I serve my clients at the highest level. My inner circle is inspired by the growth in my work ethic as I spend more time in this industry, and my endless need to do and be better. I receive referrals from clients, agents and brokers, and I have messages requesting my mentorship from up-and-coming agents. I am honored to be able to provide answers, advice and market analysis for my fellow agents. It’s incredibly rewarding to help others follow their dreams, invest in themselves, and achieve their life goals. I truly believe no matter what your background is or how unobtainable something may seem, if you work hard and are persistent, it’s only a matter of time until you’re successful.
The primary thing I focus on is living a life I love and building my business along the way. My team and I have focused on going all-in on events. We have four major events per year: two client appreciation events where we rent out a bowling alley or climbing gym, for instance, to celebrate our clients. We also do two beach cleanups each year. These events allow us to have authentic and fun conversations with our community that don’t focus on real estate. We get to spend time with them one-on-one, and with the beach cleanups, we really have the chance to give back to our community. The phrase we use with our team is “new best friend.” The idea is that we approach our clients authentically and genuinely, considering their needs, just as a real friend would. We position ourselves as the friend who just happens to be the real estate expert.
As a Filipino immigrant, it seemed my path was clear—to become a nurse like millions of others. But while growing up, I knew that I wanted to have my own business like my grandmother in the Philippines. She owned a carinderia, a small roadside restaurant serving homecooked food. Like her, I felt that becoming an entrepreneur was a way for me to leave my own legacy. Real estate was an idea I thought of while on an eight-hour drive to visit my sister in college. It didn’t take long for me to realize that earning my license was very attainable. I remember thinking, “Why not?” The worst-case scenario was I’d be out $1,000, but it would give me the opportunity to learn the process of homeownership so I could possibly help my mom buy a home. Best case scenario? I would find a career I love. What happened? The best-case scenario. Since then, I have helped dozens of families, especially immigrants, achieve their dream of homeownership.
In 2022, five years into the real estate business, I transitioned into a hybrid role as our team trainer and mentor while continuing to do my own transactions. Now, I dedicate half of my time to sales and the other half to getting our new agents up and running. In the past year, our team has grown from two agents to eight. I am a strong believer in helping one another improve in this industry, regardless of what team or company we work for. Some of the most rewarding transactions occur when the listing and buyer sides can learn from each other and find a win-win situation for all parties. I have a personal coach and a team coach to help guide me both as an independent agent and an agent working on a team. After graduating from my local association’s leadership academy, I was elected to the 2023–24 board of directors of the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®. I take pride in helping other REALTORS® grow because sharing my knowledge helps our profession grow stronger.  (2022 sales with HomeSmart)
As a real estate professional, I have seen firsthand the impact that high home prices can have on people’s lives. As an entrepreneur, that’s why I have a dream of creating a startup that focuses on renewable energy smart tiny homes, with the goal of providing more affordable options for people around the world. In addition to my work in real estate, I am always looking for ways to continue expanding and improving my investments. I have had the opportunity to grow a mid-size portfolio of properties over the past few years. I also run a property management company that I am dedicated to growing to better serve tenants and investors. I am also an entrepreneur who has founded several successful companies, including Akings, a fashion company that has been recognized for its trendsetting style and featured in various high-profile publications and events.
One of the areas I am most passionate about is combating the disparities that occur through homeownership with minorities. Being an LGBTQ individual myself, it has been eye-opening to see the lack of knowledge and education there is in our own community around homeownership. That being said, I cannot look at just my own community without also considering the racial inequalities amongst Black, Hispanic and Asian communities. I would love to see our real estate community take an even bigger step forward with the local, state and national governments to ensure that our elected officials are looking at and encouraging developments that allow low-income families to also achieve the American dream of owning their own home. Our team is now hosting a virtual home buyer seminar every month because we believe so strongly in the power of educating first-time buyers. We love the energy and curiosity they bring to the table.
I went to a "public Ivy League university," the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I was able to transfer it successfully into a real estate career. I majored in psychology and communication, both of which gave me the fast track to success in real estate. My intensive focus on Mandarin Chinese for six months has also allowed me today to diversify my clientele. When I got into the business in 2017, I started door knocking four hours a day, which I did for the first three years. That’s still most of my business. Now I also have 13 bus bench ads and I run Facebook and Instagram ads to that farm area. I have made over 100 videos featuring small businesses in my community. People always come to me for advice on where to eat or drink. I also organize monthly cleanups in the community. A part of my commissions goes toward environmental nonprofits, like Tree People and My Valley Pass. Environmentalism is important because it's the ground that the houses are built on. In fact, my most popular video of all time was promoting a local river cleanup.
Most of my business is generated through social media. I moved to Orlando in 2019 and I did not know anyone. I did not have a sphere at that time, and I knew I had to find a way for people to come to me and get to know me. I dove full force into Instagram, and it currently accounts for over 50% of my business. It is a great tool for me because it gives me the opportunity to educate others. I think if you come from a place of genuinely wanting others to succeed, the business will always come. I value my relationships with my peers and vendor partners, and I think that is something that is rare to find. I love to attend local classes and trainings by other agents who are doing what I want to be doing, only at a higher level. I also love collaborating with other agents, reaching out to them for ideas and sharing some of my own. I firmly believe there is always room for improvement no matter how advanced you are in your career, so I strive to learn from those who are ahead of me.
I love growing through hands-on and real-time resources like Facebook groups, online platforms, and even my brokerage’s educational resources. One of the market platforms I am very active on is called Ladies of Real Estate. It has allowed me to take courses to become an interior design and staging professional as well as a credit repair specialist. I am currently participating in a local influencer challenge to elevate my presence in the community through multiple facets of social media, with a focus on educating potential clients about real estate and the buying and selling processes while highlighting the communities. I am also a bookworm and love reading about real estate, sales, people, business and self-improvement. I spend a good amount of time being a genealogy buff. Genealogy feels like a never-ending puzzle, a constant scavenger hunt of records, documents, photos and third-party recollections. My main goal for all the information and knowledge I acquire through this hobby is to pass it on to the next generations.
One source of leads for me comes from a homebuyer education course that I teach. I have found that in my market, may buyers just don’t know how to buy a home, how to access the funding available, and what needs to be done to position themselves to purchase. My classes have helped them to access this information and turn them into homeowners. I believe in bridging the gap in homeownership rates. Many of my customers have been Black/African American and I have worked hard in my career to advance the rate of Black homeownership. At 28 years old, I’ve accomplished so much in real estate: I opened my own brokerage at 28 years old, becoming one of the youngest broker-owners in my market, the youngest franchise owner in Florida, and the first Black Realty ONE Group franchise owner in Florida. And I’m just getting started.
When I was in high school, my parents had to sell their home during a market downturn. The broker they hired was unable to sell it. So, I took matters into my own hands. I networked with everyone I knew until I met a woman at the gym who was desperate to leave her apartment. Long story short—I sold her my parents’ home. I figured I could do this as a career. I wouldn’t be attached to a desk all day, and I could use my hustler instincts. I have found my passion in new construction, which is ironic, because there aren’t any open tracts of land for development in my market. You have to knock down a house in order to build a new one. It is an interesting challenge to sell an idea or a concept—I am selling a house that doesn’t exist yet. I love giving personalized design ideas to my buyers. My ideas are not just for the aesthetic benefit—they also help my clients have better resale value.
Coming from a family with long-standing roots in the hospitality industry, I was doubted by many when I left my sales job at one of the most revered hotel resorts in the world. People told me it would be nearly impossible to stand out among the thousands of real estate professionals with more experience. Some worried I was throwing away my education and degree to be just another real estate agent. It took a few years of focus, long hours at the office, and constant education to receive recognition by my peers. There were countless ups and downs, and every deal seemed to have unusual nuances that allowed me to grow immensely, both personally and professionally. I put everything I had into my work and managed to exceed my sales goals the past two years. I believed in myself when others doubted me, and this confidence has bled into my relationships and social skills, furthering my career immensely. I am humbled and grateful for all my clients and colleagues who have helped build my success thus far.
Having shopped for a home with my partners in the years prior to getting into the industry, I noticed a lack of representation and experienced some of the unique challenges members of the LGBTQ+ community face in achieving homeownership. I’m a founding member of the LGBTQIA+ Real Estate Alliance and make it a point to attend networking events and business conferences, both locally and nationally, to build my network of professionals to collaborate with and send referrals. Today, a large portion of my business comes from serving LGBTQ+ clients. I differentiate myself by sending notes to homes and businesses with rainbow flags. I am continually compiling my address list while I’m out on showings, hosting open houses and getting around in the community. It’s a “farm” that allows me to get my name out there and helps me make contacts and build a community in my preferred niche.
As a daughter of Thai and Singaporean immigrant parents, I am a strong believer that homeownership has the potential to increase wealth and overall well-being over generations, creating more opportunities for marginalized groups and setting the groundwork for more equality within our communities. My parents sacrificed our house to put my sisters and me through college. From then on and until this day, my father and mother have rented a downsized townhome nearby. It was an unbelievably selfless sacrifice. I’ve experienced the power of real estate first-hand and truly believe in the opportunities and privilege that can result from sound real estate decisions for generations to come. Today, I am proud to be a mathematician turned first to mission-driven techie and then to REALTOR®, leveraging my deeply rooted care for others and working towards my life’s mission: to help people feel empowered financially through sound real estate decisions. Additionally, a personal goal of mine is to purchase my parents a home in the neighborhood I grew up in by 2025.
I joined Engel & Völkers because of the luxury brand and global network—its headquarters is in Hamburg, Germany—and the idea that every home is a mansion. Whether it’s buying a one-bedroom condo or selling a single-family row home, every client deserves the same white-glove service. As a broker in my late twenties, I have been able to leverage my existing network of friends, family members and past clients for referrals, and through that I’ve been able to help a lot of first-time home buyers. I cultivate those relationships by keeping in touch on a monthly basis at a minimum. This is achieved through my monthly newsletter, which has become a labor of love. In it, I share data-driven market insights and my recommendations for buyers and sellers. I also share a little bit about my life. Any chance I get, I will host weekend open houses as a way to help my seller clients as well as reach new potential buyers.
One fun fact about the Chicago suburbs is that we have a lot of great downtown areas in a lot of our cities. With that comes great food and breweries. You don’t have to venture all the way to downtown Chicago—but you might, because we have the best food in the world. You can truly stay local and get everything from great burgers to pasta to deep-dish pizza in the suburbs. A lot of the people in my network know that I always have a recommendation for food. One of my big goals as I am building my real estate business is to be an ambassador for suburban towns in the digital space. I want to provide a one-stop shop of information on living, working, playing and everything in between when it comes to the Chicago suburbs—and be the connector for it all, especially food. I am a huge foodie, and if I wasn’t helping families and individuals with their real estate goals, I would be a food vlogger, so I love marrying my two passions.
In 2019, one year after I started in real estate, my husband, who had been running a successful business, was injured. After months of fighting through the injury, in early 2020 he was unable to work any longer and was in debilitating pain. Throw in the pandemic shutdown and pregnancy with our daughter, and it’s safe to say 2020 was a whirlwind. Real estate allowed me to support my family with a single income for three years. It also allowed me to travel with my husband to multiple out-of-state procedures and visits with various doctors while also preparing for the birth of our daughter. This career allowed me to do these things, work remotely and, with the help of my team members, still provide excellent service to my clients. Now, my husband is on the road to healing, my daughter is thriving at almost 2 years old and I’m looking forward to my most successful personal and professional year yet.
I view my life as a paint palette, and I like to lead a colorful life. Near the end of my senior year at Penn State University, I received six job offers after months of networking events, career fairs, phone interviews, and interview “super days.” However, after careful consideration, I politely declined all six job offers, packed a bag and set off for Colombia in January 2018 to continue painting my life’s palette in vibrant colors. I spent nine months of that year in Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. I was able to survive financially using my own savings that I earned working as a business statistics tutor in college. When the savings ran out along the way, I then created a social media marketing business to support myself. Spending those nine months in Latin America was imperative for my Spanish-speaking skills. My neighborhood of East Boston has a large Latino population, so I am now blending my real estate niche and language skills to help work with first-time Spanish-speaking buyers.
I am heavily involved with the LGBTQ community in the Hudson Valley area of New York. As an openly gay man, I believe that it’s important for my clients to love their new home and to feel loved while they are at home. LGBTQ rights have progressed over the years; however, there is still quite a lot of work to be done, especially in the real estate industry. Buying or selling a home is a stressful enough process, and being able to mitigate any extra stress that comes from fear of discrimination is a huge part of what I offer. I have taken steps in my business to create a safe and inclusive space for all of my clients. Throughout the entire process, I focus heavily on education, support and inclusivity. These are areas that are immensely important to the LGBTQ community because they can be absent or lacking in many parts of our lives. I do what I can to make sure that their interactions with me have ample amounts of it.
One of the most rewarding things we can do as real estate agents is help someone gain freedom and build their own wealth through homeownership. As someone who has lived in Jacksonville for over 23 years now, many of my first-time homebuyers have been lifelong friends, oftentimes stemming back to elementary school. I’ve been able to watch friends and family transition into adulthood and add further value to the relationship by helping them become homeowners. I find that although we continue to transition into a more digital era, my reliance on mailing and in-person marketing has allowed me to stand out with my contacts. I network at business and alumni events, meet up with friends and ask them to invite new friends, and I also teach a Zumba class at the University of North Florida, where I meet new students and make friends each semester. Each time I evaluate the source of my business, I find that very few have come from thin air. Each customer was always referred to me
As I approach my fourth year in real estate in Silicon Valley, I am incredibly proud of the results I have produced. Entering a market with such a high price point and being young is synonymous with being inexperienced and unknowledgeable, which has become my driving force to be the best possible agent I can be. My specialty is my eye for design and experience. I’ve been a part of several renovations—including my own residence—and this experience helps me convey to my clients what projects are achievable, what timelines might look like and budget estimations. I can walk into a house and see the potential within minutes. In the Bay Area, most homes were built in the 1950s and 60s with floorplans that don’t fit with the modern-day buyer. I can give my clients my suggestions and input on everything from paint color to repositioning doors for better ease of use.
My life changed dramatically when I was nine. I was in a Go-Kart accident that almost killed me and left my right arm paralyzed. I was in and out of hospitals and operating rooms until I was 18. I grew up feeling very isolated. Until I became a REALTOR®, I spent most of my time as a stay-at-home mom because I could never get out of my shell. I felt lost when it came to what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I started as a transaction coordinator in 2019 and quickly realized agents were making a huge impact on people’s lives. Now I lead the team. We focus so much of our energy in this industry tying our self-worth to our sales numbers that we often forgo (or forget) to take care of ourselves and our people. Last year I committed myself to balance and giving myself a break once in a while. Funny enough, because of this reflection, my sales volume increased by $4 million from the year before. What made the difference? I was happy.
In my first year and a half of real estate, I worked as hard as I could and quickly became burned out. I was working seven days a week and had no boundaries, constantly picking up the phone at all hours of the day and night. It wasn’t my clients’ fault that they were texting and calling late in the evening because I set that precedent. I remember sitting in my office thinking about how to create a healthy work/life balance so I could be happy and successful. After mastering boundaries, I was able to focus on a specialty. I have had a passion for the outdoors, and especially horses, my entire life. So, I decided to combine my passion and my career. I started taking courses to earn my land designation, as I have a passion for homes and land. Because of this, I was able sell three large equine properties in my second year in real estate.
As a Hawaiian, working with my community on the east side of the Big Island has been the greatest gift that I could ever receive. I am blessed to have found my purpose. Several times a year, I host first-time buyer workshops to give back to my community. These workshops are free and open to anyone in the community, regardless of whether they decide to use me as their real estate agent. I host these workshops with a lender, escrow officer and an insurance agent, and we spend a couple of hours walking the participants through the beginning to the end of the real estate transaction. We make it fun and hands on. Since 2019, I’ve helped over 100 families with their real estate goals, and I stay in touch with all my past clients. I take pride in ensuring that my clients want to work with me. I believe that every client has the perfect real estate professional for them, even if it may not be me.
I went from practicing law in England to working on a food truck selling fried chicken to get by in Los Angeles. I considered giving up and moving home multiple times before I heard James Harris on a podcast called “The World’s Greatest Agent.” His story resonated with me, and I knew there and then I had to reach out to him and do everything I could to get my foot in the door. That started with working towards getting my license. Now that I’ve reached that point, I am willing to do the work others are not. I generate most of my business from door knocking and sending targeted e-marketing blasts to homeowners with specific buyer needs. I track inventory coming both on and off the market daily which allows me to gain extensive knowledge that I can then provide to my clients. I always push myself to have hard and uncomfortable conversations rather than avoiding them. This allows me to gain confidence and often results in some form of a breakthrough. It also allows me to communicate better with my clients and handle the inevitable hurdles that come with every transaction.
When I was 22 years old, I purchased my first condo after doing extensive research. I was able to experience first-hand what it felt like to receive the keys to a home that belonged to me. I spent the following years preparing myself to buy a second property, which I was able to do at the age of 25. I reflected on the benefits of being a homeowner and real estate’s ability to position one to build true wealth. I’d acquired multiple properties, gaining equity, and eventually buying investment properties, and I knew immediately that I wanted to help others achieve the benefits of real estate I had experienced. My own experience with real estate influenced my passion for the business and I wanted to help others experience what I had. With little knowledge about my earning potential as a real estate agent, I set out to start a client-focused business. I’ve since closed nearly 100 transactions and counting.
I always knew I wanted to work for myself and that a typical 9-to-5 would not be for me. My biggest footprint is in short-term rentals and investment properties. I am an avid real estate investor myself, which gives me a huge understanding of the market and allows me to walk in the shoes of my clients. My properties include cash-flowing vacation homes, duplexes that hold term leases, and commercial lots prepping for development. I am very good at running the numbers on potential deals to insure they are good investments for my clients. Adding value is a big way to build wealth through real estate in my market, so being an investor allows me to share my vetted contractors with my clients. I am always looking for ways to improve my business and real estate skills. I’m a big believer in trying to get better at one thing every day. I learn by doing, so simply picking up the phone to talk to new people is one of the best ways for me to sharpen my skills.
I always wanted to help people. I grew up thinking I wanted to be a nurse. After college, I worked in cardiothoracic surgery research. It was a lot of time spent watching surgeries and creating Excel spreadsheets to record data. One day I left work early, drove to my sister’s house and cried about how I hated blood, and how it wasn’t how I wanted to help people. She said I might like helping people find homes and reminded me that I liked working with her in real estate while in college. I got my real estate license in June 2020, and I quit my data job in mid-2021. My background in research has helped me become an Excel queen. We use a CRM that I’m now an expert in, and I provide tips to agents that result in more client response. I also create team resources, like client trackers. Most importantly, I love helping families find their forever home and educating first-time buyers about the homebuying process.
As a young broker, it would have been very difficult to get any business with little knowledge. I joined my father’s company and assisted him wherever I could. I went with him on sales calls, listing appointments and showings to learn how to walk the walk and talk the talk. He showed me how to be a representative for my client, and to put the client’s needs and objectives over just trying to make a sale—because reputation is the only thing you have at the end of the day. We like to know we can go to the small-town grocery store and there won’t be a member of the community there who is disgruntled with something we’ve done. I try to be a student of the industry. I attend the Colorado Water Summit every year to learn about our water rights and issues. And whenever I can, I’ll go on showings with a friend who works for another ranch company so I can see how they do things and what kind of knowledge they can impart.
In September 2004, my mother sat my brother and me down to inform us that she and my dad were getting a divorce. I will never forget the sight of the tears running down her face and the emotions of confusion, disappointment and, most importantly, fear. Fear of how a single Black mother of two young boys on the South Side of Chicago would financially provide for her family. Fortunately for my mother, our financial stability was established 13 years prior when my grandfather, who owned several multiunit buildings throughout Chicago, adamantly pressured my parents to purchase a three-unit building. After my parents’ divorce, I lived in that same three-unit building until I went to college. It became the financial lifeline for my family. Fast-forward to 2018: I decided to revive my grandfather’s legacy of building wealth by owning real estate. I purchased my first property at 24 and decided to become a real estate professional soon after.
I was lucky that when I bought my first home, I had family members who helped my husband and me navigate the process, and more importantly, encouraged us to purchase. There are too many people who turn down the opportunity and benefits of homeownership because of fear, confusion, lack of knowledge or the fact they don’t have encouragement from their loved ones. I became an agent to lower the knowledge barrier of entry for first-time buyers. I like to tell my clients that I’m their go-to person for all their homeownership firsts. Homeownership doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I work hard each day to ensure all facets of my business are rooted in easy-to-understand, easy-to-navigate education, so my clients have a greater understanding of the homeownership process. From buying—and loving—their first home by ensuring it’s maintained in the best way possible to selling their first home, I’m here to guide my clients through it all.
I used to think competence was everything and that people should want to work with me because of my knowledge and expertise of the contract, the escrow process or my production achievements in the year prior. But really, this is just the baseline of why someone may want to work with me. It’s so much more than that. Being a great real estate professional also means being a great relationship builder and sincerely caring about others. It’s about showing up after closing to help a buyer when something breaks or making sure your new buyers in town know where to check out the best holiday light displays. While some may view the closing table as the last step in the client relationship, for me it’s just the beginning. I’ve been able to build lasting relationships with clients, becoming their go-to person for all things real estate throughout the year. Partnering with clients to experience the joys and responsibilities that come with homeownership is rewarding.
Prior to working in real estate, I spent a semester teaching English in Vietnam and worked as a kindergarten teacher in the United States. I carried that love for teaching into my real estate career and have developed a strong passion for teaching others what I know about the profession. I love to help new agents discover their strengths and apply those to find success. I regularly mentor new agents, teaching them skills in real estate individually and as a group and assisting newcomers with the onboarding process. I taught my first in-person real estate class in February, and I stay on call 24/7 as a resource for new agents to ask questions and receive help. That passion for teaching and mentorship is something I know I will continue to develop into a significantly larger part of my life and career.
The desire to become a real estate professional was sparked by one of my college professors, Merwyn Figueiredo. He came to the country with literally nothing, having been an orphan in India. He graduated at the top of his class and owned 100 units of real estate in Massachusetts. His form of contribution was teaching, and he was so generous with his time. After a six-month, solo road trip across America, I recalled the conversation with him and decided to go all-in on my dreams of being a REALTOR®. I’m a first-generation Indian American who was born in Detroit to a teenage mom and have moved more than 30 times to date across eight states. Every single move has taught me how to be adaptable and develop grit, from the farms of Illinois to the suburbs of Boston and impoverished areas of India. I got to experience the realities of a developing nation around 7th grade, when I lived with my grandparents in rural India for 18 months. It was heartbreaking to see kids younger than me struggling to have necessities such as food, water and shelter.
I am a Miami real estate specialist—born and raised here—and no one knows the city like a native. My niche is in selling and leasing commercial real estate. I have helped countless companies from all over the world with their relocation and expansion needs. I consider myself a general commercial agent across every asset class, which includes office, retail, industrial, medical and land. I am proud to be a female who is exceling in and disrupting the male-dominated commercial space, where the average agent is a 60-year-old male. As an individual, I managed to exclusively attain an entire development to represent both for sale and for lease, which was approximately a $45,000,000 lease/sell. I’ve had the opportunity to speak on my experience at multiple real estate conferences, and I’ve been able to represent public, multimillion- and billion-dollar companies for their Miami properties. My business is generated 100% through organic means—through social media, referrals and my personal circle—and my network trusts me.
Every day when I put my boots on, I know why I do what I do: help people obtain their dream of owning land. Striving to meet professional standards each day has allowed me to achieve a successful real estate career specializing in farms and ranches, and grow a nonprofit that works to bring people together from across the world. Inspired by my cousin who was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I created Disabled Outdoorsmen USA in 2017 to help change lives through the healing power of the outdoors. We focus on giving people with a disability the opportunity to achieve their dreams and participate in activities like hiking, bike riding, sightseeing and fishing. The nonprofit has also led to business through the people I meet. My biggest lead generator is word-of mouth marketing. I ask all of my clients to refer me to a friend or family member if they’re satisfied with my services. About three-quarters of my previous clients provide me with another lead.
I have five real estate designations and certifications. These designations have shaped who I am today. They have given me the right mindset on how to work and communicate with clients. Buying and selling a home can be stressful. Being able to understand and service my clients at the highest level is going to give them the confidence to make decisions that change their lives in ways they have been waiting for. Being in the real estate industry has given me the opportunity to help my clients build wealth, but they have also helped me achieve my goals. My parents migrated to the U.S. in 1990 after the Secret War in Laos. We are Hmong, a minority group who lived in the mountains of Laos. When we migrated, it was a big culture change. My parents didn’t know English. I am first generation and have eight siblings: five brothers and three sisters. I went through a lot to break the barriers facing Hmong girls, who are expected to marry and have kids at a young age. I was rebellious growing up, but rebellious in the way of wanting a better future for myself. I wanted to be financially independent so I could support and provide for my family. Real estate has gotten me there.
I strive to get 1% better each day. I’m a graduate of The Citadel, where I was also the 2016 team captain for the football team. There, I learned if you are not growing, you are dying, and your competition is always adapting and getting better. I make sure to read as much as possible and connect with other successful agents. This motivation influences how I work with my clients as well. About 60% of my business is working with first-time homebuyers, and they depend on me not only to find them a home but to be their adviser in all things real estate. I go above and beyond to ensure they are educated, knowledgeable and able to make the best decisions for themselves. I connect them with the industry’s top resources to ensure they have the best experience possible. Real estate is more than just a transaction to me—it’s my passion, purpose and duty.
I was the "weird kid" who wanted to get her real estate license since I was 11 years old. That was the year that my mom, Sheila, got licensed. From that moment on, I fell in love with all things real estate. At my office there is a saying, "Your business grows to the extent that you do." I believe this wholeheartedly, and therefore I am constantly looking for new ways to grow personally and professionally. In addition to continuing education, I choose to improve my real estate skills by teaching CE classes, attending local training events and "masterminding" with top agents across the country. I have also had a real estate coach throughout my career. I know that while I may be able to go far on my own, I can go further by standing on the shoulders of giants. I love having a coach who pushes me professionally and personally by holding me accountable for the goals I set.
I believe in the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, which means "continuous improvement." Aside from accumulating real estate skills and experience from selling over 55 homes in a span of almost a decade, I recently graduated from both Stanford's Influence and Negotiations Strategies and Harvard's Negotiation & Leadership Programs. This has helped me consistently give my clients an upper hand in negotiations, creating the best results possible and maximizing client happiness as evidenced by my testimonials. In addition, I regularly attend city council meetings and have memorized the zoning development codes of all the core cities I serve, which include max floor area, setbacks, single story overlay restrictions, ADU requirements and allowances, local tree ordinances and more. My clients choose to work with me for my deep knowledge of everything real estate.