We are so thrilled to shine a light on a very special real estate industry leader! Join Leslie, Sara, and Debra as they sit down with Vilma Letosky for a conversation about her leadership journey.
Like many immigrants, Vilma has a story of coming to the United States in search of success and the American Dream. What she discovered was that she would have to break down barriers to build a solid foundation for herself and her family.
A bit more about Vilma:
Like many immigrants, Vilma Velasco Letosky has a story of coming to the United States in search of success and the American Dream. What she discovered was that she would have to break down barriers to build a solid foundation for herself and her family.
Unable to finance her educational aspirations in her home country, she obtained a student visa and earned her degree in Hotel Administration. But soon, the desire to have autonomy and flexibility over her schedule to better balance her life as a mother, wife and career-woman, led her to a profession in real estate. And she’s never looked back.
With nearly 30 years in the industry and the broker/owner of Bella Vista Realty, in Canoga Park, California, Letosky has established the respect of her peers and experienced success. But her mission remains the same – to empower her community through homeownership. “Homeownership is a vehicle for families to start building wealth. The best satisfaction for me has been finding homes for people who don't even know they can own their own home instead of renting.”
Letosky forwards her mission by making it her priority to help the Latinx community overcome language barriers in their homeownership journeys. She states, “I want to be the very best REALTOR® and be able to advise my clients whether it is in Spanish or English. This means that I have to continue educating myself and only then, can I be the best guide for my clients and a better mentor for my agents.” Through her work, Letosky continues to open up the doors to homeownership for many families, but in 2010 she wanted to do more.
“After my kids got older, I had more time to get involved in organized real estate and I joined the National Association of Hispanic Realtors (NAHREP) in 2010,” where she continues to use her voice to champion sustainable homeownership for the Latinx community. Notably, she served as the 2015 NAHREP President of the San Fernando Valley Chapter. After her leadership role at the NAHREP, a local Association tapped her on the shoulder and invited her to use her leadership skills to participate at various committees at the local, state and national levels.
Since, She has served as a California Association of REALTORS® Director, Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® Director and member of the National Association of REALTORS® Diversity committee. Her involvement has also allowed her to participate in Fair Housing issues at both the Federal and State levels.
Being “at the table” has opened her eyes to the importance of communities such as C.A.R.’s Latino Professionals Network, who seeks to amplify the voices of Latino REALTORS® in California. Her role as a community advocate and Latinx industry leader has enriched her experience as a REALTOR® and states, “the knowledge and people I have met during these years is priceless”. She encourages the REALTOR® familia to get involved and use your voice
Tell us about your leadership journey…
When I first opened my office in 2014, I wasn't planning to be a broker owner, it just happened that my current office was closing the doors and I had a team of 4 agents with me, so I felt the responsibility to find an office for them. A lender friend of mine had an empty office and offered it to me and that is how I started. 3 years later I moved to another office in Canoga park. Now I have 14 agents in my team and I am partnering up with a lending Co.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate and highlight the achievements of women making HERstory in Real Estate. Let’s talk about some of your proud moments:
Homeownership for All
Homelessness - San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission
While with NAHREP you opened a Toastmasters Club!
President Catrina - Governor with NAHREP
What advice do you have for women who are ready to make their mark?
Well, I have a few ladies that have make impact in my life, such as Luz Rivas has shown me that a young Hispanic woman can get inspired to go to MIT and become an Engineer. And then she further enriched her life by devoting herself to her community by becoming an Assemblywoman for the State of California. I am her Key Contact and our weekly dialogue inspires me to reach out to my community.
I work with the San Fernando Rescue Mission and when I go to work a shift serving meals I know that we must always reach out to help those in need
As you look back, tell us about a challenge you faced. Perhaps it was a risky move that didn’t pay off, a failed project, a fork in the road, or a personal mishap. How did you address it? Did you ask for help?
Well, It was at the time I went through a divorce, it was difficult but my guardian angels were there to lift me up emotionally and financially and my 3 children gave me the strength to move forward.
Before I ask you for your final words of wisdom… would you please share a few books or podcasts you LOVE and recommend to other leaders in your life?
I love listening to Deepak Chopra and Oprah has a motivational weekly podcast that I enjoy and recommend to everyone your life on focus”
Belief creates reality, LESLIE: My failures are my lessons and I don’t dwell on them.
when I fall, I get up, I dust and keep going, I have no room for
You are not better than anyone, you're not less than either!
Connect with Vilma: firstname.lastname@example.org
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