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Inside Features: Edgar Ibarra

Finance of America Mortgage

Armida Santana Century 21 Town & Country

Schavon Suchanek McMonigle Group



Local underwriting for convenience

Direct lender with no middleman

Servicing to help buyers choose a loan

Grow your business with co-branding

Educating clients about home-buying

LET’S GET IN TOUCH (661) 510-8076 FOAmortgage.com/SantaClarita Visit our new branch at 25350 Magic Mountain Parkway Suite 300 | Valencia, CA 91355 This is not a commitment to lend. Prices and guidelines are subject to change without notice. Some products may not be available in all states. Subject to review of credit and/ or collateral; not all applicants will qualify for financing. It is important to make an informed decision when selecting and using a loan product; make sure to compare loan types when making a financing decision.©2018 Finance of America Mortgage LLC is licensed nationwide | | NMLS ID #1071 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) | AZ Mortgage Banker License #0910184 | Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act


Alex Gandel Century 21 Troop Real Estate

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Inside Features





Edgar Ibarra

Armida Santana

Schavon Marie Suchanek

Finance of America Mortgage

Century 21 Town & Country

McMonigle Group

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W. Los Angeles - September, 2018 Editorials





7 Practical Tips to Achieve a Positive Mindset -Larry Alton

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How to Gain Confidence and Become the Greatest -Zachariah Bourne

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX - CAL City of Hope.......................................................34 Finance of America Mortgage.............................2


Never Mistake Activity for Achievement -Craig Impelman

iPhotography Studio...............................................23 NAHREP..................................................................14 The Termite Guy......................................................3 VAREP..............................................................................36


How to Take on the Day Like Your Dog -Gila Kurtz Photography: iPhotography Studio, Ian Wiant, Rob Paino Graphic Designer: Garon T. Arrias Editorial Manager: Trudy Van Writers: Ben Angel, John Boe, Haley Freeman, Jim Rohn, Walter Sanford, Dirk Zeller, Zig Ziglar Craig Harrison, Simma Lieberman, Chris Widener


7 Personality Traits of a Great Leader -Jim Rohn

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3 Proven Ways to Increase Your Confidence -Sonia Thompson

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Written by Haley Freeman

Edgar Ibarra Sales Manager


dgar Ibarra, Sales Manager at Finance of America Mortgage in Valencia, is in the business of providing more than the industry’s number one home lending experience. He is also

providing opportunities for homeowners and real estate and lending professionals to prosper. A professional who has dedicated his entire career to banking and finance, Edgar brings a wealth of lending and leadership experience from his managerial roles at several preeminent banking and mortgage institutions. Edgar is a producing manager who consistently ranks among the nation’s top one percent of Loan Consultants, and he is recognized among the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals’ (NAHREP) top 10 Loan Consultants nationally. He joined Branch Manager, Mike Ross, at Finance of America Mortgage this year, with a vision of elevating personal service to both clients and industry colleagues. “We feel like we’re kind of on the ground floor with a company that is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the lending world,” Edgar says. “It’s still run a lot like a mom-and-pop, and we have the opportunity to have a voice in the changes, the things we see happening out in the field, and ways we can grow the business. My experience has been very corporate at other companies, but here, I see they really do care about the community and providing the products and service that fit their needs.”

Creating Opportunities to Prosper ExecutiveAgent Magazine

In addition to its comprehensive array of down payment assistance programs and competitively priced home loans, Finance of America Mortgage also offers reverse mortgages and commercial loans. Programs like these create opportunities to save deals, and that’s good not only for homebuyers, but also the real estate agents who represent them. “We do everything we can to make loans work for the consumer, and we have options for when someone doesn’t qualify because they don’t fit in the box. For instance, we can go to our commercial side for someone buying investment property. If they’re not reporting enough income because they’re selfemployed, we have a rental program based on the property itself and qualified on personal credit, not income. With as little as 20 percent down, we can loan on up to 20 units.”

support where they are. My team and I have done thousands of loans, and we’ve seen all kinds of crazy scenarios. We’ll figure out a way to make something work, as long as it’s there. We have the marketing, guidelines, processing and systems in place to get loans done. We’re also open to hiring inexperienced Loan Consultants who are hungry and willing to learn the business and take coaching to heart.”

In real estate’s increasingly digitized consumer environment, Finance of America Mortgage is meeting the demand for high-tech tools, while maintaining a high-touch service model. “One of the biggest concerns Realtors® have these days is remaining competitive when there are so many companies online offering cheap services. This trend is taking the whole personal aspect of our business away. Our marketing keeps agents right in front of their clients. It keeps them involved and on their clients’ minds. Many consumers don’t realize that getting a ‘good deal’ online doesn’t mean they’re getting the best service. We’re doing all we can to push the personal aspect of our business, instead of the AI aspect, and create more business opportunities for our real estate partners.”

Edgar leads his team in delivering honest and reliable service, ensuring that every transaction is a win-win. “We want to make home ownership available to more people, and at the same time help our real estate partners and sales people grow with better lending products.”

Looking to the future, Edgar and Mike will be developing further opportunities to mentor young people who are interested in a home finance career. “We’d like to start hiring young talent and give them an opportunity to learn the business from the ground up. By starting them in operations, they’ll know what to do when they get licensed on the sales side.”

Edgar Ibarra NMLS ID 261963 Finance of America Mortgage 25350 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Suite 300 Santa Clarita, CA 91355 Tel: 818.359.2723 Email: edibarra@financeofamerica.com Web: https://www.foamortgage.com/edibarra

As a manager, Edgar is contributing to new business opportunities for his team of Loan Consultants by providing the ongoing training and support they need to succeed. “I like coaching, sharing ideas, helping with marketing and meeting with individuals to troubleshoot loans. My main focus is to advise individuals looking for opportunity, especially if they’re experienced and feel they don’t have enough ©2018 Finance of America Mortgage LLC is licensed nationwide | NMLS ID #1071 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) | 300 Welsh Road, Building 5, Horsham, PA 19044 | (800) 355-5626 | Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act.

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How to Gain Confidence and Become the Greatest


he stories of major successes are full of radical actions that put people in a position ahead of the pack.

• While in college, Bill Gates acquired his first deal that founded Microsoft by calling the president of MIT-Systems and securing a meeting for a demonstration of new software for their platform. In truth, he hadn’t even written a single line of code. • David Bowie hired a large number of bodyguards to follow him just to make him appear famous while in the U.S. • Self-improvement guru Wayne Dyer would call bookstores in different accents pretending to be customers in order to drum up demand for his first book. • Benny Blanco (writer for Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Maroon 5) tells the story of his unsigned days: “I used to cold call labels and pretend I was one of their artist’s attorneys. I’d say, ‘This is Jay-Z’s attorney, we need to speak with Craig Kallman,’ you know, owner of Atlantic, and they’d say, ‘Right away.’ And then I’d be like, ‘Please just listen to my demo tape!’” Breaking into an industry, building your first client list or getting that dream job without the necessary experience can be tough. These are hurdles that prevent most people from achieving. Without the track record or client base, you have to make up the entirety of the difference in one quality: pure confidence. It’s the real, genuine inner belief in yourself and


your own abilities that will propel you into a higher league where these outrageous ideas of action live. It helps you find the weak points in the system for you to exploit in a way that actually benefits all parties involved. How to Gain Confidence Shawn Achor, positive psychology expert and bestselling author, describes positivity as the Happiness Advantage. He says success is fueled by happiness, not the other way around. In positive states, our brains become creatively inclined, confident, positively expectant, more productive and involved in new projects. 1. Enter a state of strong positive emotion. To become receptive to new ideas, you must first get positive. From this place, you can begin repeating your desired characteristics in your mind, or aloud like a mantra. Lady Gaga describes it like this: “And it’s not yet; it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie, over and over and over again. And then one day the lie is true.” Initially her circumstances did not reflect what she was saying, and that’s how it’s going to be when you start doing this kind of work. You have to live in that faith. You have to believe it and know it. There has to be a certainty behind the beautiful lies you keep repeating to yourself every day, the ones about what you want your life to be.

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“I am the greatest. I said that before I even knew I was.” —Muhammad Ali

2. Focus your mind on the desired goal.

“It was really insane at the time,” Stallone describes turning down such a deal.

When things show up that are not in alignment with your goal, ignore them completely. You want to attach the idea of confidence to you. Ask yourself, How would I feel if I had it now? What does that success feel like? Take time to really feel what you want. Be confident in your desires. Feel that pride in yourself, that excitement of having accomplished your dream. When Madonna was asked what she was like before she became Madonna. She replied that she’s always been Madonna in her mind. She was first signed when she visited the recovering Seymour Stein (co-founder of Sire Records) in the hospital with her demo in a Walkman. It was the first time they met and he was impressed with her music and her drive. To get her first movie role at age 20, she wrote director Steven Lewicki a three-page handwritten letter describing herself and her life. Without a résumé or headshot, Madonna was cast in the thriller A Certain Sacrifice.

You are already more than enough to achieve all that you want in life, so be confident in your happiness and your goals. Confidence can be the differencemaker in your success. The things other people don’t have the confidence to do can be your open door to a different life. Zachariah Bourne is a positivity enthusiast and songwriter based out of New York City, and author of the upcoming book Blissed Out. He believes success lives in those who seek it. He emphasizes self-development through happiness, focus and selflove. Zachariah has been empowering lives for more than a decade through personal coaching sessions, radio interviews and webinars. His passion is sharing uplifting ideas to help people create radically better lives.

3. Put yourself first. Make you and how you feel the two most important things. You deserve all that you desire for yourself. When Sylvester Stallone was dirt broke, he wrote Rocky and turned down $300,000 for the script, (equivalent to $1 million today). He said the only way the studio could use the script was if he played Rocky.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine





Written by Haley Freeman

Schavon Marie Suchanek


eet Schavon Marie Suchanek, a vibrant real estate professional who is making her presence felt from the San Gabriel Valley to the Orange County Coast. With a father in construction and an aunt and grandparents in real estate, the concepts of building, design and investment influenced Schavon from early in life. She made her professional debut in the beauty

industry as a model and cosmetologist, before turning her innate people skills and creative talents to real estate. Today, Schavon is influencing others from her posting at elite real estate boutique McMonigle Group in Corona Del Mar, home to John McMonigle and his team of savvy market moguls on Bravo’s “Real Estate Wars.”

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“This is an incredible brand and a huge opportunity for me,” Schavon says. “John is a trendsetter recognized throughout the real estate world and very respected in the development world, as well. It was important to me to align myself with someone who is like-minded and believes in being of service to clients, rather than doing business transactionally. I’m a solo agent, but we are all a team working toward a common goal of providing solutions for our clients. I’ve worked for other brokerages and never experienced this kind of camaraderie. We all have such respect for one another.” Working with clients across Southern California’s most sought-after markets requires a detailed understanding of each area’s attributes, along with a sophisticated approach to client service. Schavon delivers on all points with representation that is informed, straightforward and client centric. “I think people appreciate my authenticity. I let them know if something is realistic, and rather than tearing down, I present other options. I like to be collaborative through the process while offering education and guidance so clients can make informed decisions. My job is to be a problem solver. As people are purchasing what may be their largest asset in a lifetime, they need to feel the person helping them is someone they can lean on and trust in. I want to bring an intimacy to the process that puts them at ease and makes things as seamless as possible.” These days, Schavon is dreaming even bigger. With the launch of her new brand, SMS Home Group, she is bringing design/build services to her real estate practice for the purpose of reclaiming homes and neighborhoods and turning them into something beautiful. “I am passionate about bringing this to my community. I love the idea of helping people see past the current state of a home to the potential it could have. I want to bring design concepts to communities that people love and appreciate, leaving behind a legacy in the form of homes that will endure for generations to come. I’m starting in residential, but with my dad’s expertise, I think it could spill

into commercial at some point. I don’t want to place any limitations on my vision.” Schavon also sees an opportunity to contribute to more economically stable communities overall by creating jobs in the supply chain and construction, and increasing neighborhood property values. The next phase of Schavon’s plan involves forming a 501(c)(3) for the purpose of providing sustainable housing to people both locally and globally. “I’ve been involved in a mission outreach project in Haiti through my church. I feel I’ve been called there, and I’m exploring how much it costs to build homes there. People are living in tent cities, and their need for simple housing is dire. I’ve found in raising money for mission trips, people love to contribute and feel like they are part of something. I want to make it possible for a portion of every commission to be donated to this cause in my clients’ names. I want them to have the joy of knowing that in addition to receiving great real estate service, they are also making a difference for people in need.” Passion is the magic that infuses Schavon’s professional service and fuels her dreams for the future. “I have a passion for serving others and impacting them in a positive way. It’s an honor being part of someone’s transition and helping their dreams come to fruition.” Schavon Marie Suchanek McMonigle Group 3500 East Coast Highway, Suite 110 Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 Tel: 310-654-3627 Email: schavon@themcmonigleteam.com Web: www.SchavonMarie.com CalBRE # 01946589

Dreaming Big ExecutiveAgent Magazine


oach John Wooden’s most insightful model to discuss his idea is the methodology he used to prepare, execute and improve his practices. He was not satisfied with simply having achievement in each activity, but rather he sought to maximize achievement without stifling initiative. The four components Coach Wooden utilized were proper planning and execution of the plan, relentless attention to detail, maximizing the use of time, and post-practice analysis for improvement. He described the importance of each in his book Practical Modern Basketball.

3. Maximize use of time. “Even though a particular drill may be emphasizing one specific fundamental, other fundamentals in use should not be overlooked. Sometimes players get careless about their passing during shooting drills, which may lead to breaking down one fundamental while building another.” When Coach Wooden ran a rebounding drill, his players were also improving their passing, cutting, timing and movement without the ball. 4. Post-Practice Analysis

1. Proper Execution of the Plan “A daily practice plan should be prepared and followed. If you fail to follow the program on one thing, it may affect others. If you planned poorly, make the corrections for the following day, but never alter your program on a specific day once practice has started. Running overtime can be distasteful for both you and your players and should be avoided.” 2. Attention to Detail “The coach should be on the floor early to make certain that everything is ready for practice. I like to have a checklist for the managers to go by, but the coach must make sure. Some of the points on the checklist: See that the floor is clean. See that the desired number of balls are available and that they are clean and properly inflated. Make sure the scrimmage shirts are on hand and that extra shoelaces and other emergency equipment items are near at hand. Have statistical charts ready for use. Make sure that towels, tape and everything else that might be necessary to ensure a smooth practice are available.

“The coach should make a careful analysis of each practice while it is still fresh in his mind, in order that he may plan intelligently for the next day. I like to sit down with my assistants immediately after practice and briefly analyze and discuss the practice of that day. I make notes at that time to serve as reference to help me the next morning when I plan practice for that day.” It is easy to see why failing to prepare is preparing to fail and never mistake activity for achievement get along so well. What are the activities of your team that don’t yield the most productive results possible? As Coach Wooden’s grandson-in-law, Craig Impelman had the opportunity to learn Coach’s teachings firsthand and wrote about those lessons for his site, www.woodenswisdom.com. He is a motivational speaker and the author of Wooden’s Wisdom, a weekly “e-coaching module” that is distributed to companies nationally.

“Anticipate from past experience and be prepared.”

Never Mistake Activity for Achievement


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“Never mistake activity for achievement.” –John Wooden

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Cover Story

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Written by Haley Freeman


f you know Simi Valley, you probably know Alex Gandel. A lifetime resident of the area, Alex has made his mark on the community as a good neighbor, a business leader, and a social activist. As a Top Producer of C21 Troop Real Estate for more than 20 years, Alex has helped hundreds of families through the landmark achievement of buying or selling a home. Along the way, he has earned leadership and service awards too numerous to mention, including 2017 Business Person of the Year from the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce. Approaching his 39th year in Real Estate, Alex looks back on a gratifying career that has given him a great

sense of personal satisfaction, while bringing him closer to his family and community. Alex grew up in a middle-class family in the 60’s and 70’s, and while they may not have had a lot of material extras, he says they were never short on love and support. Alex always had a knack for numbers, and after beginning his college education at San Diego State University, it didn’t take an econ whiz to understand that his student loan bills were outpacing his earnings. He returned home and continued pursuing his education at California State University, Northridge majoring in Marketing, Economics, and Finance.

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Service as a Way of Life While Alex was attending college, his dad became a Realtor®. “The market at the time was strong. It was the first time my mom and dad seemed to be getting ahead.” Alex’s friend and roommate, Brian Troop, was also selling Real Estate, and Alex decided he would do it, too. For the first part of his Real Estate career, Alex worked with his father. After the market downturn of the early ‘90s, Alex called his good friend Brian and asked to build his own brand under the Troop umbrella. “After the crash, I went back to the basics of marketing and branding, and created a brand for myself.” With his professional expertise and solid reputation in the community, Alex had no trouble building a successful, independent business as a solo agent with a phenomenal support staff. “Having help freed my brain to focus on quality. Each time I’ve taken a new step forward with my business, I’ve also taken steps back to see what could be missing and how we could do better for our clients. I have hired licensed specialists to fill those needs and,

ultimately, created what we have today: a boutique Real Estate environment under the largest Real Estate company in Ventura County, CENTURY 21 Troop Real Estate.” Over the years, Alex has attracted talented support professionals who share his dedication to providing a seamless client experience. He uses the word “magical” to describe his staff, many of whom have remained with him for many years. “Having that kind of longevity with my staff really comes down to two things. First is the idea of maintaining a family work environment since we all spend a lot of time together. Second is making sure we all have the same goals regarding our clients – maintaining the same drive and willingness to make the extra effort. I have that confidence in everybody I’ve been fortunate enough to hire. I try to make sure their ownership in our effort is rewarded, and it’s not always about money. It’s about fulfillment, joy and knowing we’ve all done the best we can do for our clients which is the ultimate and only goal.”

Alex, Janet, and Brad Gandel chaired the 40th Annual Boys & Girls Club of Simi Valley Auction with a Kentucky Derby theme.

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Alex’s oldest son, Brad Gandel, is a 3rd generation Realtor®. Alex also works in tandem with his oldest son, Brad Gandel. “He came to work in the business five years ago, but it was important that he be able to create his own brand. If either of us is overloaded, we help each other out. He has been able to help other young people through the challenges of his generation, navigating around excessive student debt and high home prices to become homeowners.” In an industry that is becoming more and more digitized, Alex’s focus is still on maintaining personal connections with people. “By having that vibe in my work environment, I am still excited to go to work even on the toughest days. For the clients we represent, whatever Real Estate challenge they’re facing may be huge for them, and it needs to be handled correctly. That’s our job. We can never know how big the impact is for them, and we strive to always look at the situation through their eyes throughout the resolution.” Hi-touch communication is the cornerstone of Alex’s service model. “Picking up a phone and using it for what it’s supposed to be used for - talking with people, you really

see the impact by the end of a transaction, when you’ve built trust with your client and hopefully avoided issues that could have made the process more difficult. There is so much emotion around buying or selling a home. Being a Realtor® requires delicately navigating two sides of potentially differing personalities and expectations. The tools of the business may have changed, but our job is the same. We still have to bring those two parties together, work through their challenges, and help them to stay focused on their goals.” His numerous five-star client reviews prove that Alex is, indeed, making people happy. One said: “We just completed our home purchase with Alex and his amazing team. I have purchased many properties over the last 40 years, and this is my best Realtor® in all these years. Alex quickly learns your needs and then takes you to properties that fit you. He knows the markets, and most of all, he is available on the phone at any time. He took all the time needed to explain the whole process to us, so we understood all the paperwork. I have many friends in Real Estate, but I am glad I was referred to Alex.”

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Simi Valley Top Producing Real Estate Agent “Serving Simi Valley and Surrounding Areas since 1980!” Alex says the greatest gift he has received through Real Estate is his wife, Janet. They were introduced while Alex was selling Janet’s sister’s condo thirty years ago, and they married only a year later. They share two grown sons, Brad and Jarred, and they now have the joy of caring for their moms, Betty and Lucille. “Janet has been such good friends with everybody who works with me, and she often comes to the office to help take care of things. She’s a big part of everything I do. I always tell people that through the Real Estate business, I met the love of my life.” Together, Alex and his family are big community supporters. In addition to the time and resources Alex devotes to the Boys and Girls Club of Simi Valley and the Adventist Health Simi Valley Foundation, as a member of both their respective Boards of Directors, Alex is most passionate about C21 Troop Turkey Drive, an annual food drive that provides Thanksgiving dinners to qualified families in need in Ventura County. Alex began the drive 19 years ago by providing meals to 10 families, and to date, with the help of willing friends, neighbors, fellow Realtors®,

individual donors and corporate sponsors, the program has provided meals to over 225,000 people. “When you make a living helping people, it isn’t always about money. It’s also about how else you can make an impact and join with other folks to do wonderful things. It’s an honor to be able to support my family by helping people one-on-one, but I’m humbled by the opportunity to reach outside of my own abilities to join with others to make a difference in the lives of people in need in a positive way.” Respected by clients and peers alike, Alex has earned his reputation for uncompromising integrity, professionalism, and service. “It’s not about who wins in a transaction; it’s about how we win together. It’s about listening to people, understanding them, helping them to feel understood, and giving them the roadmap to achieve their goals. Every relationship is individual and deserves the utmost of my attention and expertise, regardless of price point. As a result, I have been blessed with the opportunity to successfully build my business over the past 38 years, one relationship at a time. How cool is that?”

Alex, Janet, Jarred and Brad Gandel ExecutiveAgent Magazine

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3 Proven Ways to Increase Your Confidence


onfidence has a hypnotic effect on people. “The first time I recognized it was at a flamenco show in Barcelona a few years back. I was mesmerized by the performance of a beautiful full-figured middle-aged woman. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her as she danced. My friends and I eventually dubbed her ‘the most confident woman in the world.’” It was like she bathed in a tub full of confidence on a daily basis. I knew if I had just a piece of what she exuded while on that stage, I would be unstoppable. There’s data to back that up. Studies show that confidence is closely correlated with success, and even more so than competence. That’s why it feels like some of the people we most associate with being successful appear to have an abundance of the coveted trait. But the reality is, confidence is something we all can develop and increase. Even better, science has shown us specifically how to do it. In their book The Confidence Code, authors Katy Kay and Claire Shipman went on an extensive quest to find out how people could increase their confidence. Here’s how they summarized their findings: “And so fortunately, a substantial part of the confidence code is what psychologists call volitional: our choice. With diligent effort, we can all choose to expand our confidence. But we will get there if we stop trying to be perfect and start being prepared to fail.” Take imperfect action. Fail. Use what you learn to take action again. Repeat until you consistently get results you can feel proud and confident about. Let’s take a closer look at how to start implementing


these methods: 1. Surround yourself with confident people. In her best-selling book Grit, Angela Duckworth explained that one of the ways to develop grit, or any other trait you aspire to have, is to spend time with a group of people who are doing what you want to do or possess the skill you desire to develop. “The drive to fit in—to conform to the group—is powerful indeed. Some of the most important psychology experiments in history have demonstrated how quickly, and usually without conscious awareness, the individual falls in line with a group that is acting or thinking a different way.” Thus, if you struggle to be confident, start hanging around confident people. Not only will you start embodying the mindset that helps them be successful, but you’ll start to latch on to the activities that enabled them to get there, too. When I started learning how to dance Argentine tango, everyone I knew danced better than me. My confidence level was at zero. But they kept encouraging me to dance, to go to classes and to try new things while on the dance floor. Their confidence in me fueled my own. And their commitment to practicing to get better made it easier for me to do the same. 2. Take consistent action. I’ve spent a significant amount of time studying successful entrepreneurs, performers and leaders from many different walks of life. And one of the key markers that fueled their attainment of mastery, that gave them the confidence to perform at such a high level, was taking action. Consistently. They showed up, day in, day out, over and over again, to do the work that would help them improve their skills.

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Performers who sell out stadiums around the world, pro-athletes who dominate their sport, entrepreneurs who appear to have the magic touch—all of them invested significant time in the trenches taking the actions necessary that enabled them to get so good that they could not be ignored. Confidence comes from knowing you are capable of completing a task to your level of satisfaction. You can’t think your way to that kind of confidence. Deliberate action (not merely busyness) produces the know-how you need. Data proves this, as well. Dan Chambliss is a sociologist who spent years studying Olympic swimmers and what enabled them to perform at such a high level. “Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into habit and then are fitted together in a synthesized whole. There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.” When excellence becomes your habit, confidence will be a natural byproduct. And the only way to develop a habit is to do the work over and over again. 3. Fail your way to mastery. You don’t get to mastery without a string of failures that point you in the right direction to deliver predictable highquality results. Of course, nobody wants to fail. But if you want to succeed, that is exactly what you have to get more comfortable doing.

The more often you fail, the more knowledge you obtain about what works and what doesn’t. The more insight you have about how to produce a hit, the easier it becomes for you to be confident that the path you are moving along will bring you the results you desire. The more progress you make, the less likely you have your confidence destroyed when something doesn’t go your way. Seth Godin is an 18-time best-selling author. Before he published any of his best-sellers, he spent 10 years as a book packager, producing a book a month. Producing 120 books, many of which sold very little, taught him many things about how to deliver work his audience wanted to buy. James Dyson spent 15 years producing more than 5,000 prototypes before he developed the one that launched his billion dollar vacuum company. He wrote: “There were tough times, but each failure brought me closer to solving the problem.” You can become more confident no matter your starting point. It all starts with recognizing that you can develop the competence you need to be excellent. And then, of course, you’ve got to take the necessary actions that will help you get there. In time, as your skills grow, so will your confidence, the mesmerizing effect you have on people and your level of success. Sonia Thompson is a marketing strategist, consultant and author. She covers how company culture, diversity and relationship-based marketing helps businesses create remarkable customer experiences that get them the customers they want and keep them coming back for more.

Failure leaves clues as to how to succeed. And success breeds confidence.

ExecutiveAgent Magazine


7 Personality Traits of a Great Leader


f you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. Jim Rohn calls leadership the great challenge of life. What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here’s how: 1. Learn to be strong but not impolite. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute. 2. Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake weakness for kindness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell someone the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not 26

deal in delusion. 3. Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble. Like the farmer, if you want any rewards at harvest time, you have got to be bold and face the weeds and the rain and the bugs straight on. You’ve got to seize the moment. 4. Learn to be humble but not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. But humility is a virtue; timidity is a disease. It’s an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem. Humility is almost a God-like word—a sense of awe, a sense of wonder, an awareness of the human soul and spirit, an understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars.

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5. Learn to be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to build your ambitions. It takes pride in your community. It takes pride in a cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is to be proud without being arrogant. Do you know the worst kind of arrogance? Arrogance from ignorance. It’s intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take. 6. Learn to develop humor without folly. In leadership, we learn that it’s OK to be witty but not silly; fun but not foolish.

can be adopted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community and at home. Jim Rohn knows the secrets of success - in business and in life. He has devoted his life to a study of the fundamentals of human behavior and personal motivation that affect professional performance. He can awaken the unlimited power of achievement within you! Reproduced with permission from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine. Copyright© 2006, Jim Rohn. All right reserved. For information about Jim’s keynote presentations and seminars, contact the FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email susie@ FrogPond.com, http://FrogPond.com.

7. Learn to deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony of delusion. Just accept life as it is—the whole drama of life. It’s fascinating. Life is unique. Leadership is unique. The skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. However, the fundamental skills of leadership ExecutiveAgent Magazine





Written by Haley Freeman

Armida Santana


rmida Santana was a single mother working as a secretary for a home finance company. One day, her manager, Mr. Gordon, called her into his office after work. “I want to make you an invitation,” he said. “I invite you to believe in you. I am inviting you to live up to your potential and all you know about the business, and get your license as a Loan Consultant.”

That one conversation changed the course of Armida’s life. She accepted Mr. Gordon’s invitation and went on to work as a Loan Consultant for several years. Eventually, a real estate broker suggested that she had everything she needed to succeed in real estate sales. So, she got her real estate license, and she has been with CENTURY 21 ever since.

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An Invitation to the American Dream During her 15 years in real estate, Armida has also changed lives by helping people in the Hispanic community achieve the American Dream. “I like to help the Hispanic community because so many are misinformed. They think it’s impossible to become a homeowner, and I love to show them they can do it. When I can accomplish that, it is wonderful!”

being the mom of three to a mom of six. Today, she is enjoying her grandchildren. In her free time, she loves gardening and reading devotional and motivational literature. Armida also gives back to the community by volunteering at a local shelter that provides transitional housing and job placement to homeless families.

With her background in mortgage lending, Armida is skilled at assessing her clients’ eligibility for home loans and down payment assistance programs. She prepares them ahead of time for the paperwork they will need, so that by the time she connects them with a lender, they are ready to proceed with a transaction. “I also know whether it will be a smooth transaction or if we have some issues we need to solve, so I can work with the lender to make it as easy as possible for the client.”

Armida is paying forward the opportunity given to her by Mr. Gordon all those years ago by inviting people to live up to their potential and achieve the American Dream. She brings her heart of service and genuine care for people to every real estate transaction. “My favorite quote is, ‘Hard work always pays off.’ Home ownership is a reality. People can do it. They love it when I tell them, ‘Just provide what I ask for, and I will do the rest.’”

Armida has developed a loyal client following, and she works almost entirely by referral. Clients know they can always rely upon her honesty, and they appreciate her constant communication throughout the real estate process. “I update all of my clients at least once a week. I don’t believe in people calling me; I always call them first. I am committed to giving my clients 100 percent of my effort so they will call me again and refer me. I always tell them that if I don’t do what they expect, they can either tell me or fire me.”

Armida Santana Century 21 Town & Country 3700 Inland Empire Blvd., Suite 150 Ontario, CA 91764 Tel: 562-708-4344 Email: ArmidaSellsHomes@gmail.com Web: https://armida-santana.c21.com CalBRE # 01862774

Recently, a repeat client hired Armida to sell his $1.3 million property. While he had many other agents vying for his business, he told Armida that he wouldn’t choose anyone else. “I meet many wonderful people in my business, and that kind of loyalty motivates me to give my best service,” she says. While technology has changed the way real estate service is delivered, Armida has never stopped cultivating person-to-person contact with the families she has met through real estate. She calls and visits them regularly just to say hello, and she considers them more than clients - they are also friends. Armida eventually remarried, and she went from ExecutiveAgent Magazine

How to Take on the Day Like Your Dog


olo, a yellow Lab in guide-dog training, had been in my care for only a few weeks when I began to notice a wonderful pattern developing each morning. As soon as I would wake up and go toward her crate, she would beam with excitement. Her little tail would start wagging back and forth, almost knocking her over. Hardly able to contain herself, she would eagerly offer up the “sit” required for me to open up her crate and let her out. At the time, we were house training, so she would immediately follow me downstairs and head outside. As soon as she was done, she would return to me, tripping over her puppy feet and wagging her entire body, falling all over me as I sat on the stairs to greet her good morning. Each day would start off this way, and it forced me to stop and take notice. How the moment her crate door opened, Bolo would grab her toy and move about with so much enthusiasm and joy as if to say, “Hooray! It’s a new day! Can you believe it? I am so excited to start another day! I can’t wait to do all the things I get to do!” Now, as a 4-year-old, 63-pound fully house-trained dog, she no longer needs to race outside first thing in the morning. Having graduated from her crate to our bed, she waits patiently for me to open my eyes. Although I can’t see her with my eyes closed, I can feel her staring at me as I am coming out of my slumber. I imagine she is thinking to herself, Hurry! Wake up! We are missing valuable time in our day already! As my eyes open, I can see hers locked solidly on me as she instantly comes to life. Her eyes widen and her mouth takes on a doggie smile. If she had hands, this would be the moment she would clap them together and yell out, “Yeah! Game on! Let’s get this party started!” What if you woke up like Bolo? What if you were fired up, ready to take on the day the moment you got out of bed? How would that change the outcome of your day,


your relationships, your personal growth? Be like your dog and you will change the way you see the world. In return, the world will change the way it sees you. Here are some thoughts to help you make your day extraordinary: • Decide within the first 10 minutes of waking up exactly what type of energy you will bring to the day. Write it down on a piece of paper and refer to it throughout the morning, afternoon and evening to keep yourself on track. • Predetermine your response to unexpected things that get thrown your way. Learn how to take a breath before reacting and avoid explosive angry responses, which will negatively affect your mood and the people around you, too. • Do something special for others. Look for ways to engage in random acts of kindness. Bring co-workers bagels or donuts in the morning. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you. This “pay it forward” approach makes the day more memorable and elevates your mood, as well. • Find ways to break up your routine and try something new in order to experience the day differently. Skip the gym in lieu of a morning hike. Try a new place to pick up your coffee. Take a friend out to lunch and try something new on the menu. Take a different route home from work. Gila Kurtz is a serial entrepreneur who found her deepest passion in working with dogs and their people. She is the co-founder and co-owner of Dog Is Good, a lifestyle brand for dog lovers. The company creates products to celebrate and “share the unique joy one feels living life with Dog.” Gila is the best-selling author of Fur Covered Wisdom: A Dog Can Change the Way You See the World. She is a master of “Bliss-ipline,” loves her active lifestyle and is #1 fan to her daughter, Abby.

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“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” —Buddha ExecutiveAgent Magazine


7 Practical Tips to Achieve a Positive Mindset


he “power of positive thinking” is a popular concept, and sometimes it can feel a little cliché. But the physical and mental benefits of positive thinking have been demonstrated by multiple scientific studies. Positive thinking can give you more confidence, improve your mood, and even reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as hypertension, depression and other stress-related disorders. All this sounds great, but what does the “power of positive thinking” really mean? You can define positive thinking as positive imagery, positive self-talk or general optimism, but these are all still general, ambiguous concepts. If you want to be effective in thinking and being more positive, you’ll need concrete examples to help you through the process. Here are seven: 1. Start the day with positive affirmation. How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Have you ever woken up late, panicked, and then felt like nothing good happened the rest of the day? This is likely because you started out the day with a negative emotion and a pessimistic view that carried into every other event you experienced. Instead of letting this dominate you, start your day with positive affirmations. Talk to yourself in the mirror, even if you feel silly, with statements like, “Today will be a good day” or “I’m going to be awesome today.” You’ll be amazed how much your day improves. •


Tell youself these 3 positive things every day.

2. Focus on the good things, however small. Almost invariably, you’re going to encounter obstacles throughout the day—there’s no such thing as a perfect day. When you encounter such a challenge, focus on the benefits, no matter how slight or unimportant they seem. For example, if you get stuck in traffic, think about how you now have time to listen to the rest of your favorite podcast. If the store is out of the food you want to prepare, think about the thrill of trying something new. •

Find your silver lining.

3. Find humor in bad situations. Allow yourself to experience humor in even the darkest or most trying situations. Remind yourself that this situation will probably make for a good story later and try to crack a joke about it. Say you’re laid off; imagine the most absurd way you could spend your last day, or the most ridiculous job you could pursue next—like kangaroo handler or bubblegum sculptor. •

Adopt these 5 habits to become a happier you.

4. Turn failures into lessons. You aren’t perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and experience failure in multiple contexts, at multiple jobs and with multiple people. Instead of focusing on how you failed, think about what you’re going to do next time—turn your failure into a lesson. Conceptualize this in concrete rules. For example, you could come up with three new rules for managing projects as a result.

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• You’re going to fail. Learn to use it to your advantage. 5. Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Negative self-talk can creep up easily and is often hard to notice. You might think I’m so bad at this or I shouldn’t have tried that. But these thoughts turn into internalized feelings and might cement your conceptions of yourself. When you catch yourself doing this, stop and replace those negative messages with positive ones. For example, I’m so bad at this becomes Once I get more practice, I’ll be way better at this. I shouldn’t have tried becomes That didn’t work out as planned—maybe next time. •

Silence the negative voice in your head.

6. Focus on the present. I’m talking about the present—not today, not this hour, only this exact moment. You might be getting chewed out by your boss, but what in this exact moment is happening that’s so bad? Forget the comment he made five minutes ago. Forget what he might say five minutes from now. Focus on this one, individual moment. In most situations, you’ll find it’s not as bad as you imagine it to be. Most sources of negativity stem from a memory of a recent event or the exaggerated imagination of a potential future event. Stay in the present moment. •

you’ll hear positive outlooks, positive stories and positive affirmations. Their positive words will sink in and affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and similarly contributes to the group. Finding positive people to fill up your life can be difficult, but you need to eliminate the negativity in your life before it consumes you. Do what you can to improve the positivity of others, and let their positivity affect you the same way. •

Surround yourself with these 5 amazing people.

Almost anybody in any situation can apply these lessons to their own lives and increase their positive attitude. As you might imagine, positive thinking offers compounding returns, so the more often you practice it, the greater benefits you’ll realize. Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources, including Entrepreneur. com, HuffingtonPost.com and Business.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local nonprofit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Be right where you are. Live in the moment.

7. Find positive friends, mentors and co-workers. When you surround yourself with positive people,

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Our bone marrow transplant reunion is now standing room only. Each year, City of Hope invites bone marrow transplant recipients and their families to attend the “Celebration of Life” event. It’s a joyous time during which survivors of blood cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma embrace their health, their life and each other. It began more than 35 years ago when City of Hope created what is now one of the largest and most successful bone marrow transplant programs in the world. In fact, we’ve completed over 11,000 transplants and, according to national reports, our outcomes are among the best in the nation. The goal of curing cancer isn’t just something we work at. It’s what we live for. If you have cancer, make us your first call. Or ask your doctor for a referral. We accept most insurance. 800-826-HOPE

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WE LIVE TO CURE CANCER. Science saving lives. cityofhope.org/bmt

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1,500 + FAMILIES

WHO WE ARE Established in 2011, the USA Homeownership Foundation, Inc. DBA Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness, and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities.



UPCOMING LOCAL VAREP EVENT VAREP Los Angeles chapter Veteran Charity Fundraiser - Golf Tournament


Friday • August 24, 2018 Rio Hondo Golf Club 10627 Old River School Rd • Downey, CA 90241


WHO CAN JOIN? Any individual regardless if you have served or not. VAREP and its members represent and work within all sectors of the real estate, housing and financial services industries... WE WANT YOU!

View the full VAREP Events Calendar at:

https://varep.net/eventsfront/advocacy VAREP SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPTERS

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