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Standing on the Sholders of Giants



by Isabella Graziani

or surfing the wave. One thing I actually recognize while I’m on a wave is that my mind is so the clear and there’s actually noth-

alking up steps to the front door I slightly turned my head to see the surfboard propped up in the open garage and then continued my way to meet Chris. After being kindly greeted and let in, I asked him about his day. A coy smile started to expand across his face and his eyes started to brighten. “ I just came back from Santa Cruz, I was just surfing.” I look at him closer, he was wearing workout clothes and running shoes, not exactly what came to mind when I thought of Chris. We walked out to to the patio, sit down, and start to talk about surfing. “I’ve been drawn to the ocean my entire life and still to this day its meditational, whether I’m sitting on the water waiting for another set of waves to come

ing else I can think about during that moment when you’re on a wave. When you’re it all you’re thinking about is riding it or how you ride it. It’s like a clearing of the mind.” Chris told me all about how he used to skip some days in high school and hitch hike up to santa cruz to go surfing instead of sitting in class

listening to his teacher lecher. He recalled the first time he caught a standup barrel in college. “ I had to call my dad right after and tell him because I was so excited even though he didn’t surf,” Chris shared. Preparing for this interview I had different expectations, but then there are a lot of things that positively surprised me when it comes to Chris Trapani. Chris Trapani started a successful real estate company in Los Gatos called Sereno Group which has spread to other cities such as Los Altos, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Palo Alto. He took a chance by creating his business, a chance that he didn’t have to take. Sereno group’s goal is not only to make a profit but more importantly help the community around it. “We actually have a

1% for good program where we allow our salespeople to direct 1% of our growth’s revenues and these dollars get directly pumped into local causes,” says Chris. Chris tries to steer around the traditional corporate way of running a business and instead bases his business on the value of having a soul. In a field of business that is secluded and more about the individual, Chris Trapani tries to make his company a culture by bringing people together. Chris is also an excellent example of someone who knows how to balance and stay true to their values. Whether it’s his values and business, with his family, or his faith, Chris strives to be successful in all of them teaching people how to accomplish the same balance in their lives.

right corporate conglomerate. “Having the experience being an agent, and in the running a division of a company, gave me the diverse background and knowledge to have the con fidence to start my own,” states Chris. He started Sereno Group 7 years ago in 2006. Chris has always been someone who strives to be the better version of himself. Before Chris started Sereno group, his

the office and help the committed agents that stayed. When doubt crept into his body, he called his most respected mentor, his father. The call took place when Chris was in a dark men’s bathroom in the office sitting on the floor. Chris tells his father that he believes he made a career and life mistake going from top agent, successful, confident, with no worries; to a manager responsible for an office and 40 people looking to him to leadership and guidance. Chris’s father told him, “ I’m here in the middle of my pool on a raft talking to my son so very proud and so very jealous that you’re in the game, enjoy it.” Still sitting on the patio in Chris’s backyard, we start talking about his business philosophy. Immediately I see his eyes light up. He starts to tell me all about his business and how he likes to run it. He says, “We don’t ever want to become sterile corporate to the extent that corporate means no feelings, no sensitivity, where people don’t have a voice, where people are not encouraged to share ideas.” Right after he said this

“We are a for profit business but we don’t ever want to lose our soul.”

Chris Trapani has had a total of 23 years in the real estate industry. He was a sales agent for 10 years, but then his former company was acquired by a publicly traded company so that Chris worked his way into management. He was president in a regional Metro in Silicon Valley

first major steps in becoming who he is today was when he took on the role of manager. He was a top agent at Contempo

Realty when he stepped up and took on the role as manager in an office that was left behind by the previous manager and many agents. His role was to rebuild




and faith are completely

intertwined in business and family.�

he leaned forward to sit up the outside chair he was sitting. His body position was businesslike and professional but the emotion on his face screamed excitement. He started talking about the difference between vertical and horizontal business, while doing this he started to uses hands to describe what he is talking about. I could see that he is very passionate about his business philosophy versus a large corporations philosophy. “We want to be totally connected is in at the same levels are people because that’s actually more powerful, more in touch, and then everyone has a voice and sometimes their voices smarter and wiser than something we might have because we and be out of touch with something that they’re ex



or the future of Sereno Group Chris has aspirations to still keeping the number agent productive and keeping agents involved in the community. Chris wants to try and increase the social social reach of the 1 % donations. “The dollars we s like are able to give these companies its little nonprofits can make a huge huge difference.” The next organization Sereno Group is working to donate money to is Grind Out Hunger which is a Santa Cruz bases non-profit organization created by a skateboarder to help children in this community overcome hunger. Chris also

wants to expanding the Sereno Group offices to citieCarmel, Aptos, Menlo Park, and San Francisco. One of his major goals for the future is to work with large corporations to understand the importance working with an agency and its agents who are professional and community minded where the client and employee ‘s live. “Some people are able to compartmentalize and have certain levels of success and maybe one area and not in others, but for me it’s having that faith-based biblical wisdom is sort of the compass for personal decisions, family decisions, life decisions, and business decisions”

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