A story of self-made success always begins with those we are surrounded by. Realtor Lorena Peña grew up with a strong vision of the American dream through principles instilled by her parents who taught her the value of hard work, staying the course and always giving more than expected. This internal compass provided her with the vision and drive to build an illustrious career in Real Estate; she quickly rose to the top as a young industry leader, while also impacting the greater community through her transformative work with multiple organizations, including SABOR and the Junior League of San Antonio. Peña shares her journey, her deep-rooted passion for giving back, and the women who were behind-the-scenes throughout her life, molding her into who she is today.
On her journey:
My real estate journey is unique because I jumped right into it after college, as opposed to many agents who often pursue one or two careers before becoming a REALTOR. Although self-employment as a post-graduate with looming student loan repayments was motivating, I approached real estate with the same discipline and tenacity I would have applied to any other career path.
I found a transformational mentor and took any opportunity that I was offered, from cold calls to floor duty and everything in between. I studied contracts, shadowed agents on listing appointments, and I even went on countless home inspections because I wanted to know the ins and outs of the industry.
I was fascinated by how, although everyone worked in the same industry, they practiced completely different approaches. It became my goal to learn to develop my own. I have been at RE/MAX Preferred, REALTORS since I started sixteen years ago, which is very rare. I truly grew up with some of the best in the business, and through them I learned not only about the transactions of real estate, but about how to manage a business. Thankfully, I have earned several awards along the way and have been blessed with clients who are a constant reminder of why I do what I do.
On career development:
My curiosity to learn has been key in my development, but growing up with immigrant parents who instilled in me the importance of having a strong work ethic and achieving the American Dream has always kept that inner voice reminding me to stay the course and to give more than expected.
Even beyond that, I was taught that when you succeed it is your duty to give back. I became involved with my local Association, the San Antonio Board of REALTORS (SABOR). My first big commitment with SABOR was to help establish the Young Professionals Network. I worked on that project with other young REALTORs who I am lucky enough to still call friends.
I was elected to the Board of Directors of SABOR because of that opportunity, and then to the Executive Board of Directors, and then ultimately to serve as Chairwoman of the Board. I have also held positions on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association of REALTORS and the National Board of Directors.
On personal passions and lessons learned through community involvement:
I am passionate about the real estate industry and being involved at the leadership level, but living a well-balanced life is also important to me. Amidst my career involvement, I also make sure that I give back to the city I love, San Antonio, and that I maintain relationships with my family and friends.
Empowering people to reach their potential has always called to me. Servant leadership is something I continually refer to as a guiding force in my life, but it is especially prevalent in my leadership roles. Through my involvement with the Junior League of San Antonio, I am able to directly empower other women. I cannot express how much the Junior League has impacted my life, and how I have seen it impact the lives of others.
With the Junior League, I helped start a leadership program for women, established new training opportunities, created a membership-wide park clean-up initiative, helped inject energy back into our organization and…along the way, cultivated relationships that are priceless.
I firmly believe and recognize that no leader does anything alone. Throughout all the positions I have held, I have been surrounded by incredible, strong women who helped me make each project happen. I was honored to be awarded the recognition of Active of the Year, and serve as President of the Junior League of San Antonio. I still give back to the organization whenever I can.
The Junior League prepared me for the leadership roles I hold now. As Chairwoman of SABOR, I saw the opportunities to engage our city but knew from my nonprofit experience how impactful that could be. We have collaborated with different groups and have tried to make SABOR more inclusive and visible. So far, it’s working.
On her personal female hero(es):
My parents gave me the tools to succeed in life, and they get most of the credit for being such positive influences, but it was really the strong women who surrounded me throughout my childhood that molded me into the woman I am today.
One of them was my maternal grandmother. Even at a young age, she told me something that has stuck with me my whole life. She said (loosely translated from Spanish), “Lorena, you must learn to do everything, because if you are rich, you will not be taken advantage of; if you are poor, you have to do it yourself.”
My mother taught by example from her strong faith, showing us how important family is. I can’t begin to list all of my girlfriends whom, through their everyday struggles or achievements, inspire me to be better and do more. From fostering children, to advocating for people who can’t advocate for themselves, to starting businesses and fighting for justice, I am truly in awe of the women I am able to call friends.
I could go on and on about Oprah, Condoleezza Rice, or Eleanor Roosevelt, who I look to for inspiration. But when I think of my true female heroes, they are the women behind-the-scenes that must get up everyday knowing they have to make a difference in this world.
Elizabeth Gilbert said it best, “The women I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”
This profile was (Em)Powered by The Osburn Peña Group at RE/MAX Preferred REALTORS® .
Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.