Having experienced first-hand the struggles confronting Hispanic women aspiring to climb the ladder in real estate, Maggie Antillon-Mathews decided to share her story—along with the stories of other inspiring Latinas who have overcome myriad challenges along the path to success.
In her latest book, “Latinas in Real Estate: Stories of Passion, Resilience and Breaking Barriers in the Real Estate Industry,” Antillon-Mathews offers readers the personal insights, challenges and successes of 14 contributing authors through this recently released anthology.
“I’m so happy to share these stories so we can inspire and help other Latinas create successful real estate careers,” says Antillon-Mathews, managing broker at Realty of Chicago. “I want them to know that they have a homegrown network of supportive and industry-seasoned women they can contact and get advice from.”
Maria Patterson: How did you get your start in real estate?
Maggie Antillon-Mathews: I was a social worker by trade, but took a class and found myself selling real estate. I applied my love for assisting and educating others to real estate. The business has been a rollercoaster for the last 20 years. For the first five years—not being experienced and not being mentored, and being in an industry that is very male dominated—I had a hard time. And then the market crashed. But it was through this time that I received the greatest lessons. You can only grow from the dust.
MP: When did you turn the corner in business?
MAM: In 2013, I closed 88 deals and got together with people who wanted to mentor and help me. Once I did that, I became a top-producing agent. I was named Managing Broker of the Year by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, one of my biggest accomplishments, and now I’m also a trainer and a teacher.
MP: What were some of your biggest struggles along the way, as a woman and, in particular, a Latina?
MAM: Well, first, I’m five feet tall. I always looked very young—like I was 14. And being a first-generation Latina, I did not have the mentorship. I was the oldest in my family and my parents didn’t speak the language, so I had to help everyone else. But those are the things that make your story. I didn’t have the confidence, but I always knew I had something in me. It took a long time to become successful.
MP: What or who were your greatest motivators?
MAM: The women who come to this business with nothing—who are single moms or in abusive relationships or come from a little village and want to change their life—are the people who inspire me. They are the reason I do what I do.
MP: The past two-plus years have seen so many changes. Do you think things are getting easier for Latinas?
MAM: We’re strong and resilient, and with education and empowering each other, Latinas are finding their voice. We’ve been looking for each other all these years, and by seeing someone just like them, they can say, ‘I can do whatever I want.’ Take leadership roles, get involved in the community and do something for yourself. Don’t pay attention to the noise.
For more information, visit https://www.latinasinre.com.