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Meet Catherine Maranca of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Maranca.

Catherine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was 16, I moved from Dallas to San Francisco where I graduated high school. I was a full-time student at San Jose State University for two years when I decided to take on a part-time position in the Student Services office on campus so I could afford my first car. I remember my then-boyfriend teaching me how to drive a stick shift at the parking lot of a grocery store. Those two things (the desk job and learning to drive a manual transmission) gave me my first taste of true adult, “out on my own” independence, my earning capacity, freedom with a fun car, and all kinds of possibilities. I was then offered a full-time position with one of the Big Eight firms, Price Waterhouse, as a Junior Accountant and thought it was a great way to start my corporate career so I switched to a part-time student.

New opportunities for making better income kept coming my way and life kept getting busier and busier. So with three classes short of graduating from SJSU, and wanting to help my single mom more, I made the tough decision to not finish college and not get my degree. I don’t regret it one bit. From there, I kept working my way up in corporate America, quickly moving over to project management and technology. I was overseeing projects and programs at a major telecommunications company, then later managed the development of high stakes multi-million dollar career certification exam programs, globally, for the technology conglomerate Cisco in Silicon Valley where I led a team that won industry awards.

When I moved to North County San Diego right before the events of 9/11, I continued to work in technology. About the same time, I got the entrepreneurial bug and started my own event planning company. I did that for about four years then when my children got a little older, I knew it was time to shift my focus on something else. I kept getting sucked back into technology with wonderful opportunities, this time as a contractor and consultant.

One of the most fun I had was working at Petco headquarters and moved five major business operations from San Diego to their San Antonio headquarters, impacting all 1200+ stores nationwide. I also worked on very techy and very geeky projects with the chief architect such as E2EE (end to end encryption) for customer-facing card swipe machines.  But eventually, the creative and entrepreneurial side of me won over. I felt like I needed to serve in a bigger, more important way. I wanted to make a larger impact on people’s lives, and I found that by becoming a Realtor. I help families by making one of their biggest decisions and transitions in their lives as seamless and as painless as possible.

There is a healing process when you purchase or sell a house. The reasons for making the transition are a multitude, from getting a divorce to downsizing for new empty nesters, to upsizing due to aging parents, to relocating because of a new job. Even when the reason is a joyous one like a growing family, there is a grieving process from old to new.

We all leave behind sometimes a lifetime of memories when we move on to the next chapter of our lives. I love being there for those individuals and families whether it’s to simply walk them through the myriads of paperwork and facilitate communications with the many parties involved or to hold their hand every step of the way from beginning to end so they land comfortably in the new chapter of their lives.

Additionally, I have a passion for helping women entrepreneurs get connected with the people and tools they need to help grow their business. I’m the Managing Director for the San Diego chapter of eWomenNetwork, and I love helping women succeed in their life’s calling. Our motto is “Give first, share always, and lift as you climb”, and our mission is to help one million women each achieve $1 million dollars in annual revenue. The connections I’ve made while leading our incredible tribe of women (and a handful of wonderful men) have proven to be powerful not just professionally, but personally as well.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think life rarely deals us a smooth road. We don’t get to where we’re at unless we’ve experienced hardships and adversity. In addition to failures, those are where we learn our lessons from, but it’s also how our lives become more rich and meaningful.

In my 20 years in the corporate world, things were definitely smoother and easier. You have an office to go to, a boss to report to, a set of rules to abide by, responsibilities to be responsible for, a steady paycheck, and generally, the same people to interact with on any given day. You have a box to operate within, a limited space to play in because of your specific role… and with that, a ceiling as to how much you can earn.

With entrepreneurship, like in my previous event planning business, today as a Realtor, and as someone who helps women entrepreneurs, there is no box (i.e. systems and processes) and though that may sound perfectly ideal, it can create all sorts of challenges and struggles. You’re responsible for your own finances, sales, marketing, IT, operations, and overall success, and it can be tough. But the rewards are enormous. There is no ceiling and the possibilities are endless.

The biggest struggle for me, I think, was making the tough decision to let go of something predictable, safe, steady and familiar. I wanted the flexibility of running my own business so I can work from home and be there for my children as they grow up, to schedule my day as I see fit, to set financial goals I wanted to reach (instead of working towards another company’s revenue numbers). And a huge bonus that comes with owning a business is it allows me to reach out as far as I want when it comes to building relationships, growing my network, and meeting a large and diverse group of very talented, creative, like-minded people I might have never met otherwise.

I’m a single mom so deciding to become self-employed was risky and very scary. But there’s a quote that says that the thing you fear the most is the very thing you need to do. There’s also another saying, which I love, and that is “Success is not for the chosen few. It’s for the few who choose it.”

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Pacific Sotheby’s is the #1 real estate brokerage in all of San Diego County. We are one of the largest Sotheby’s International Realty franchises in the brand’s global network. By providing exceptional service, in-depth market knowledge, and unmatched marketing opportunities, we can ensure our clients receive every advantage in the market.

Because of this, I am uniquely positioned to assist my clients to meet their real estate objectives successfully. The direct affiliation with Sotheby’s auction house and Sotheby’s International Realty offers the company unparalleled global reach allowing my clients the benefit of receiving prime exposure to a network of more than 21,000 associates, and 69 countries and territories.

On a personal note, my experience in corporate technology allows me to interact with my clients at a higher and more professional level, yielding excellent communication skills, negotiation skills, and high attention to detail, which are all needed for a successful sale, purchase or investment move. Because of these reasons, my clients can rest assured that their transactions run smoothly and pain-free from beginning to end. I love to help people, and my compassion, authenticity and commitment are what naturally draw those people to me.

My team sold $70 million and 85 transactions in 2017. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, our relationships with our clients based on honesty and integrity, and our stellar reputation as a local and global reality company.

What were you like growing up?
I was born in Manila, Philippines, and my family emigrated from there to the US when I was six years old. My brother was four. We lived in New Jersey for a few years before we made Dallas our home and stayed there through our mid-teen years. Then when my parents divorced, I followed my mom to San Francisco. I lived in the Bay Area for 17 years before I made north county San Diego my permanent home.

I like to think I was a good kid, a straight-A student, active and had lots of friends. I was a Girl Scout for a short period of time and was in gymnastics for a little bit longer. In sixth grade, I won the Spelling Bee and advanced to the district level, but lost out on the word “sheriff” because my weakness was double letters. I think it still is.  haha I couldn’t remember if the “r” or the “f” was doubled, or both. In 8th grade, I won Pianist of the Year, an award I still cherish to this day.

In my early teen years, my competitiveness grew and so did my rebelliousness. But I think my rebelliousness was directed towards my parents more than anyone else. But I did not like anyone telling me what to do. It’s probably why I’ve escaped from corporate America and became my own boss. I think it was also the time when my creative side truly emerged. I sketched, painted, created things, sang in the choir, and learned to play classical music on the piano. I also fell in love with architecture and home design during that time.

I used to take the Dallas Morning News Sunday paper, turn to the home section, find the Home of the Week, cut it out (picture of the house and the floorplan), then stick it onto my scrapbook filled with other Homes of the Week from prior weeks. Then every once in a while, I would draft my own version of my own dream home, creating floor plans and so-called blueprints and paste them onto the same scrapbook. It was a lot of fun! That’s when I truly began to love everything related to architecture and real estate.

When I left Dallas and went to high school in San Francisco, I quickly made friends but honestly felt out of place. I transferred in the middle of the school year and it was difficult transitioning from a Texas school to a California school. It was the ’80s, and I was a Southerner who lived mainly amongst other Southerners and Asians were a minority. So it was quite a shock for me to move into a more cosmopolitan and much more diverse culture where Asians, Hispanics and African Americans were the majority at the school. But I ate it all up, got re-acquainted with my Filipino heritage, learned about other cultures, and loved everything San Francisco had to offer.

I figured if I were to fit in and enjoy the rest of my high school years, I had better make the best of it, so I got involved. I became a class officer, became a cheerleader, joined several clubs, and was soon one of the popular kids (being an Asian transfer from Dallas with a Texas accent and inserted mid-year into classrooms probably had something to do with that unexpected popularity).

After college, while building my resume in the corporate space, I modeled part-time in the San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. Then in my 30s, I took my competitive energy and trained to become a triathlete. I participated in endurance events such as Olympic- and sprint-distance triathlons, duathlons. 10k runs, and the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.

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