Coldwell Banker Bain is proud to share its platform to recognize AAPI Heritage Month (May), which honors the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success. Within our own organization, Tina Nguyen of Mercer Island Upside Properties is an integral part of its success; her team recently won Best Team Award by Seattle Agent Magazine. As a first-generation American born to Vietnamese immigrants, Tina shares her story and how her heritage and work experience helps serve her client base.
Tina's mother is the second oldest of nine siblings. She, her three younger brothers, and two older sisters left Vietnam in phases in the early 1980s, intent on immigrating to the United States. Her mom and two sisters had a long journey that took them first through Malaysia, then the Philippines for six months waiting on approval to go on to Seattle. They arrived by plane in 1984 and Tina was born a few years later.
"My mother is the strongest and hardest-working person I know, and she never faltered. She had a home-based daycare for 20 years," Tina says. "She's taught me so much about discipline, integrity, and treating clients like family. She's been an entrepreneur her whole life and I look up to her in every way."
The industrious nature must be genetic, because Tina has cultivated a rewarding career in real estate following a career in medical interpretation. Her work foundations began with childcare and the restaurant industry.
"I enjoy working with people and in teams while also being very independent," Tina says. "I worked in the restaurant industry for eight years, where I helped my customers and assisted my team's customers in the front of the house and the staff in the back of the house; there's always something to do."
Tina also opened and ran a licensed childcare facility for over three years where she and her business partner aligned their goals and divided the daily workload to scale it into a thriving business.
"When all team members know their parts in the business and can produce, that's when you're able to make new goals and see how well you can do," Tina says. "Working with children taught me to keep things fun and be prepared for the unexpected, because anything can happen.
Tina became a Certified Medical Interpreter after graduating from the University of Washington. She notes she's always gravitated towards jobs where she can work with others and be of service. Her clients included medically distressed immigrants, and she says they were always grateful for her help. She assisted her community with their regular appointments, surgeries, therapy sessions, and more.
Working as a medical interpreter, Tina said she could quickly adapt to different medical teams and effectively communicate the patients' needs. This field also afforded her practice in delivering sensitive information to minimize confusion. "The professionalism and work ethic that doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and staff provided to patients and me was an excellent experience to learn from and later implement in my business," Tina says.
With her attention now fully focused real estate, Tina has built a clientele of which approximately 30% are Vietnamese. Tina's own professionalism, clear communication, and attention to detail are why past clients regularly request her. Working with families and exceeding their expectations has been a critical driver of her success as an entrepreneur. Having 80% of business come from client referrals showcase that her client's satisfaction comes first.
Tina networks with her community via social media, by keeping in touch with her Vietnamese contemporaries in the real estate industry, and by attending community events and holiday celebrations. When she has extra time, you'll find her catching up on news in Vietnam or watching Shark Tank Vietnam to keep a pulse on the country's emerging businesses and entrepreneurs.
Keeping established relationships is also important to Tina. For that, she taps a CRM and she also self-tracks. She keeps a list of current and previous clients on her phone, stays in touch, and maintains an excel sheet – updated monthly complete with birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones (recognized with cards or small gifts).
She's been in the shoes of a new realtor and offers these tips to help those just starting out:
Tina's words to live by tell you she doesn't mind a challenge or hard work. Her go-to quotes are: "Mind over matter," "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity," and "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."
We're grateful to recognize the life experiences Tina brings to her career, her clients and her award-winning team. During AAPI Heritage Month and every day, we thank Tina for being a part of what makes Coldwell Banker Bain so dynamic.