In this interview with the past president of NVAHREP (Las Vegas), Alex Garza shares with fellow NAHREP members how he got started in the organization, his involvement in local politics and the wisdom of Dr. Zuess.
Job/Position: Strategic Markets Executive, First American Title
Years as a NAHREP member: 4 years
I was recruited into the organization by Jason Madiedo. I credit him with really getting the ball re-rolling for NAHREP Nevada. I remember attending our first meeting and being able to almost touch the vision he had for NVAHREP.
Different roles in the organization:
NAHREP has given me the opportunity to grow as a leader. I feel that one of the benefits that we have to offer is the many leadership positions within the organization. When I joined back in 2004, I was fortunate enough to be allowed to take a seat on our local Board of Directors. This gave me the opportunity to learn from the many accomplished professionals already guiding our local chapter. Being around so many talented individuals, was quite a humbling experience. Throughout the years, I have chaired our membership and government affairs committee as well as been fortunate enough to serve as Secretary and 2008 Chapter President. Every position I have been fortunate enough to be elected to has reaffirmed my belief that the most important leader within our organization is the individual consumer that we serve.
What is your mission as a real estate professional?
I worked as a realtor/broker for several years before entering the title side of the real estate industry. Throughout all my years in the real estate industry I have always been in the pursuit of excellence. Our profession is so much more than a commission. We are the gatekeepers to the dream of homeownership. It is through our service that dictates whether it is a pleasant dream or a nightmare.
One of the people that nominated you for NAHREP SPOTLIGHT wrote, “Alex Garza, former NVAHREP President, is a rising star in the Latino political community in Las Vegas.” Tell us more about your involvement in local politics.
As our Latino and Asian communities grow, so does the need for advocates of our issues. Whether we like it or not, each one of us is intimately and professionally affected by the legislation passed by our elected officials. Initially I was an unwilling participant in the political process. I was pushed into helping on several campaigns based on the ability I have to organize and motivate people. As I became more involved I began to see the tremendous opportunity to benefit our community. NAHREP’s yearly convention in DC helped strengthen my resolve to become more politically involved. One of the directions that we will be taken NVAHREP in this year is to become more involved with local and national legislative issues. Seeing the importance of politics, last year I founded HIREPAC (Hispanics in Real Estate) with the help of a good friend and NAHREP member Robin Camacho. This year I have also teamed up with John Fukuda and our local AREAA chapter and created AREPAC (Asians in Real Estate). These two political action committees will be used to lobby locally and nationally for issues that are unique to our needs. As with everything I believe in, the issues we support will be directly consumer driven and represent the needs of the community.
Share with us a life philosophy or motto you live by as well as a business principle you feel has been integral to your success.
Is there any any greater philosopher than Dr. Zeuss??
“Where you go be the best of the best, and where ever you go you will top all the rest!… Except when you don’t because sometimes you won’t…. Just never forget to be Dextrous and deft… remember that life is a great balancing act. And will you succeed yes you will indeed!!” Dr Zeuss Oh the places you’ll go!!
Words to live by!!
Tell us a highlight of your involvement with NAHREP up until now.
My few short years with NAHREP have provided many highlights. Each friendship I have made is a highlight in itself. The successes that we have experienced in Las Vegas are the direct implementation of the many ideas shared during the networking opportunities with great leaders throughout the United States. I am a huge believer in the benefits of our national conferences. Every NAHREP member has a story to share and a lesson to teach.
If I had to pick one that stands out, it would have to be the opportunity of guiding our local chapter during 2008. When I was encouraged to run for President for 2008, Las Vegas and the nation were in the beginning of a historic real estate slump. The fact that we were able to flourish as a chapter is a testament the many talented leaders that we had guiding our local chapter. In particular, I would have to thank Noah Herrera and Juan Martinez. These two were crazy enough to believe in my vision for NVAHREP and have been unwavering supporters of our mission. During this difficult time when banks were failing and the economy was struggling, we implemented an aggressive vision to grow our chapter and provide true opportunities for our members. During this tumultuous year, we grew our chapter and put in place the systems that have led to our tremendous growth in 2009.
What are your expectations, or hopes, for the Las Vegas Hispanic community in the near future and how do you plan to help make that happen?
As is the case with many of our members, I share a familiar story. My parents were undocumented immigrants to the United States many years ago. If there is one thing they taught me was the value of hard work. Recently on facebook I saw a picture posted by NAHREP member Rob Heering a gentleman who has accomplished so much in such a short time with his Casa Latino real estate franchise. The picture was of a poster that read “Immigrants welcomed here”. Reading this put everything into perspective. We are a nation of immigrants. Just as my parents came and established themselves through hard work and sacrifice, so have people from so many other cultures.
Las Vegas is no exception. Our Latino population has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade. However, while we have the population numbers, we are still lacking the representation numbers. We need to continue to work hard to promote more Latino’s to run for office. I currently sit on the Executive BOD for the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Through that organization and NVAHREP I have drafted some proposals to help groom our young Latino professionals for leadership opportunities. I can’t give it all away now, so stay tuned for some additional exciting things
What was the last book you read or are currently reading?
I am an avid reader. I enjoy historical books that teach something as well as children’s books. Okay, maybe the appreciation for children’s books have come at reading request of my three children. One of my favorite adult books would have to be In Light of India. Those who know me well, know that my wife is from India. Octavio Paz did a wonderful job at comparing and contrasting the Mexican and Indian culture in this informative and captivating novel. It was as if he wrote the book just for me. The interesting thing, is that there are so many similarities between the two cultures, a point I am sure you could make with all cultures in the world.
What is something that most people would be surprised to know about you, but don’t
In my younger days I was a pretty good athlete. I started on several state basketball championship teams as well as took several state championships in track and field. That was many years ago.