Woman of the MonthMay 2016
Meet Cathy Bureau
Strategic Business Consultant of President, Green Home Realty, LLC
A funny thing about real estate, whether you’re helping a family buy a house, an empty nester transitioning into a new phase, or helping somebody grow their business, it’s always about making people’s dreams come true.
What do you do? I’m a Certified Real Estate EcoBroker, commercial practitioner and negotiator, which means I help people buy, sell, build, and lease residential and commercial real estate with an emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability.
Length of time at this job: Six years.
What is it that you like best about your job? Helping people make their dreams come true! A funny thing about real estate, whether you’re helping a family buy a house, an empty nester transitioning into a new phase, or helping somebody grow their business, it’s always about making people’s dreams come true.
Education/Major: MBA in marketing strategy from UTSA, class of 2005.
What career path led you to where you are today? I’m writing a book about women and their choices; It’s a five-year work in progress. But having struggled with working versus caring for my children physically and emotionally, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions that weren’t always in my career’s best interest. I worked in the travel industry after earning my marketing degree until I realized I needed to be home with my new daughter. I worked as an independent marketing consultant while primarily being a stay-at-home mom. Thinking I was ready to enter the corporate world, I pursued my master’s degree. It is with that sacrifice of time (and money) that I realized nothing is more important than my family so I sought out opportunities that would allow me to balance life and work. That’s the real challenge for today’s career women. During grad school I worked for the Staubach Company, a tenant representation company, when I walked away from a couple of corporate opportunities to pursue a career in real estate. I obtained my real estate license and worked my way through a couple of firms until I was ready to take action on my entrepreneurial spirit. I launched Green Home Realty and Green Commercial Realty in 2010.
When did you know that you were in the right place in your career? I’ve always been a helper. In fact my spiritual gift is hospitality. I’ve also always had creative ideas, so not being THE owner, my great ideas and creativity were stifled. As an independent contractor with various real estate firms, the same thing occurred. Eventually I braved it up to launch my own real estate company and enjoyed creating something from nothing. But when I started helping people buy, sell and lease, with an eco-friendly business model, I knew I wasn’t just helping others achieve the American dream, I was helping them build a better life. I can’t say exactly when I was enlightened to that realization, but I can say that it’s what drives me. I know this is where I belong.
Who were your mentors? Oh that’s a great question. Not so much in real estate as I’ve never really found anyone that I thought I wanted to emulate, but in general, I respect and admire Brenda Barnes, former CEO of PepsiCo for choosing to walk away from a CEO position to raise her teenage boys. “Children need you physically when they’re babies, but they need you emotionally when they’re teens,” she said.
What brought you to San Antonio? I was living in Flower Mound, Texas, when Scott and I had our beautiful baby girl Alexandria and baby boy Cory. We wanted them to know their extended family since Scott and I moved often with our families; military, etc. When they were still preschoolers, we packed up and moved to San Antonio to join my parents and brother.
What do you like most about San Antonio? This is a city of friendly people, much friendlier than other Texas cities. But it also has a rich history of architecture and culture. I’m Latina but didn’t grow up in that culture so I appreciate it and the German heritage in a way non-Latinos do. When you combine friendly with culture and beautiful architecture, you get a rich, vibrant city that nurtures the soul. I also like the weather and Hill Country, but that’s more about geography than people.
What community groups or not-for-profit groups are you involved with as a volunteer? I’ve been part of the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas; in fact I was on the committee that renamed the organization after San Antonio merged with two other council areas.. I was a troop leader, camp leader, cookie mom, service unit director and adult volunteer trainer. I served on the Alamo Forest Partnership Board, am currently serving on the Alamo Heights Chamber of Commerce board, and Holistic Chamber of Commerce board. At my church I serve on the welcome team and am assisting with our expansion project; which makes sense, being that I am a commercial real estate broker.
What do you like to do in your spare time or day off? Jazz festivals. Cultural festivals. Kayaking. Taking my dogs to the park. Watching Shakespeare in the Park at the Botanical Garden with my love. Having lunch with my kids. Not in any particular order. I’d like to learn to golf but the most progress I’ve made is buying cute hot pink golf shoes. I like to sew and write – I’m in the middle of writing the book I previously mentioned, and I like to pet my dogs, a lot. One of my dogs, Leonard, is getting a bald spot from petting, I think. But he likes the petting; he’s a rescue dog from SAPA.
What person do you most admire? Ronald Reagan. I value our freedom, and I value his commitment to freedom. I also value that he was a great man of character. That’s important to me.
What is your all-time favorite book? My all-time favorite book is the Bible. It’s always relevant and applicable. I like the app version because I can find what I need more easily .I get practical advice from Leviticus, parenting and marriage tips from Ephesians, wisdom from Proverbs., joy from the Book of Psalms. I get peace from the red words.
What type of music do you like? It depends on the time of day really, and my location. I like alternative, Latin, Jazz, blues, and classic rock music. I love Led Zeppelin and Santana. Stevie Ray Vaughn. Steve Miller Band – now I’m dating myself!
Who has been the biggest influence in your life personally and professionally?
Scott Bureau, my life partner and husband of 27 years! Besides being the love of my life and my best friend, Scott is my business partner. He is supportive personally and professionally, even when everyone else thought I should get a “real job” – you know, the kind with a guaranteed paycheck. But he sees how much my clients value what I offer in a way that others can’t; that I help make the world a better place. He’s my arm candy at awards dinners and networking events though that’s not his cup of tea. He does it without complaint. He’s also the vice president of Green Home Realty, LLC, managing finances and technology. Well, lately my son, Cory, handles the technology, but still Scott oversees those things that aren’t my strong suit. Scott exemplifies love and support the way it was meant to be between husband and wife. I’m a lucky woman!
How do you find balance in your life – career, community and home life?
For one thing, I work from home as often as I can. I used to lease in a high-rise, but I find that clients prefer to meet in their home or place of business, so I gave up my brick and mortar, which is not so uncommon these days. Not having to commute means not losing precious time or being interrupted by unrelated conversations by colleagues. I focus on tasks for a more efficient work process. I am self-disciplined enough to do that well.
I think it’s imperative to balance God-family-work in that order. As a member of the Christian community, I regenerate every Sunday. I fill my cup with God’s abiding love. I spend quality time with my husband and children. As my daughter Alexandria likes to say, “You’re my rock (mom and dad),” and I see home as the place of refuge. Sharing mealtime, supporting each other in our daily activities and creating special moments such as mom and daughter pedi days are important to me.
Work is awesome — it pays the bills and it helps others — but ultimately it’s a job, and that’s why I don’t let it run my life.
What is your favorite relaxation strategy? Sleep is probably the hardest thing for me because I’m a high-energy girl with a creative spirit, but I try very hard to sleep 8 hours daily. I use an eye mask and nature sounds often. I strongly believe in sleeping 8 hours a day because it makes you more efficient and effective. During the day, however, I often step away to have lunch with friends, even those I may have not seen since I was in elementary school. Those are the most fun, actually, because we’ve all changed so much. But my favorite relaxation technique is to stretch on my yoga mat while watching a Hawaiian vacation or listening to Brothers Cazimero, quintessential Hawaiian music
What are your goals? I’d like to be a better person tomorrow than I am today. That’s not so much a goal as it is my personal mantra. It makes me have to learn something every day or reflect upon what I have learned in the past. Professionally, I’d like to be the best certified green real estate company in San Antonio. In that, I will be able to help more people live more sustainable, value-based lives and have a healthier family.
What is the best advice that you have ever received? Failure is a stepping stone to success. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” (The Unrelenting Struggle, 1941)
People would be surprised to know that I … am one-sixteenth Chinese. I know I am from Texas and Mexico by way of los parientes, but it came to light in more recent years that my maternal grandfather was ¼ Chinese. I’ve always thought he looked a little Asian. It probably explains why I felt so at home in Hawaii and prefer Asian food over Mexican.