Amanda Marsh and Amie Quirarte shared their personal experiences at Inman Connect New York on Thursday and talked about channeling endurance and resilience.
Article Originally Published by Inman Connect
When Amanda Marsh was 15, her life turned upside down.
While visiting her extended family for Thanksgiving in November 1993, she received a phone call from her grandfather detailing the unthinkable: Her mother, father, and sister had all been killed in a car crash on the way to pick her up at the airport, leaving her an orphan.
“I went from being a 15-year-old carefree teenager that wants to go to the mall, to a part of me died with them that day,” Marsh told the crowd at Inman Connect New York on Thursday. “That was my life-defining moment where I looked internally at ‘who am I going to be?’”
Marsh, an agent at Cantrell Real Estate in Springfield, Missouri, spoke on a panel with Amie Quirarte, of Tahoe Luxury Properties, moderated by Inman CEO Emily Paquette about channeling endurance and resilience when confronted with dramatic change.
For Marsh, becoming an orphan left her faced with a choice in how to respond and grieve. Instead of letting herself be crushed, she found ways to be resilient.
“I was not going to crumble, and I was not going to let tragedy define my life,” she said. “I wanted to make my family proud.”
As a result, Marsh says she has kept herself busy for the past 30 years.
“I have been busy since Nov. 27, 1993 — call it what you want, it’s probably most likely a trauma-based response — to pour myself into absolutely everything that I do,” she said. “I’m passionate about anything and everything… it has helped me to become the businesswoman that I am.”
For Quirarte, real estate offered an opportunity to succeed regardless of her background.
Quirarte’s father committed suicide when she was 9 years old, and her mother struggled with drug addiction. She was raised by her grandfather, who was married to an addict.
“We had a lot of turbulence in my life,” she said. “Most of my life was spent going in and out of homeless shelters, not knowing where my next meal was going to come from.”
When her grandfather died, Quirarte moved to Santa Barbara to attend community college, a moment she felt was her first opportunity to escape her family’s troubled past.
Because she had no family to support her, she worked several jobs to keep herself afloat while attending school and ended up having to drop out of community college.
“I have never felt like such a failure in my entire life than I did at that time,” she said. “I genuinely had no idea what I would do that would be different than what I was destined to do.”
But then, she started working in the real estate industry.
“It sounds really cheesy and really cliche, but it changed my life in a very big and important way,” she said.
Real estate presented itself to Quirarte as a world where she could achieve real success and where her background couldn’t slow her down, and the only thing that mattered was her own competence.
“It didn’t matter, my education background or my family background,” she said. “Real estate does not discriminate. Success in this business is truly what you make it. It does not have to be about where you came from or what success you’ve had in other ventures. It’s all about you, and that’s awesome.”