By Arali Melendez
Photo by Charles Alston
From high-highs to low-lows, Mrs. Laura Contreras-Rowe has a defining story that has shaped her goals, values and overall life. In her recent schedule, you can find Contreras working in real estate, publishing books, conquering a documentary and traveling the nation as a National Speaker.
As a famished child, she viewed Nancy Lopez, one of the greats in the history of women’s golf, on TV during a tournament, and made a startling realization. “Wow, I don’t have to be like this or live this way!” Getting into sports pushed Contreras-Rowe and her competitive nature, shaping her into the woman she is today. After moving to Texas to work with her dad, she suffered damage to her right wrist and believed she could never play sports again. She soon realized that she had to excel, despite injuries and other life hurdles if she wanted to get anywhere in life.
While venturing into buying an investment property, Contreras-Rowe encountered problems with the parties involved in selling. Her competitive nature stirred her thinking. “I can do a better job than this person,” she said. From then on, she studied the industry and worked nights part time until she grew successful in the real estate business. In 2001, she sold 24 houses, estimated at 4.5 million dollars in sales on her part-time schedule and led her to win rookie of the year. “God gave me a gift I didn’t know I had,” Contreras-Rowe says.
By 2006, she opened her own real estate franchise and two years later opened a second one. It was important to her to have other partners who also had the same vision and drive.
She spoke at real estate conferences, and attendees became curious about her life story. “I didn’t know I had a story to tell,” said Contreras-Rowe.
One day, she decided she wanted to find a way to give back to the Hispanic community, of which she was a part. She began extensive research and checked national statistics on women who met similar criteria as her own. Contreras-Rowe then traveled to meet these women and document their stories, which formed a very successful award winning book she named “Aim High.” Contreras recently stepped away from ownership of the franchise she began years ago, which now gives her time to continue work on her biography and future inspirational books.
On meeting Contreras-Rowe, the first thought most people have is how does she manage to juggle so many responsibilities! “You really have to learn to balance your life.” She still works in real estate but returns to her family at a decent hour and doesn’t take calls after a certain time. Balance is something all business-driven women can learn to establish.
Many of us have great ideas, but where do we begin?
“Is your business idea something you love or is it something someone pushed you toward or gave you the idea to do?” The focus must be on us–on our talents and our dreams. Contreras-Rowe urges us to research your career path as much as possible. Sir Francis Bacon’s statement, “Knowledge is power,” aptly applies here.
Although we don’t like the idea of having to sacrifice what we love—whether it’s a material thing or an intangible such as time, it might be a sacrifice worth making for the future. If we have the drive and the “fire in the belly,” as Contreras-Rowe likes to put it, then we should pursue our dreams, without hesitation.
Fear is always a major part of achieving our goals. “As humans, we aren’t born with fear,” explains Contreras-Rowe. “If you are not willing to take a risk, you’ll never get anywhere,” she says. She mentions the analogy of a polar bear stuck on a small iceberg. Being stuck might scare the polar bear, but when he sees a fish, then he has no choice but to plunge into the water for food. Polar bears were created to swim! “In business, you can’t let fear get in your way. If you let it get to the point where fear overwhelms your life, you’ll never move forward,” explains Contreras-Rowe.
“You need to follow your heart,” Laura Contreras-Rowe insists. “We women are built with this incredible intuition or what I like to call, spirit. If you want to start a business and feel good about it, then follow your heart…..Don’t let the past define your future.”
With those inspiring words, we can learn to fly, following our dream, and thrive in success.
Visit Laura Contreras’ website
About The Author
Arali Melendez currently works in marketing and spends most of her free time photographing weddings, fashion and more. Arali has a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and loves to write about influential topics.