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How One Woman Fueled Her Dreams With Her Severance Package

Constance Carter is used to being able to get a lot while only having a little. Managing to work as an IT analysis with only a high school diploma is a testament to her hard work and savvy.

By Ryan Velez

Constance Carter is used to being able to get a lot while only having a little. Managing to work as an IT analysis with only a high school diploma is a testament to her hard work and savvy. However, she would eventually manage to become the CEO and broker of Catalyst Real Estate Professionals, a Stockton, California-based real estate firm specializing in sales and lending—and it was a severance package that got the ball rolling. Black Enterprise shares her story.

While she used her severance package to finance a real estate license, Carter’s start in real estate was a rather frightening one. On the last day of her corporate job, Carter’s husband got laid off as well. While he got a job to make ends meet, Carter spent six months building her new venture, but had nothing to show for it.

“There was barely enough money coming in but I knew that actively building my business was paramount to my success.” In time, she ended up becoming one of the top agents at a real estate firm, being offered a management position. This gave her the opportunity to learn as much as she could about the industry. Today, Carter boasts a transaction portfolio estimated at $200 million, and her firm has 34 brokers, agents, and staff. Its mission, as she puts it, is about building, educating, empowering, and sustaining legacies through real estate. She emphasizes sticking to her core values as well.

“God is the center in everything we do. Family is why we do what we do. Business is the way we build our legacies. Giving back is essential to building strong communities. We have an excellent group of agents who understand the culture and share the same core values about their business. Ideally, we’d like to train, develop, and sustain about 75 agents,” adds Carter.

We’ve written in the past how real estate can be a great way for Black families to build generational wealth—something that African-Americans are severely lacking in compared to other cultures and ethnicities even as their general finances improve. Carter believes in evangelizing homeownership to make it more attainable for everyone. “We believe if you have a job, then you can—and should—own a home. We’ll help you work through the details. We don’t say you can’t, we show you how you can and provide a step-by-step blueprint on how to become a homeowner,” she says.

On top of their normal services, Catalyst also offers monthly workshops on credit, investment, and homeownership through a real estate school the company owns and operates.

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