Betsy Serafini of Santa Rosa’s Terra Firma Global Partners wins North Bay Women in Business award
Betsy Serafini says professional women should seek to be genuine and authentic. She is a 2020 North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Awards winner.
Professional background: Business owner at the age of 20 for three years. Worked for various companies in administration and office management for six years. Licensed in real estate for 18 years and during this time worked as a Realtor®, licensed assistant, transaction coordinator and currently in my role (for the last 10 years) as the director of operations and partner for Terra Firma Global Partners
Education: University of San Francisco, Bachelor of Science degree in organizational behavior and leadership
Staff: Directly responsible for five staff members, but truly responsible for 65 real estate agents in addition to that
Tell us about yourself and your company: I am a Sonoma County native with deep roots running back to the late 1800’s.
My husband (who works in the wine industry) and I have been raising our family in Santa Rosa for the last 16 years. Our kids will be entering their junior and senior years of high school this fall.
I started working with the owners of my company 10 years ago when they came to me with the idea of creating a regional real estate brokerage that was like no other. Having worked for both large and independent brokerages in the past, I jumped at the chance to create something new with them.
I love the industry and this gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the field and help them grow at the same time. I run the operations for our company which encompasses everything from training associates to setting up systems, creating education programs to managing employees and so much in between!
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
I would say the ability to adapt to change and keep those around me calm in crisis situations.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
It’s not business related… but my greatest achievement is raising my kids to be the amazing individuals they are today.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Truly… it’s always time. There is not enough time to accomplish all the things I would like to in a single day.
Words that best describe you: Honesty, integrity
In what ways have the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders changed who you are as a person that will be a part of you long after the pandemic has passed?
It has made me realize that I enjoy human interaction more than I thought I did. I was already a supporter of local business, but I will increase that effort. I will continue to work virtually with team members as much as possible in order to save time driving from office to office and allow more time for myself and personal goals.
Also, what ways do you think it will change the way you go about your career and your business?
As mentioned above, I will utilize more virtual tools than before. I will make sure that my time spent face-to-face with a co-worker is more meaningful.
And when it comes to the COVID-19 issue, what are some the lessons learned for the business community?
I can only hope that businesses have realized that you can still have efficient and successful workers even when they are not sitting at a desk in an office.
I do believe in the need for office space in order for collaboration and conversation to occur, but it shouldn’t have to be 8 hours a day. Local businesses should be better at supporting one another, help each other survive downturns.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Finding balance between work and family would be my biggest obstacle. I strive never to put my family second behind work. I find a way to schedule business activities around my most important priorities at home.
I was fortunate enough to work for a company that allows for flexibility and values family. Not being tied to an office or desk for 8 hours a day is a huge benefit… it allows me to begin and end my work day when I want. Thus, allowing me to attend to family in between as needed.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I believe that my job will become more virtual.
Due to the pandemic, like many others, I have started using online methods to work with our agents. While I believe that face to face meeting and conversations are valuable…. educating, training, working with staff and other management can all be accomplished online.
Who was your most important mentor?
I would easily have to say my father…. Since I decided to follow the same profession, he has been an invaluable resource and leader. He is a teacher by nature, so watching and learning how he works with people has been extremely helpful. He values relationships, education/knowledge, honesty, and community. His patience and guidance have allowed others around him to grow and capitalize on their own strengths and abilities. He is amazing at pulling out the best qualities in people.
Lastly, he is a firm believer in community and supporting those around us…. Something we all strive to be better at.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?
Create balance in your life. The real estate industry can be a 24/7 job and often very demanding at times. Making sure you focus on your well-being is important no matter what profession you are in.
Other than that, understand that relationships are one of the most important aspects in business. Do your best to always be genuine and authentic.
Typical day at the office: There is no typical day in real estate… but emails, social media, prioritizing the day first thing in the morning… then off to meetings or sessions with the agents… followed up with more time on the computer in the afternoons.
Best place to work outside of your office: My backyard, weather permitting! I have the perfect set up with views of my garden.
Social media you most use: Facebook, Instagram
Stress relievers: Exercise, walks, hikes and reading
Favorite hobbies: Gardening, reading
What would parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?
Betsy is one of the most dedicated and hard-working people that we know. She sure isn’t shy about giving you honest feedback!