By Kellee Katagi
Daisy Lopez-Cid is an unstoppable force in the real estate industry. Under her leadership, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) has seen unprecedented growth in membership in key markets. Agents at her brokerage, RE/MAX Premier Properties in Kissimmee, Florida, are thriving. And her influence in the capital is helping remove barriers to homeownership for Hispanic families.
Lopez-Cid’s unmatched contributions to the industry made her a natural choice for the On the Shoulders of Giant Award, bestowed during the 2018 National Association of Realtors Conference and Expo in Boston.
Meet the woman fighting tirelessly for real estate agents and the clients they serve.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in late 2017, Lopez-Cid sprang into action, mobilizing anyone she could to donate hundreds of pounds of food, hygiene items and medical supplies. She and her brokerage team then delivered the provisions themselves, personally recruiting the help of the Puerto Rico National Guard to ensure they made it to eight of the neediest, off-the-radar municipalities.
This decisive action and hard work – borne from a passion for service – was not a one-off for Lopez-Cid; rather it’s her daily MO.
“She does tons of things for people. Not because she wants her name out there or to take credit, but because it’s in her heart,” says Laurie Turner, an agent at Lopez-Cid’s brokerage since it opened in 2007. “When she puts her mind to doing something, she does it.”
Case in point: Lopez-Cid initiated three new NAHREP chapters in strategic markets – Boston, Philadelphia and Puerto Rico – since becoming NAHREP president in February 2018. These new chapters – along with efforts like the chapter-coaches program she created before her tenure as president and still oversees – have contributed to NAHREP’s largest-ever growth. In fact, 10,000 new members have joined this year, a 50-percent increase over the previous year. The organization now boasts 85 chapters.
“As we’ve grown, a lot of people have seen what NAHREP is about, and we’re about growing wealth for our members,” Lopez-Cid says. “When people see that, they want their own chapters. Our biggest challenge is getting to everyone.”
The next market she has her sights on? Milwaukee, Lopez-Cid says. “There are a lot of Hispanic real estate agents and brokers there, and they want to hear more about what NAHREP offers and how it can help them serve their clients.”
Lopez-Cid’s impassioned dedication has inspired those she serves at NAHREP to dub her “The People’s President.”
“I really love going to my chapters,” Lopez-Cid says. “When I go, I don’t just speak at the chapters. I meet with them and we mastermind – we share thoughts about creating wealth.”
Creating wealth is something Lopez-Cid has a lot of thoughts about, because she’s experienced it firsthand. Growing up in New York City, she started doing odd jobs at age 11 to supplement her taxi-driver father’s income and help support her mother and two siblings. She’s been working hard ever since, serving as a paralegal to an immigration attorney in New York before moving to Florida and becoming a Realtor in 2002. A few years later, she poured all the money she had into starting her own brokerage.
“You go big or go home,” she says. “So I bought a RE/MAX franchise. It opened in August 2007, and in October, the market crashed. I had everything I owned in my business. I had 12 agents back then. I was their leader, so I couldn’t fail. I couldn’t let my people down.”
Lopez-Cid found her salvation in none other than NAHREP. “I found NAHREP in February of 2008,” she says. “From there, the friends and contacts, the network I had surrounding me, was amazing. They really pulled me through that challenging time. And here I am today.”
Now Lopez-Cid owns two offices with a total of 50 agents. “Ninety percent of my agents produce,” she says.
Lopez-Cid’s leadership contributes greatly to her agents’ success, says agent Blanca Armada, who started at RE/MAX Premier Properties after meeting Lopez-Cid at a local NAHREP event.
“She always goes the extra mile for us,” Armada says. “In the company, we’re like a family, because that’s how she makes you feel. She never forgets birthdays; she never forgets anything. And she always checks in with me. She can be super busy traveling, but she will always reply. There’s so much to learn from her.”
“I’m a RE/MAX broker – I wouldn’t change my brand. RE/MAX is my home and NAHREP is my familia.” Daisy Lopez-Cid
Passing on her knowledge is a priority for Lopez-Cid. “I travel across the country for NAHREP, and whatever I pick up, I always come home and debrief with my agents,” she says. “They know that when I come back from a long trip, I have information about policy, trends, resources – whatever they need to grow their businesses.”
RE/MAX has been another major factor in the company’s performance, says Lopez-Cid. “RE/MAX knows its brokers personally, hand in hand,” she attests. “RE/MAX knows who they are; it knows their struggles. I’m a RE/MAX broker – I wouldn’t change my brand. RE/MAX is my home and NAHREP is my familia.”
Ever since her business-saving boost from becoming involved with NAHREP, Lopez-Cid has been a force in the organization. She was instrumental in bringing NAHREP to Central Florida, serving as the area president for four years, and has sat on the NAHREP National Board of Directors since 2013. She also is consistently named to NAHREP’s National Top 250 Agents list.
Lopez-Cid has long used her leadership positions in NAHREP to focus on the big picture, traveling to both Florida’s and the nation’s capitals, working to influence policy on issues such as affordable credit.
“I make sure our people are heard,” she says. “Some of us don’t like politics, but in our industry, we need to be informed and we need to be a part a part of the solution. Don’t sit around and complain if you’re not jumping in.”
Her efforts are making a difference. A white paper she helped submit resulted in a temporary mortgage moratorium in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. And NAHREP’s work is influencing hearts and minds. “We’re the driving force right now,” she contends. “We’re changing how society looks at Hispanics. We’re not just the bad things people say about us. We’re entrepreneurs – we’re working hard, creating wealth.”
“NAHREP is changing how society looks at Hispanics.” Daisy Lopez-Cid
But what sets Lopez-Cid apart is that as she’s focusing on the big picture, she never loses sight of what is truly important: the individuals in her life who inspire her passion. Her daughter manages her office, her husband takes care of the finances, and she makes a point to connect daily with her 9-year-old grandson and 4-year-old granddaughter.
“If I get to see my kids, I’m good,” she says. “It helps me remember what it’s all about. Why do I do this? Why do I run all over the country? It’s so that my grandkids can go to college and come back without any debt and buy their own homes.
“And it’s for everyone to be able to make the dream of owning a home of reality.”