Hispanic Heritage Series
Part I of V
She has salsa danced with Bill Clinton, worked successfully with Federico Peña and John Hickenlooper, and is the co-founder of the Latina First Foundation, but despite the political capital that she has garnered over the years, Juanita Chacon keeps her focus relatively simple.
“I don’t define success in the traditional terms of how much money you make or what kind of car you have, but by the difference you can make in your community,” said Chacon, a Broker Associate with RE/MAX Alliance Central. “I think the greatest gift you can give someone is to introduce them to volunteerism.”
Latinas First Foundation
Though she has been in the real estate industry as a broker for over 30 years, Chacon credits among her greatest accomplishments her community involvement over the years. Among that involvement is the Latinas First Foundation, which Chacon created alongside Meshach Rhoades as a means to provide a network and support for Latinas to reach their highest potential.
“I really didn’t understand how huge it would be,” Chacon said of the Latinas First Foundation, which last year granted 14 scholarships to young Latinas and honored the recipients of both the Trailblazer and Unsung Heroine awards at its annual luncheon. “We went from our first year of 150 (luncheon attendees) to double the second year and each year we have added on about a 100 more. Our last luncheon had over 700 women.”
That kind of growth has also allowed several women within Latina community to be honored at the annual luncheon. Including those who are not often in the spotlight, despite their continuous community involvement.
“I kind of felt that by showcasing successful Latina women, that I could show young women - specifically young Latinas - what success looks like,” Chacon said of the purpose of the foundation. “These stories are very much like their own stories: came from humble beginnings, then achieved greatness in whatever their field was by being the first.”
As for the Unsung Heroines, Chacon added that though they may not be household names, they deserve credit for their deeds.
“These are women who do extraordinary things in our community but are often not recognized, they kind of fly under the radar,” she said. “These are women who have done community service for 25 to 30 years, but they aren’t household names. There are other heroines out there that I really felt were equally as important to showcase.”
The Chacon Group
Having served and held numerous positions on over 27 non-profit boards as an advocate for the Latino community, Chacon has a wealth of knowledge to impart. With her recent endeavor, the Chacon Group, she is doing just that. The Chacon Group is a group of five women - including Chacon - whom she is mentoring to become successful realtors in Colorado’s unpredictable housing market.
“This group that I’ve formed, I’m really proud of it,” Chacon said. “Going through a very, very bad recession was done by unethical realtors and lenders whose only skill was that they were able to speak the language and they took advantage of our community in ways that took away all their wealth.”
With the Chacon Group, Chacon said she is focused on not only mentoring strong realtor, but creating pillars in the community.
“That’s the piece I think about when I’m developing these young women is doing the right thing,” she said. “If you don’t want to volunteer, just make sure you’re giving the best customer service and you’re putting your clients in good loans and good programs…that’s how we’re going to make change in our community.”
With the possibility of retirement from the real estate industry on the not-too-distant horizon, Chacon said she wants to develop the Chacon Group to ensure ethical practices far into the future.
“I take it as my personal mission to see these women be successful,” she said. “I want them to be successful soon.”