She Knows How it Feels to be Scared
You might know Dana Whittaker who is serving as a 2017 NSDCAR board member representing the South Coast District. She is in her second year on the board. “Getting involved and giving back to your profession by helping others will lift you up, inspire you and open doors to meet the right people who can help you,” Dana said. “I wouldn’t have my position today if it wasn’t for NSDCAR.”
Dana serves as Carlsbad Sales Manager for Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. She has a true passion for coaching and consulting agents, teams and sales offices. She is certified as an Advanced Professional Coach by Quantum Leap Leadership. Many of Dana’s clients have become some of the most successful agents in the industry.
But did you know that Dana, in her 20s, sold animal hospital architectural services when she lived in Las Vegas? “I worked as a hostess at various conventions, and modeled a bunch of different things, from surf apparel to sunglasses,” Dana said. “One of my favorites was a veterinarian convention and an architect hired me to talk to vets about building animal hospitals. The vets would walk into our booth and try to trick me and stump me with questions, but I had read the brochures and I knew the answers, which helped the architect get more business.”
Dana moved to San Diego at age 7. She graduated from Helix High School (class of 1992) and from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in English. In 1998, she moved to Las Vegas with some friends. A year or so later, a friend recommended enrolling in a real estate school. “My intention was to learn about real estate so I could make money as an investor and not get ripped-off by agents,” Dana said. “Instead I became a sales agent and did very well at the start until 9/11 happened (on Sept. 11, 2001). Overnight, everything changed. The market came to a screeching halt. People in our office, which had been the number two Century 21 office in the world, were now struggling to make their house and car payments without escrows closing.”
Then, one day, Dana went home and found a notice of default tacked to her front door. “I know how it feels to be scared, I’ve been there at the lowest point,” she said. “I decided right then that I would do whatever it takes to make it in this business. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. So, I made cold calls and pounded the pavement in high heels in 120-degree weather and eventually saved my house. It was several months later, in February 2002, when I finally got my next closing.”
A few years later, in 2009, the recession hit, not long after Dana had decided to go into real estate coaching on a full-time basis. “The Vegas real estate market tanked again and that time I used survival skills I learned from my step-dad, who had served as a Navy Seal,” Dana said. “It was hard, but I helped our agents get their lives back. Some of them reinvented themselves with REO and short sales. Others were able to build new foundations for themselves. It wasn’t easy, but we made it through with a warrior mindset.”
In April 2011, Dana and husband Chris moved to San Diego to be closer to family. They got married in Maui, Hawaii. “It was supposed to be just a vacation, but then Chris proposed on Saturday and, four days later, we got married barefoot on the beach at sunset, it was beautiful,” Dana said. Today, Dana and Chris are raising two children, a son age 10 and daughter age 5.
After arriving in San Diego, Dana worked as a vice president for an independent brokerage in Carlsbad. There, she helped grow the office from 30 to about 100 agents, and increase sales by 431 percent over two years. In June 2016, she joined Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. “I work today with an extraordinary local team of people who are passionate about real estate and generously support our agents,” Dana said.
Dana is a strong advocate for NSDCAR. “First and foremost, our Association puts the interests of the brokers and agents as the top priority,” she said. “We are committed to doing the right thing, even when it’s unpopular. There is a willingness to do whatever it takes to help agents build, expand and protect their business.”