June 2014

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JUNE 2014 | BRAVAMAGAZINE.COM 53 S ara Alvarado is at a point where it's time to make a change. She's already a wife, mother of two and a success in her career. Today, at 39, she's known as a determined, ener- getic and innovative Monroe Street business owner of Alvarado Real Estate Group. And yet, she knows there's something more she's meant to do, a new purpose that calls her. ŀˬTREˬLIZˬTIONCˬMEˬFTERSHEREˬDˬDISTURBINGREPORTREVEˬL- ing stark differences between the reputation of the area she sells as a realtor, and the reality of what it's like to live here if you are in the racial minority. "I was shocked, and angry," Alvarado says. "And it made me REˬLIZEHOWMUCHRˬCIˬLDISPˬRITYCˬNIMPˬCTˬPERSONmSENTIRE life. We're talking about a child growing up in poverty or foster care, then having trouble in school and getting a job. Unfortu- nately it often ends in prison, or much worse…" ŀE3ˬCETO&QUITYREPORTRELEˬSEDLˬST0CTOBERBYTHE8IS- consin Council on Children and Families at the YWCA's Racial Justice Summit, uses indicators like graduation, employment ˬNDˬRRESTSTOHIGHLIGHTTHEQUˬLITYOFLIFEIN%ˬNE$OUNTY#UT every indicator shows a disparity between black residents and those who are white. ŀEDIFFERENCECˬNBEHUGEPERCENTOFBLˬCKCHILDRENLIVEIN POVERTYCOMPˬREDTOPERCENTOFWHITECHILDREN'IFTYPERCENT of black students don't graduate high school on time. Employ- MENT ŀEREmSˬPERCENTJOBLESSRˬTEFORBLˬCKRESIDENTSJUST PERCENTFORWHITEŀESEˬREJUSTSOMEOFTHEˬLˬRMINGǠNDINGS n*LOVETHISˬREˬo"LVˬRˬDOSˬYSn#UTHOWCˬN*LOVEITWHEN it's so unfair in this respect? I talk to people about being your ˬUTHENTICSELFˬND*THINKITmSTIME*ǠGUREOUTHOW*CˬNBEST use my own self to tackle this issue." It will be a learning process, she admits, but says, "I'm not afraid to fall down, because I will get back up to try again. Change can be a powerful motivator." Alvarado was born and raised in Madison, an upbringing she describes as typical, with parents who heavily encouraged her GROWTHINBOTHCONǠDENCEˬNDSPIRITUˬLITYŀEIRSUPPORTˬLSO empowered her to leave her hometown with an intention of never looking back. "I grew up here, and really didn't think I'd want to move back TO.ˬDISONo"LVˬRˬDOSˬYSn#UTITmSFUNNYHOWYOUROUTLOOK can shift, depending on where you are in life." Her early transformation included moves to Minnesota for college, California for work, and eventually Mexico to teach English. As Alvarado continued the search for her professional SELFPERSONˬLLYLIFETOOKQUITEˬTURNn$ˬRLOSOWNEDˬRESTˬU- rant in Puerto Vallarta. It's where we met, married and had our ǠRSTSONo"LVˬRˬDOSˬYS)ERTIMEIN.EXICOORIGINˬLLYSETFOR three months, turned into three years. 'ˬSTFORWˬRDTO5O"LVˬRˬDOmSSURPRISESHEDECIDEDTO move home, her young son and husband at her side. "I guess it SEEMEDLIKETHERIGHTTHINGTODO#UTTHEN*GOTBˬCKTO.ˬDISON and into the job market, and no one would hire me." ŀEREˬLITYSHOCKEDˬNDSCˬREDHER4HEHˬDˬFˬMILYTOSUP- port. Yet even with a college education and varied work experi- ENCES"LVˬRˬDOCOULDNmTǠNDWORK "Luckily, my dad worked in real estate. It wasn't something I'd ever thought about, and I even had some people tell me not to do it," Alvarado says. "After I heard that a couple of times, I decided to take the chance and make it my career." And she did, succeeding enough in the market to open her own business. Her tenacity, willingness to take risks, and change as NEEDEDˬREQUˬLITIESSHEmSLEˬRNEDTOUSETOHERˬDVˬNTˬGE "I'm proud of what I've built, and have fallen in love with be- ing the owner of my own real estate company," Alvarado says of the family business to which her husband Carlos has brought his ǠNˬNCIˬLˬNDBˬNKINGEXPERIENCE Change I S A C H O I C E IT'S ALSO BUSINESSWOMAN SARA ALVARADO'S MOTIVATION BY TERI BARR | PHOTOGRAPHED BY KAIA CALHOUN

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