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Closing The Loop: Catherine Tappouni

Warren Miller

Catherine Tappouni was born into a family that owned a construction company in Jacksonville, but her first career was teaching. She left teaching to start a fitness business, married, and then moved with her husband to Sarasota.

"I sold the business to move with my husband when he was transferred. I wasn't sure I wanted to start all over, and I had the bug to be back in the classroom. So, I went back to teaching."

During those years, Catherine and her husband were pursuing adoption.

"We decided to start our family, and after a while we realized it wasn't going to happen the natural way. We decided on adoption. But the wait time for international adoption stretched from months into years, and I decided to work on my life as it was, and let everything happen the way it was designed."

At that time, Catherine Tappouni's sister, who had started her own construction company, asked Catherine to become the firm's education director, teaching green building.

"She was kind of relentless, and explained that I could work from home, and just travel to Jacksonville occasionally. That idea appealed to me, as well as the fact that our third sister also was working in the business. I accepted her offer. That started creating friction in my marriage, though, and I had more decisions to make. Those decisions brought me back to Jacksonville and into a divorce, which made the adoption null and void."

She was back with her sisters and in her hometown, but Catherine did not have her own family, or prospects of having one soon. Nor did she foresee that the real estate boom was about to end, and with it, her job.

"My sister and I agreed to move on, and I was leaping without a net. Whatever I did next, I told myself, had to be something that was closer to my intrinsic skills and personality. Somehow, real estate kept coming into my sphere of attention."

Catherine has been a Realtor for just over a year. It wasn't an easy transition.

"There's just no way to tell how long it will take for your business to get going. The reality is, it's all on you. But it was the first time that fear started to set in ... 'what if this doesn't work?'"

Real estate sales is working, however. It's not that Catherine Tappouni is a success after one year as a Realtor. It's that she's confident she will be.

"You just have to have faith in your abilities, in your energy level, pound the pavement and talk to everyone you know. You can't be afraid that somebody will say 'no' to you."

Warren Miller is a writer and financial executive who lives near St. Augustine, Florida.