Lady exec serves as steady ‘anchor’
Life is what you make it.
Such was the mantra that Elizabeth Ventura took to heart while traversing the long and difficult road to become one of today’s most powerful figures in the real estate industry.
The president of upscale developer Anchor Land Holdings Inc., who hails from Ilocos province, was born to a family of entrepreneurs and politicians.
And so growing up, this pretty lass witnessed first hand the highs and lows of, and strategies in running an office and a business—all of which would eventually prove to be crucial in her own journey.
“My grandfather had a compound where most of his businesses like the restaurant, hotel, cinema, and a bank were all located. We actually lived and stayed with him. I was what they called his sidekick, so at an early age I was already exposed to the way businesses were run,” Ventura recalled.
“I remember when I was still in high school, I would bring papers of all sizes, pens, ballpens and erasers that I would sell to my classmates. And sometimes, if I have many cash collectibles I would even do promos—I would give special offers or freebies. Indeed, I have my family to credit for teaching me to become an entrepreneur, the influence in my being a trader really came from them, because at an early age I already saw what it means to run a business,” Ventura recalled.
This was why even at a young age, Ventura was able to see the demand and opportunities in every situation. According to Ventura, she was unconsciously trained that way.
Growing up, Ventura recalled that she would constantly be reminded by her father and her grandfather of two things.
“First was to never borrow money from anyone no matter what the reason may be, and second is that life is what you make it, meaning your success and failure would solely depend on you. So you can’t blame people for failing,” she said.
And these were what kept Ventura on track, despite having her fair share of ups and downs, of hits and misses while growing up.
As she was well aware that she is the anchor of her own ship and one truly in command of her future, Ventura made sure there will be no other way for her to go but up.
“I must admit that life was easy for me then and that whatever hardships or challenges I may have encountered were mostly self-inflicted. But it was okay because otherwise, I won’t be able to learn and excel. In fact, I could have easily settled for a comfortable life in my hometown but I wanted to achieve more, I believe that I was destined to do greater things,” Ventura further shared.
Carving a niche
As such, despite growing up in comfort in her hometown, Ventura continued to look for opportunities outside that would allow her to carve her own niche.
She deemed the opportunities in Ilocos to be too limiting at that time and so Ventura decided to pack her bags, leave all the comforts she was accustomed to, and headed for Manila.
“There was not much opportunity in Ilocos then, except for me to become a politician or continue the family business—that’s why I decided to move to Manila. I could have taken it easy and just settle for what we had in the province, but I had big dreams. Thus, when I left Ilocos, I knew there was simply no looking or turning back and that I had to do everything that I can to make a name for myself,” she shared.
Ventura realized that to make a difference, she needed to get a job that would pay well and allow her to grow at the same time. This realization brought her to real estate as a sales agent—a job that proved to be a perfect fit for her.
“I wanted to be in sales and real estate proved to be the perfect option because of the incentives and the kind of training and exposure that you will get. I started my career with a different developer and I was one of the first few employees. I must say, I did quite well and the numbers that I produced were quite impressive—enough to give me a good advantage over others,” Ventura recalled.
“Being in sales, I would always remind myself and my teammates to think of our jobs as the only option and so we have no choice but to really excel. This was the time when I started to fully appreciate what my grandfather would always tell me that ‘life is what we make it’, that my success and failures are my own, and that I cannot blame anyone if I don’t succeed. So I made sure to work hard and constantly hit my quota,” she added.
To make a mark in the sales industry, Ventura knew she had to level up her game. Hence, she devised strategies that gave her a crucial advantage.
“During my time, there were those who entered sales just for the sake of experience. In my case, I worked really hard and made sure that I was strategic in the way I do my selling. I didn’t do saturation and I never gave away product flyers. What I did then was to stay at hotels and coffee shops, befriend the employees there, and ask them to give me leads,” Ventura related.
“It came to a point then that the hotel staff would start telling me whom I could possibly tap as a potential client. I would then try to introduce myself and ask if they might be interested in the property investment I’m offering. Luckily enough, I was able to seal a lot of deals. I also invested on myself to make sure that I would be respected,” she further explained.
While the industry proved to be tricky, difficult, and at times exhausting, such strategies proved to be quite effective as Ventura gained quite a number of clients, enabling her to consistently hit her targets and be on top of her game.
But not one to rest on her laurels, Ventura continued to hone her craft by taking further studies and joining organizations and companies that would later become crucial in her career.
“When I became successful in my networking process, I knew right away that I would be able to master the art of selling real estate. Little by little, the things that I planned for was already starting to materialize and produce good results. Along the way selling became easy for me because I was able to create a good and reliable network. I developed good relationships with my clients, with whom I continue to have ties,” Ventura claimed.
Such a sterling track record and discipline paved the way for Ventura to hold far more important roles in various companies, before she eventually joined Anchor Land Holdings Inc., a company she considers closest to her heart given the history they both share.
“I joined Anchor Land during its infancy so we had a lean team, with only 10 people on board… I said then that I wanted to stay in this company, but I was also aspiring for a higher position. So I went out to hone my craft and learn more about business development and marketing,” she said.
Ventura joined Anchor Land late 2004 and became its president by 2010.
“I didn’t really aspire to be the president but yes, I wanted to handle other tasks apart from sales, like marketing, business development and other matters related to selling,” she said.
Although real estate is perceived to be a male-dominated industry, Ventura felt that being a woman at the helm of a property firm proved to be an advantage because she brings to the table a different perspective. A woman could put charm to any dealing, too, she added.
“The best part about holding this post is the maturity I gained especially in handling matters, including the most difficult ones—like being able to eat your pride and chew it well. You really have to be patient even under pressure,” she said.
“My being a woman, when it comes to work, proves to be an advantage indeed, because you get to charm your way out and soften every difficult situation there is,” Ventura concluded.
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