When Life Throws Curve Balls
Regina Emberton grew up in Mishawaka. When she went to Indiana University Bloomington to study public and environmental affairs, she didn’t think she would return to the community to work within commercial real estate. But, as she says, “Life throws you curve balls.”
Regina returned to the area to finish her degree in public administration from Indiana University South Bend. “My schooling was focused on community and economic development. I got involved in the city’s economic development departments, and I fell back in love with the area.”
After receiving her degree, she took an internship with the local real estate firm CBRE|Bradley. Thirteen years later, she is vice president of brokerage services for the company. “I have had a great opportunity to learn about the company over the years,” Regina says. “It’s not what I had set out to do. I thought I would be a city planner or in economic development in more of a non-profit or municipal organization. Through my internship, I learned a lot about the community. I saw that I could really make as big of an impact in the private sector.”
Impacting others, both in and out of the office, is a driving force in Regina’s life. She volunteers for various organizations and is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County and Downtown South Bend Inc. Plus, she helps out at her daughters’ schools.
With working, volunteering and raising 15-year-old Tori and 5-year-old Ellie, it would be easy to get overwhelmed, but Regina has learned to take a calmer approach: “I guess it’s all about balance. There have been times I have been focused in one area of my life and at other times I’m focused on another. Sometimes, something might slide, whether that’s working out or religion or field trips that I can’t chaperone. But I try to focus on what the priority is for my family at that time.”
Regina admits that at times, this balancing act takes a bit of juggling. “Everybody has to balance a million things each day. You just have to put everything in there and juggle it.
In the grand scheme of things, it all works out,” she says. “You just have to be confident that you’re doing the right thing for yourself, your family and your career. If not, maybe there is an adjustment you need to make. Something has to give sometimes. You just have to let one thing go for a little while and know you will get back to it.”
One of the things Regina is letting go of is having a hobby. “I don’t have time for personal hobbies. Most of our free time is spent with family, relaxing, or catching up on magazines or books. Someday I will scrapbook. I’ve been putting that off for 10 years now.”
Though Regina didn’t set out to become vice president of a commercial real estate firm, she took intentional steps along the way and now finds herself exactly where she wants to be. And, she couldn’t be happier with what she has accomplished and where she is today.
For those beginning their careers, Regina’s advice is to surround yourself with people you can learn from and to be proactive: “To anyone starting out, I would say look for a company that has professionals you respect. Surround yourself with people who know more than you do, so you can learn from those who are great examples. Working really hard makes a big difference. You can make a big impact by pitching in and taking things on, by raising your hand for an assignment. Stretch your limits and stretch your comfort zones. Take on a new challenge. It’s a great way to grow in any aspect of your life.”
Regina is proof that staying flexible, embracing the unexpected and taking on new challenges can lead you to places you had never imagined. Life might have thrown Regina a few curve balls, but with intentionality and focus she managed to hit them out of the park.