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Front Page - Friday, August 9, 2019

Kemp, Rosales up for Latino Entrepreneur of the Year

Two Realtors are among 12 local Latinos La Paz Chattanooga has nominated for its 2019 Latino Entrepreneur of the Year award.

During the 2019 Latino Leadership Awards on Sept. 16 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Rocio Kemp of Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty or Yadi Rosales of Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty could hear her name called when La Paz announces the winner.

Open voting is taking place at app.donorview.com/wKDl.

The Latino Leadership Awards is an annual awards ceremony and fundraiser highlighting local individuals of Latino or Hispanic descent who have positively impacted their communities.

La Paz’s business development arm, Compania, will give awards to local Latino businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

The individuals and entities nominated for Latino Entrepreneur of the Year and Latino Business of the Year are members of Compania.

Criteria for the awards include being of Latino or Hispanic descent and having been a member of Compania for at least one year.

Rocio Kemp

Kemp is a Costa Rican native who moved to the US in the 1980s to further her college education. She became a Realtor two years ago.

Kemp likens the work a Realtor does to being a matchmaker. “I love conducting business in a field that’s about people. It’s not only a business transaction, I’m matching people with their new home,” she says.

Kemp also loves to see her clients achieve the financial and emotional security that comes with purchasing a home. “Helping someone buy a home is like helping them begin a new chapter in their lives,” she says. “It’s satisfying to have an important role in making their dreams come true.”

Since joining La Paz, Kemp has expanded her knowledge of the Latino community in Chattanooga. This has created business opportunities as well as chances to impact the Spanish-speaking community by reinforcing the notion that homeownership is within their reach.

“Many of the Spanish-speaking people here have rented an apartment or house for years and have been reluctant to purchase a home,” she laments. “My goal has been to provide them with hope – to help them believe in themselves and turn those years of hard work into a investment that will last a lifetime.”

Kemp says being bilingual has allowed her help the Hispanic community understand the process of buying a house. As a Spanish-speaking Realtor, she can either connect her clients with bilingual lenders, contractors, insurance agents and legal advisors, or act as the translator between her customers and English-speaking service providers.

Saying she feels blessed by the benefits of being a member of La Paz, Kemp has donated her time and expertise to the organization, hosting workshops on how to buy a house and volunteering as a translator for families that need to prepare an emergency plan should they become alienated due to their immigration status.

Rocio is licensed in Tennessee and Georgia and assists buyers, sellers and investors in both residential and commercial transactions.

Yadi Rosales

Texas-born Rosales says she’ll never forget how her real estate career began.

Rosales and her husband moved to Chattanooga when Volkswagen transferred her husband to the city. Nine “depressing” months later, she still had no job or friends, so she told her husband she was returning to Houston. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” she says.

Her husband mentioned how she had helped many of her friends in Texas stage their homes and suggested she become a real estate agent.

When Rosales called TREES, the lady on the other end of the line told her someone had just dropped out of the class that was beginning the following Monday, opening a single spot.

“I went to every class and learned everything I could,” she recalls. “It was the best feeling ever when I saw the word ‘Pass.’”

Her license in hand, Rosales called Peggy Pryor, broker and owner of Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty.

“I bought my house from Peggy in 2010,” she says. “When I asked her if she would take me in, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.”

Rosales calls Pryor her guardian angel. “She was there for me when I first came to Chattanooga and she continues to be there for me.”

Since becoming a Realtor, Rosales has actively helped the Latino community with their housing needs.

“I love helping people realize their dream of homeownership. It brings me joy when I see children running through a house, picking out their rooms, and the parents picturing their furniture there, as if they were already moving in,” she says. “Then, when it’s time to close on the house, the parents always glow with happiness, as if they have won the lottery.

“Seeing the happiness of others makes me happy.”

Rosales has also taught seminars on preparing to buy or sell a home.

“I’m blessed to be able to speak and write Spanish, as this has allowed me to serve others while also growing my business,” she says. “I know my Spanish-speaking clients enjoy the conversation and understand the process better when it’s explained to them in words they understand.”

Rosales says her business has “blossomed” since she became a member of Compania.

“Compania is always looking for ways to help entrepreneurs expand and spread the word about their businesses,” she says. “They host workshops that help us in our field and networking events that bring us together to socialize. This is important, as it allows us to help each other grow.”

Rosales has given back to La Paz in return. She’s held workshops at the organization, helped to organize its signature fundraiser – Sangria – and volunteered to assist Spanish-speaking parents as they register their children for school.

“I’m always ready to help La Paz when they need it. They do so much for the Latin community.”

Rosales is licensed in Tennessee and Georgia and assists both residential and commercial buyers and sellers. “I work with a lot of people who are relocating to Chattanooga, including people who are starting a company,” she says. “It’s my pleasure to help them look for the perfect place.”