With her three-year anniversary as a broker for NAI Realvest approaching mid-month, Veronica Malolos has much to reflect upon.
As 2018 begins, she’s headed into a new role as Chair of the Osceola County Planning Board – the first minority woman ever elected to the post.
Malolos will guide the commission in ensuring that land development falls in line with the county’s growth plans, and continue with NAI Realvest aiding commercial property investors. But it’s quite a jump from where her story begins … which is, for the most part, on the other side of the planet.
Malolos was born and raised in the Filipino capital of Manila. A culturally diverse city, Malolos enjoyed many of its spoils; her father’s prominent posts within the nation’s financial and government institutions afforded her and her sisters lots of opportunity.
“My mother really believed in putting us in all kinds of classes,” she told GrowthSpotter, “like painting and dance and Hawaiian culture…. And though I went to the University of the Philippines as an architecture major, I ended up moving to Singapore to pursue a career in music.”
An accomplished singer and performer, Malolos worked internationally from 1983 to 1989, eventually heading to California where one of her sisters had moved. Two others, however, had gone completely rogue from their Filipino weather roots, settling in the Midwest.
It didn’t take long for Malolos, whose band toured in some prominent circuits during its height, to find her way to Minneapolis, where one of the city’s most famous (and definitely most purple) sons was renowned for discovering new talent.
“I performed in Prince’s club, Glam Slam, and ended up doing a demo for him.” Though the song didn’t go anywhere, to have cut a demo track with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis – two of the most influential architects of pop R&B – may well put her in the 1 percent club when it comes to successful musical-career attempts.
Though Malolos was doing well in Minneapolis, the needs of her family – particularly an aunt who was diagnosed with cancer – took her to New York City, where she embarked not only on her first day job in retail management, but on motherhood. Her son is now 22.
Malolos continued to scratch that music itch, as well, playing in a successful wedding band on weekends.
“We did all five boroughs – high society weddings on the Upper East Side, gigs on the Jersey Shore and out in the Hamptons. Bar mitzvahs, too!”
Not long after, Malolos met the man who’s now her husband of 17 years. Single parents, they merged families -- his three children and her one -- and enjoyed life in New York for a time before the events of 9/11 prompted a move to Orlando, where in the years since her sisters have settled.
The joy of having their own baby was punctuated by fear, when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer at three-and-a-half months old. “I had always wanted to do real estate, even when I lived in New York City,” Malolos explained. “My daughter needed me and it was an industry that is very flexible with regard to hours, so I quickly got my broker’s license and opened a residential shop with my husband in 2004. We did that for about eight years.”
Their daughter, who Malolos calls their “miracle baby,” not only survived, but thrived, as did her mother’s career. By 2011, Malolos was a managing broker for ReMax in Kissimmee.
A leader in various real estate organizations, Malolos decided to pursue CCIM membership in 2014 – and in the process, met her mentor – NAI’s Managing Director Robin Webb.
“It was difficult for me to shift from residential to commercial because I was a managing director at that point,” she admits. “I was one of the top producers in my office, but I decided to take the plunge and go for it.”
Mentor Webb hired Malolos and the rest is history, though she’s happy to keep music in the periphery. She and her two daughters joined the Choral Society at Johnson University this past summer, and recently performed at Epcot as part of their annual Candlelight Processional during the holidays.
The family – which includes Malolos, her husband, five kids and two grandchildren – enjoy a Filipino dinner every Sunday and lots of travel together. “When you go through the experience of cancer,” she explains, “it really keeps you wanting to always be in a thankful mode. We celebrate,” she says warmly. “A lot.”