Updated: Sep 16
Lupe Soto on the Power of Believing in Yourself
An immigrant from México, Lupe Soto has been breaking down barriers for years, writing her own narrative and proving many naysayers wrong. “As a Latina that was born in México, I know that I must always perform far above the standard”, she says. Growing up in East Los Angeles, she had to forge her path to success. Now, she manages Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty’s Global Headquarters in La Jolla—one of California’s largest luxury markets.
But her journey was not easy. In the 1970s, Soto became the first in her family to attend college, graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) and she knows firsthand the power of education, mentorship and a strong community.
She experienced culture shock at USC during this time and was introduced to a world that was not always welcoming. “When I was a freshman at USC, my English professor would always ask me to sit in the back of the classroom and repeatedly told me that I would never learn to write well—because English was not my first language and because I am Mexican.”
This did not stop Soto. She found community in USC’s MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) chapter and distinctly remembers the words from one of her mentors/professors. “Lupe, if you can survive your first year at USC, there will be no door that you will not be able to open in the future.” And from that day forward, she saw herself as “unstoppable”. Far exceeding the expectations of that freshman English professor, Soto graduated from USC Summa Cum Laude.
“More than ever, believing in myself has been crucial to my success.”
She went on to become a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) elementary school teacher and soon found herself in need of additional income to pay for her Master’s Degree, also at USC. That is how, forty years ago, she decided to embark in a real estate career. After a year of working in real estate part-time, she took a leap of faith and became a full-time agent.
For Soto, helping families establish roots in a home, where they will celebrate many life milestones, brings her purpose. As a REALTOR®, she found herself in the role of community educator once again, guiding families through the process of buying a home, educating individuals on the power of wealth creation and helping her clients expand their investment portfolios.
In her early thirties, she shifted from being an agent to becoming the only Latinx and the only female partner in a business group of fourteen. “I started the branch with less than 10 agents and grew it to 125 agents!” she points out. Soto attributes her business success to her background—especially as an educator—and being focused on maximizing her agents’ strengths.
In 2016, she spearheaded Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty’s Global Headquarters in La Jolla, California. She recalls, “walking into a high-end luxury market was a new game for me with new rules and expectations. More than ever, believing in myself has been crucial to my success.” There, she’s established a strong reputation as the Branch Manager of one of the top real estate offices in San Diego County.
“I am proud to say that I have had a successful and joyful real estate career, but I cannot see myself as a professional without being involved with the California Association of REALTORS®. The experience of being part of so many committees, at all levels, has helped me in all aspects of my real estate career and in my personal growth.”
In unity with C.A.R.'s Latinx Professionals Network, she shares her vision with other Latinx REALTORS® as she invites everyone to find community, share experiences, continue to learn, get involved and “never, ever give up on yourself. Together, we can accomplish more, and we will make a difference.”
The California Association of REALTORS® proudly celebrates Lupe Soto as a Latinx industry leader.