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It May Look Like Veronica Malolos Keeps Starting Over, but She’s Just Building

May 1, 2024

Filipina native Veronica Malolos has a tight rein on time management. “I lead a very calendar-driven life,” said the founder and managing broker of minority-owned CapStack Commercial, which serves the Orlando area. She is a commercial broker, aspiring developer, investor, public speaker, podcaster, social media influencer, Realtor and current or past leader in multiple real estate associations. And that’s not an exhaustive list of all she does.

She landed in Los Angeles from the Philippines in 1989 to support the career of her then-husband, an acclaimed Singaporean drummer. But the couple soon split, and Malolos found herself alone in a strange country with an empty calendar and no support system save for sisters living in other states. “One of the immense challenges of being an immigrant is that you have no network to count on,” she said. “I left everything I built in Asia to come to California. I had to find my own place in a community where I knew no one, with no cohort here like I had there.”

Though Malolos was educated at some of her native country’s finest schools — including Saint Theresa’s College, University of the Philippines Diliman and Philippine School of Interior Design — those degrees carried minimal clout among U.S. employers. She would, in effect, have to start over.

After becoming a U.S. citizen and moving to Central Florida’s Osceola County in 2000, Malolos doggedly built a network from the ground up, carving out a successful, decade-long residential brokerage career before her commercial calling. She was named the county’s Realtor Star of the Year in 2008 and Realtor of the Year in 2011, both as a top producer for RE/Max. She served as president of the Osceola County Association of Realtors in 2010. And she became district vice president for Florida Realtors, the country’s largest state real estate association, in 2014. Malolos also jumped into member-advocacy roles for the National Association of Realtors and was accepted into the NAR’s competitive Leadership Academy.

Her Switch to Commercial

“I kind of fell into commercial real estate in 2012, to be honest,” she said. Her role as Osceola County Association of Realtors president opened the door to the local chamber of commerce’s Leadership Osceola group, which then connected her to the city of St. Cloud. “St. Cloud’s city manager asked if I’d be interested in selling the city’s commercial parcels left over from the 2008 financial debacle,” she recalled. Concerned she may be overreaching, Malolos nonetheless took on the challenge alongside her thriving residential brokerage business.

She and a mentor on the commercial side answered a request for proposals for the work and won. “It was a tremendous opportunity, yet very challenging to make that transition,” she said. “The skill sets are so different.” The lucrative, albeit drawn-out, venture netted $13.5 million of deal volume over a five-year span, eventually yielding a Walmart Neighborhood Market, seniors housing, multifamily housing, offices, industrial, a Ladybird Academy childcare and education center and additional retail.

Malolos hired into NAI Realvest as a commercial broker in 2014, and in 2020, in the height and quiet of COVID, she founded CapStack, which has grown to handle land sales, site selection, retail leasing and development, investment sales and industrial and office leasing. She completed the St. Cloud multi-use project with CapStack.

Her Many Many Extracurriculars

Along the way, she also evolved into a social media force. Last year, Malolos was a CREi top commercial real estate Instagram influencer. And in mid-2023 she launched the now weekly Women Influencers in Business & CRE podcast, seen on Spotify, Apple, Google, Instagram and YouTube. It’s designed to inspire women in different stages of their lives and careers, she said. Among her guests was ICSC vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion Jazmen Johnson. They had met previously to discuss ways to attract more women of color to the annual ICSC+CENTERBUILD event, which is oriented to development, design and construction. Always in pursuit of industry wisdom, Malolos asks each podcast guest: “If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?”

Veronica Malolos, at bottom, and Quiet Valor’s Sarah Malcom, at right, celebrate making Otso’s list of 2022’s Most Influential Women in Commercial Real Estate. Joining them are, counterclockwise from Malcolm: Beyond Commercial’s Amy Calandrino, who would win in 2023; Baum Realty Group’s Deena Zimmerman, who had won in 2021; Otso Co. president and award creator Marissa Limsiaco; and Limsiaco's wife, Kyla Winlow.

In demand as a speaker herself — she addressed the C5 + CCIM Global Summit in Atlanta this past fall, for example — Malolos laments she must turn down most speaker requests due to her tight schedule. She credits Toastmasters for laying the groundwork for her podcast and public-speaking personas.

Malolos holds the CCIM Designation, which took her five years to attain. “CCIM is like the Ph.D. of commercial real estate,” she said. “It’s a global designation, and many people don’t realize how challenging it is. It was a game changer for me because it’s an instantly recognizable symbol of proficiency and professionalism.”

And she has been studying The CCIM Institute’s Development Specialty Track, determined to establish herself as one of the country’s few female developers. To that end, Malolos found her education in the Philippines useful after all. “I learned how to work with developers in the building space both from the technical side and on buildouts,” she said, “and I learned the consumer side of commercial buildings, as well.” She already has development deals in the pipeline for retail, residential and industrial projects.

Malolos has an extensive history of giving back. She got the NAI Realvest job in 2014 via the CCIM’s Florida Central District mentorship program, and in 2025, she’ll become president of the very district that mentored her.

And in deference to another community that supported her, Malolos is serving a four-year term on Osceola County’s Board of Adjustment. Separately, she has served on the Osceola County Planning Commission, which is responsible for the preparation and amendment of the county’s comprehensive plan, for 10 years running. She served three years as chair of the commission, the first minority woman to hold the office. “It’s an honor to be connected to the people who welcomed me here and educated my children,” she said. “They are the network I didn’t have. I also think it’s important for the community to have diverse voices at the table.”

A graduate of multiple leadership academies, Malolos is also 2024 national chair of NAR’s Commercial Real Estate Research Advisory Board. She recently completed University of Pennsylvania Wharton Executive Education’s Scaling a Business program, with the goal of building generational wealth not only for clients “but for myself and my team.” Malolos also has served as a mentor for Take Stock in Children of Florida.

How does she squeeze all this in? She said Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his emphasis on “putting the big rocks first” has helped her organize her life. Among the many mentors who’ve guided her, Malolos cited CCIM 2017 global president Robin Webb, who previously had hired her at NAI Realvest, and CCIM mentor Ben Crosby of Crosby & Associates among the most influential. “They are giants to me,” she said.

In her scarce spare time, she enjoys nature, family visits, traveling and concerts, recently carving out time to see Sting and Billy Joel with her husband, Manny Malolos. The couple has raised five children and are expecting their eighth grandchild.

Veronica Malolos and her husband, Manny, at a recent Billy Joel concert

Veronica Malolos feels CapStack is well-situated for the future. “I am fortunate to be entrenched in the third fastest-growing county in the U.S.,” she said. CapStack will continue full speed with brokerage services as it expands its development division, she said. “We will continue to create a value proposition for my clients and my team. That’s what they’ll need to stay with us and keep us successful and growing.”

Veronica Malolos, right, with her daughter Inez, front; son Vincent; and his fiancee Laura at the couple’s March engagement party

By Steve McLinden

Contributor, Commerce + Communities Today

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