Teresa Mack: Master Pivoter, Agent of Hard Work

Real estate powerhouse Teresa Mack is crushing it. She is the co-founder of Pacific Playa Realty, an 80+ agent urban luxury boutique brokerage in Los Angeles, where she is a Top Producer.

A supportive team player and inspiring leader, who has built a massive network of high-value clientele, she is a self-motivated, hardworking, and honest, problem-solver who finds creative solutions while remaining human-focused amid complex issues.

With an invincible spirit in business, Mack has pivoted and made strides in four different industries—Accounting, law, hospitality, and currently real estate.

I spoke with the busy wife and mom of three about why and how her pivots are successful, the silver lining and challenges amidst the pandemic, tips for women wanting to change their careers, and the importance to go with your passion.

Q. You started out as an accounting agent in college. What made you want to be in accounting?

A. As a second-year student at CSU Northridge, I learned about business as a major; the department was “impacted”—a fancy way of saying full and not admitting anybody else—and they were not adding any students to the program. I was a frustrated Political Science major. Having the mindset of, it’s not if I can do it but how I can do it, I started talking to every professor, counselor, or dean about being a business major. I was repeatedly told that the department was impacted however, I continued my quest and became more determined to be a business major than ever.

CSU Northridge had an award-winning accounting department; however, I didn’t know what “accounting” was. My father and mother had well trained me to be an engineer or a lawyer, two fields that in the late 80s guaranteed a good job. However, I kept asking the same question, “how can I get into the business school?” Like a parrot that eventually gets a treat, I finally came upon a faculty advisor who said that he had a friend in the business department that had been trying to start a Minority Business Program.

Q. Why did you go into law and what made you leave?

A. After my dad’s untimely death, without a trust, my siblings and I had no choice but to settle his estate in probate court or the courts of hell as I lovingly refer to them. I didn’t want anyone else to unwittingly end up in probate court, and if they did, I wanted to be the kind and trusted professional who could help them navigate the process. So, I went to law school and became an attorney.

I left law and went into real estate because I had three young children and I wanted to see them grow up. I wanted to go to Career Night and not have to take a call in the hallway, and wanted to drop in their class during the day if needed without needing permission from anyone to leave the office; I wanted a nanny out of convenience, not a necessity.

Q. Was it hard to transition into different industries?

A. Not really because besides being an attorney, I was an entrepreneur who owned and ran two national restaurant franchise locations in L.A., so I was already working in two different industries.

Q. What challenges did you face during the pandemic?

A. The most significant challenges during the pandemic were: (1) communicating evolving standards of safety, contractual modifications, and acceptable marketing practices in conformity with Federal, state, and local laws and orders; (2) keeping the culture of our close-knit company intact, ensu