It has been an interesting year, like no other.  A year ago, on November 21, 2019, my family welcomed Giovanni Philip Calandrino into the world.  After spending time off with him, I returned full-time to work in March 2020. 

By mid-March, the country went into a complete shutdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. The most exciting things for most Americans at that time were either watching The White House press briefings or keeping up with Joe Exotic and Netflix’s Tiger King drama series. The country was at a complete halt! And things began to feel more apprehensive with a series of layoffs, companies filing for bankruptcy, and the rising death toll.

As a new mom who just invested significant capital into buying our building and also experienced lost income from time off with my baby, I would be lying to you if I did not tell you that I was worried at first.  But, as I thought about the outcome of my company’s operations, I soon thought of the people I serve — my team members, clients, and partners. I pride myself on being a servant-leader, which is something that I’m willing to go to the furthest extent to actualize.

With a decade in this industry, navigating rough waters is a familiar tale, but this one felt like no other. Operating a business during a pandemic is one of the few times that I’ve faced a fight or flight situation. I decided on the former — to stand up and fight together and rally my team.  We soon pivoted to spending our days and nights immersed in webinars learning about opportunities for my valued clients and leading them through this crisis.  We found ourselves working more hours than ever, many weekends, and making excruciating sacrifices to pull things together.

Amid the uncertainty, our efforts as a team were paying off: we made the Orlando Business Journal’s rankings as a Top Commercial Real Estate Brokerage in Central Florida and I was recognized both locally and nationally as a rising commercial real estate agent. Leveraging our reputation and incredible culture, I was able to recruit additional team members including Commercial REALTOR®, Savannah Lee, alongside a Project Coordinator, Nicole Young.  Nicole has already accomplished quite a bit by optimizing our Salesforce platform and adding integrations with several systems to streamline our operations.  For instance, we are now utilizing a project management system allowing us to increase both volume and quality and provide more accurate information.

During this time, the marketing needs of both my firm and hubby Phil Calandrino outgrew our internal capacity, so we’ve decided to launch our dedicated marketing firm.  We founded Verde Works with the sole mission is to deliver exceptional marketing solutions to tenacious entrepreneurs seeking to grow their businesses. Joseph Fanfan, our Marketing Manager, will oversee Verde Works’ creative efforts.

Even with the increased workload and changes, I decided to expand my family.  My husband Phil and I are expecting again. It’s a baby girl this time around! She will be born in April 2021, 17 months apart from our son, Giovanni! We are also grateful for being able to purchase a new home two minutes away from the office, which allows us to have a better work-life balance. We are filled with excitement as we gear for the holidays and make preparations for the new year.

Without question, 2020 has been a unique and challenging year, but there are lots to be thankful for. All of this could not have been a possibility without the support of our team members, friends, and partners. Thank you!


Amy Calandrino, CCIM