In spite of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2001, Tami Halton Pardee, a self-made entrepreneur, is currently ranked the number one real estate broker in Los Angeles. In addition, she is a mother of four and dedicated philanthropist.
Pardee is the founder, CEO and principal broker of Halton Pardee + Partners, a company that has sold over $2 billion worth of residential and commercial real estate. She takes a unique leadership approach that builds a strong culture of teamwork, capitalizes on the strengths of each member, and avoids employee burnout.
Her father instilled in Pardee a sense that she could do anything she wanted in life and that there wasn’t a glass ceiling. “He taught me that I should dream big and accomplish those dreams.” Never was that lesson more important than when she was diagnosed with MS. “The first three weeks after my diagnosis I literally couldn’t get out of bed. Each night I went to sleep terrified that I wouldn’t be able to walk when I woke up in the morning. It was so mentally crippling.”
This is when Pardee realized that she needed to adjust her mindset. “I acknowledged that MS was something that was going to change my life dramatically. Then I had to figure out a way to live in the now, without that crippling fear of tomorrow.”
Pardee took a year off from working to focus on her values and what was most important to her. She attended the LifeForward program through the Hudson Institute of Coaching in Santa Barbara, which gave her the tools to get her life under control. “I was able to hone in on what was important to me in each area of my life – personal, family, friends, business and community. I had to make a commitment to live within my values and be true to myself. I had to learn to give up things I could not change. I made visions boards for my life that incorporated creative ways to live in the moment and truly appreciate every day. Rather than letting the MS diagnosis set me back, I took control of my life and made an actionable plan.”
Pardee knew that she was passionate about connecting people. Going into the real estate business allowed her to create a company that serves as a powerful connector between people, properties, and neighborhoods. “Every day we meet incredible people – ones who have worked hard to buy their first home, ones that are selling a home they’ve built over time, and ones that are making the first significant investment in their future,” Pardee said. “Those connections are what I value the most in what I do for a living.”
Pursuing a career that is aligned with her purpose enables Pardee to “live a fully charged life. Every day, I’m able to bring joy to people during one of the most stressful times in their lives. Doing this, while also helping those in need, is how I define success.”
The greatest challenge Pardee faces in her everyday life is dealing with criticism. She explained, “For some time, I took criticism personally. Now if people aren’t talking about me, I worry that I am not at the top of my game. I take criticism as an incentive to keep striving for greatness. I’ve learned to focus my energy on my clients and employees – as long as I’m making them happy, that’s the ultimate compliment.”
The business leader is also passionate about giving back. Recently, Pardee was nominated by Los Angeles Business Journal for Philanthropist of the Year for her Life-Changer Program, which offers active participation and significant financial contributions to local charities, including Teen Project, Harvest Home, Homeless Task Force, Venice Community Housing Corporation, and more. To date, the program has donated over $875,000 to non-profits.
Pardee says that she created the Life-Changer Program because she feels that with success comes the opportunity to help others. “At Halton Pardee + Partners, our tagline is Opening Doors. Lifting Hearts. Changing Lives. We are connectors and strategists. We make a point to know our clients and the market better than any other company so we can always produce great results. And as we place our clients in their dream homes, we also strive to help those who do not have a safe home for themselves and their families.”
To other people looking to find a career they’re passionate about, Pardee offers this advice. “Take a step back, create a vision board, and then lay out the precise baby steps towards accomplishing your goals – not just the giant leaps. By looking daily at progress and celebrating successes, you’ll have the encouragement and drive to take on the challenges of each day. Before you know it, the small steps will lead to great advancement in your career that furthers your passion and life path. Believe in yourself, celebrate your steps, and enjoy the ride of doing what you love!”