Distinctive Real Estate & Investments

Where some see obstacles, Mazzarella sees challenges. She was a divorced mother with two sons and no savings when she moved from Seattle to Las Vegas seven years ago. She found sunshine and a strong real estate market. Over the next three years, she switched from a commercial auction company to a residential brokerage and then started her own company, Distinctive Real Estate & Investments. By focusing on the underserved downtown market, she closed $13.8 million in residential sales; this year she expects sales to hit at least $16 million.

Sum of the parts: Mazzarella attributes her company’s success to a congenial culture that encompasses a diversity of backgrounds. “Each of our 10 sales associates and four unlicensed assistants has special skills, but we mesh into something bigger than any one of us,” she says.

Crowning achievement: Already the owner of nine investment properties, Mazzarella says her next project—and her first development effort—is a 22,000-square-foot commercial office building in downtown Las Vegas. The City Council had rejected the project several times because it would require the destruction of a historic home on the site; Mazzarella finally won unanimous approval by agreeing to move the home atop the three-story building. In the process she’s creating a new city landmark.