Mai-Lan Trinh is a highly acclaimed and celebrated Real Estate luminary. Her expertise and experience in the industry have earned her international recognition, including the prestigious FIABCI Medal from The International Real Estate Federation. As a former Board Director for FIABCI-USA and World Council of Development Institutes, she has made a significant impact not only in the real estate world but also in the Vietnamese community globally through her tireless efforts towards its growth and development. Her numerous awards are a testament to her unwavering dedication and achievements, making her a true leader in both her profession and community.
Growing up during a tumultuous time of war, Mai-Lan experienced the challenges of starting anew at the tender age of five. After her family lost everything in the conflict, they were forced to begin a new life in Saigon, South Vietnam. Through this experience, Mai-Lan developed a deep appreciation for her family’s history and work ethic as they worked tirelessly to start afresh.
Tragically, in 1968, Mai-Lan suffered the loss of her younger sister, who passed away at the young age of nine due to hemorrhagic fever. She recalled, “Later, we found many of her beautiful and beyond talented paintings of the Buddha and Quan Yin in her study notebook, which has reinforced my religious beliefs and guided my life principles till today.”
Despite these difficulties, Mai-Lan cultivated a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. Her family’s fabric store provided her with early exposure to the business world, where she assisted her older sister and gained valuable insights into the field by accompanying her father on trips to the bank. Her father also provided her with hands-on accounting training. She adds, “Despite my parents’ success, they lived a humble and simple life, dedicated to giving back to their community and supporting those in need.” These values were deeply ingrained in Mai-Lan, who continues to embody them in her personal and professional life.
However, the circumstances in Vietnam soon escalated due to the war, leading Mai-Lan to escape and seek refuge in the United States. Her primary focus was to ensure her survival in a foreign land. She recalled the daunting precedent: “At the age of 26, I ended up at a refugee camp with one sibling. ThereI volunteered for the Red Cross and Salvation Army, took English classes, and formed lifelong connections, including a French teacher who became a close friend. Due to my hard work, the SEARS Company offered me sponsorships in Dallas and the University of Connecticut. However, after being interviewed and accepted by the University of Oklahoma, I chose to become a teacher in Burns Flat, OK.” She continued, “During that time, I lived with my uncle’s family, taught, and helped my brother attend university while caring for my young cousins.”
However, she soon received a letter from her family asking if she could sponsor them in the US. She says, “After years of hard work, I finally reunited with my entire family in Houston after sponsoring them to the US through the Red Cross. My parents opened an Asian supermarket, my husband and I went into business, and I became a REALTOR.”
She reminisced about her early days as a realtor, “I decided to embark on a career as a REALTOR in partnership with my brother. We were dedicated to learning more about the industry, attended almost all seminars, participated in training sessions, and visited builder’s open houses. I’ll never forget my first deal – a commercial fast food chicken joint for $450,000.”
Her entrepreneurial spirit honed through her grandfather’s distinguished career as a Schlumberger developer, coupled with her commitment to serving others, provided the foundation for her successful journey in the real estate industry. In this field, Mai-Lan says, “My purpose extends beyond just real estate development; I seek to improve the quality of life for others through my work.”
Her belief that change for the better is always possible drives Mai-Lan not just to develop real estate but also to guide others in expanding their businesses, mission, and purpose. She takes pride in being an instrument of positive change, as she helps others to enhance their lives and businesses. This dedication has earned her recognition and respect within the field, with a focus on building long-term relationships based on trust. She says, “Our business is built on trust, and most of our clients come to us through referrals. We believe in teamwork, and our goal is to turn our clients into lifelong customers, friends, and even family.”
With more than 40 years of experience, Mai-Lan’s portfolio includes not just real estate development but also managing convenience stores and shopping centers and converting old churches into Vietnamese and Chinese temples. She has been certified as a CIPS and FIREC instructor and has dedicated herself to mentoring agents and brokers in international transactions. Her passion for teaching and innovation led her to establish Executive Global Realty & Investments, Total Products Services Petroleum LLC, and Las Americas Country Club and Convention Center. She was also elected Secretary of the Vietnamese Community for two consecutive terms. She actively participated in various committees and initiatives, such as the Houston Asian American Education Committee and the Vietnamese Asian American Heritage Committee.
Mai-Lan has achieved notable recognition and accolades for her exceptional work. As a seasoned leader in the International and USA FIABCI, she has made substantial contributions to the UN’s efforts to provide affordable housing in various countries, including Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. Through her efforts, Mai-Lan has founded several councils to promote business growth and community development, including the Areaa and FIABCI. Her contributions have been recognized at the highest levels, including a Congressional recognition and the prestigious FIABCI – USA Presidential awards, which she received twice. Moreover, four years ago in Dubai, Mai-Lan was awarded the coveted FIABCI President’s Medal of Honor in recognition of her lifetime achievements. This recognition was presented to her by Farook Mahmood, FIABCI World President at that time, with the witness of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This is a mere glimpse into Mai-Lan’s impressive list of awards and recognitions, showcasing her brilliance and impact.
However, these achievements have not come without their fair share of challenges. She endured a difficult period marked by a series of unfortunate events. She lost her father, underwent two major surgeries, and tragically, her beloved husband passed away while her children were still young, aged 17 and 15. Despite these challenges, Mai-Lan persevered, working hard and making sacrifices for her own growth and the well-being of those she loved.
In conclusion, Mai-Lan’s advice to aspiring leaders is, “Inspire greatness in your work by imbuing it with passion, continuously seeking knowledge, and treating others with honesty, expertise, and a compassionate heart. The ultimate reward for your diligent efforts and successful teamwork will be the profound impact you make in enriching and transforming the lives of others.”