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President of international real estate firm encourages students to find their passion

Danielle Austin admits to never thinking about college until her last year of high school. A native Floridian and an advocate for growth of the Palm Beach community, Austin has seen both her community and her alma mater evolve over the years.

She believes the meaning of college has changed drastically for today’s students. “I come from a family of four children, so education was important but nowhere near as competitive, expensive and stressful as I see it today.”

Austin has always considered herself to be the ambitious type. Enrolled in AP classes throughout high school, she was a dual enrollment student at PBCC, which was primarily her guidance counselor’s idea. By her senior year at Palm Beach Gardens High School, she spent most of her days at the College’s Eissey campus.

“Attending PBCC helped propel my education forward and save my family money. Today, it is inspiring to see how the College has grown as fast as Palm Beach County has. To me, the Lake Worth campus is almost unrecognizable.”

Austin completed her Associate in Arts degree from PBCC in 2003 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from FAU in Public Communication and Political Science. Her fondest PBCC memory was her Intro to Ceramics course with her professor submitting one of her projects into the Art Showcase, where she won third place.

“The advice I give today comes from what I learned from art classes at PBCC. I was completely out of my comfort zone in the beginning, but I soon discovered something about myself – a passion that I didn’t know I had.”

Austin believes that getting into an industry that you’re passionate about will make any job more enjoyable and drive tremendous, and even unexpected growth. Beginning her career as an executive assistant to regional vice president of Sotheby’s, she attributes her 19 years with Sotheby’s and Christie’s International Real Estate Caribbean Region as a testament to finding her true passion.

“People are always surprised that I am young and have been with the same company for almost 20 years. I was intentional about not only choosing a “college job” but also finding something that I really enjoyed. I took a leap of faith transitioning to Christie’s, not knowing that it would lead to a longtime career.”

Austin is now the president of Christie’s International Real Estate Caribbean Region. With two decades of luxury real estate experience and a husband and two children, she carefully thinks about what’s next. Right now, slowing down is not an option.

“Integrity, exceptional service, passion and expertise are what I work towards every day and what aligns with the industry and brand I represent. But they also represent what I value personally. My goal today is to be my best self. I want to finish my work in the Caribbean and who knows what opportunity will come next.”

Today, she lives by “leaping and the net will appear.” Believing that her most significant achievement is perfecting mindfulness in how she spends her time, Austin is embracing her moments every day.

Austin’s best advice for today’s Palm Beach State students encourages them not to be afraid to start in a position outside their comfort zone. “Getting into an industry you are passionate about will make working more enjoyable and drive growth both personally and professionally.”

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