5 Notable Asian/Pacific Americans in Real Estate

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This article provides an opportunity to highlight Asian American Pacific Islanders in Real Estate: an Architect, a Real Estate Broker, an Elite Gym, National Association of Real Estate Broker’s statistics, and an organization in the United States.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress.  The resolution was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978, to become Public Law 95-419 (PDF, 158kb). This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979, as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” 

During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF, 166kb) which expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF, 285kb) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

Maya Lin is an American architect and sculptor best known for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Maya Lin was born on October 5, 1959, in Athens, Ohio, Lin is the daughter of Chinese intellectuals who fled their homeland in 1948, not long before the 1949 Communist takeover. Lin studied architecture and sculpture at Yale University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1981.

Maya Lin received her bachelor’s degree from Yale, where she studied architecture and sculpture. During her senior year, she won a nationwide competition to create a design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Her minimalist design aroused controversy but has become very popular with the public over the years.

At a fateful moment, in her senior year at Yale Lin entered a nationwide competition to design a monument to be erected in honor of soldiers who had served and died in the Vietnam War. And at age 21, she would become an artist to watch when her design took first prize in the contest and the monument she designed was slated to be built at the northwest corner of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The design she submitted was in sharp contrast to traditional war memorials: It was a polished, V-shaped granite wall, with each side measuring 247 feet, simply inscribed with the names of the more than 58,000 soldiers killed or missing in action, listed in order of death or disappearance. The monument was graceful and abstract, built to be slightly below ground level, and it eschewed the usual heroic design often associated with such memorials. This, of course, made the work controversial.

As soon as the winning design was unveiled, a group of Vietnam veterans loudly objected to virtually all of its key traits, referring to it ungenerously as the “black gash of shame.” In the end, after much nationwide debate that reached citizens and politicians alike, three realistic figures of soldiers, along with an American flag mounted atop a 60-foot pole, were placed near the monument — close enough to be a part of it but far enough away to preserve Lin’s artistic vision.

After what proved to be a draining experience for Lin, the monument was dedicated and opened to the public on November 11, 1982, Veterans Day. It has since become a massive, and emotional, draw for tourists, with more than 10,000 people per day viewing the work. It has been noted that its polished surface reflects the viewer’s image, making each visitor one with the monument. Of the power of the work, Lin wrote, “I like to think of my work as creating a private conversation with each person, no matter how public each work is and no matter how many people are present.”

After the fervor was over, Lin returned to academic life, beginning graduate studies in architecture at Harvard University. She left Harvard soon after, though, to work for an architect in Boston, and in 1986 she finished her master’s in architecture back at Yale. Two years later, Lin signed on with the Southern Poverty Law Center to design a monument to the civil rights movement. Again she turned to the power of simplicity in her design. The monument consisted of just two elements: a curved black granite wall inscribed with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and a 12-foot disk inscribed with the dates of major civil rights-era events and the names of 40 martyrs to the cause. Punctuated with a flowing-water element, the memorial was dedicated in Montgomery, Alabama, in November 1989.

Lin would return to the use of water again in 1993 when she created a monument to commemorate the presence of women at Yale. From there she turned to natural elements more and more, as seen in Ann Arbor’s The Wave Field (1995), Miami’s Flutter (2005), and upstate New York’s Storm King Wavefield (2009), each of which found Lin transforming grassy landscapes into vistas resembling ocean waves.

Amidst these projects, Lin was commissioned to design a work celebrating the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition (2000). Turning to natural elements once again, Lin created seven art installations along the Columbia River that detailed the historical impact the expedition had on the native peoples and the Pacific Northwest.

Lin has also created a topiary park in Charlotte, North Carolina, in collaboration with landscape architect Henry F. Arnold (Topo, 1991), and an installation of 43 tons of shattered automobile safety glass at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (Groundswell, 1993). Groundswell is significant in that it was Lin’s first major work using methods and materials she previously had reserved for small-scale studio works and experiments.

Although chiefly known as a sculptor, Lin also has worked on several architectural projects, which often have been noted for their emphasis on sustainability. Some of the high-profile works in this realm include the Langston Hughes Library (1999) and the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City (2009). Never one to fall into artistic complacency, Maya Lin has also created What Is Missing? multimedia, multi-location project that focused on bringing awareness to habitat loss. 

For her life’s work, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2009, and a film about the artist, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won the 1994 Oscar for best documentary. Lin has served as a board member of the National Resources Defense Council and a member of the World Trade Center Site Memorial design jury. In 2016, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

Mia Takami Real Estate Group

[Mia Takami Real Estate Group]


Mia Takami earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration-Investment from California State University with honors. Her multilingual skills and ability to understand different cultures has helped many clients during the negotiation process. Mia Takami is the recipient of the HIGHEST individual agent sales volume and MOST closed transactions – Platinum Award 2018-2021! Featured in the Wall Street Journal’s 2019, 2020 & 2021 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals. Ranked amongst the top 1% of agents nationwide! $71M Sold in 2021, and over $205M in sales since 2018, including $5.8M & $6.2M Penthouses at Lumina (South Beach High-Rise), $6.633M Multiunit in Pacific Heights and $8.3M Multiunit in Russian Hill.

Mia is a Top Producer with over 15 years experience servicing Luxury Condo/Single Family Clients, Tech Startups and Real Estate Investors in the Bay Area. Mia has lived all over the world in cities such as Japan, London, Langkawi Island, Sydney, Seattle, Amalfi Coast, and Newport Beach. Based in SF since 1996, Mia’s client service is enhanced by her multilingual skills (English, Italian, and Japanese) and ability to embrace different cultures to relate and serve diverse clients through the real estate transaction process.

Mia is also known as a Realtor to Silicon Valley Tech Startups and also specializes in high-end properties throughout SF. With the current tech boom in SF, many of her clients rely on her to relocate their SF hires. The Millennials relate well to her and she understands the needs of this new generation of wealth. Her specialty of selling properties in the South Beach/Mission Bay area and working with experienced investors has made her an asset to the tech startup community.

Specializing in Luxury High-Rise Condo and Lofts in San Francisco’s South Beach, SoMa, Financial District and Mission Bay, Luxury-High End Single Family homes in Presidio Heights, Russian Hill, and Pacific Heights, Mia combines concierge level customer service with high-level market intelligence and negotiation skills to achieve the best possible outcomes for all clients. Combined with her extensive experience in assisting investor clients with their income property acquisition throughout San Francisco, Peninsula and East Bay, she is a Top Producer and a Team Leader at eXp Realty.

Alex Zuniga is the CEO/Owner of Elite Spartans in Silicon Valley

[Elite Spartans]

Facility Tour

The vision to empower people through their health was inspired by a series of events I’ve experienced and my heritage.  I have had a life-long commitment to a lifestyle of fitness  I began when I was six years old, playing soccer in Mexico City.

My Grandmother was Japanese and instilled in me the importance of education, perseverance, and physical fitness. I still remember her telling me that I was special and in life may encounter difficulties, although it was critical for me to remain true to myself and others.

From this time on, fitness became an integral part of my development as an individual and proponent of the fitness industry. At 13, I began an unforgettable life-altering experience as a cadet in one of the best military schools in Mexico City, spending the next three years training for military combat, self-defense, semi-professional boxing, and most importantly learning the value of self-discipline.

Beyond learning the value of self-discipline, I learned the importance of working with others as a team. As it is said, the sum is greater than its parts; each individual has something to offer and through complementarity, we create a stronger and more well-balanced whole. This notion was ingrained in me during my time in military school and remains ever-present in my business and how my team at Elite Spartans functions as a team, a strong, effective unit.

Following military school, I attended law school in Mexico City before moving to the United States for further educational opportunities. Unfortunately, despite my time in law school in Mexico City, I was unable to transfer most of my 47 units and had to essentially start over in the US. As an international student, I attended SJSU but due to expensive international tuition rates I transferred to San Jose City College, earning an Associate of Arts (AA) with a minor in Journalism & Communications, after which I returned to SJSU.

During this time I was in a car accident that changed the entire direction of my life. A drunk driver struck the car I was in, and as a result of the accident, I was in a wheelchair for a period of time before I was able to recover without surgery. Despite doctors’ orders for back surgery, I was determined to heal another way. Through hours and hours of physical therapy, I regained most of my mobility. It was during this process that I fell in love with the healing aspect of fitness.

After recovering from my injuries, I had healed well enough to return to athletics and I competed in track and field for SJCC. Following graduation from SJCC, I continued on to San Jose State University and majored in International Business. During this time, I competed for SJSU in track and field in the 100m and 400m events and was able to balance full-time school with a full-time job in one of the most recognized corporations (at that time) in the United States, Bally Total Fitness. My love and passion for the fitness industry led me to become one of the most successful managers in the fitness industry, which is reflected in the multiple awards and honorable recognition that  I received. The success and experience that I found in the corporate fitness world were invaluable.

In 2012, I branched out and began a ground-up operation beginning with boot camps at the park and training PT clients at the small gym at the apartment complex in which I lived. Since then, I have had the fortune to grow the company exponentially, more than 900%, through hard work and determination, and won one of the highest awards as Personal Trainer of the Year/2018 at the Fitness Business Summit in San Diego, CA.

The success has come in part as more and more clients find great results in their health and fitness due to their professionalism, knowledge, experience, and passion for working with individuals and groups of all ages and capabilities. In addition to growing my own business, I have spent several years learning directly from the best fitness business owners in the world through various professional developments and business communities that have inspired me to go even further for our clients, to ensure they receive world-class experience when at Elite Spartans.




Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton, Research Economist

Gay Cororaton, Senior Economist and the Director of Housing & Commercial Research, NAR

[Scholastica (Gay) Cororaton]

Gay Cororaton is a Senior Economist and the Director of Housing & Commercial Research with the Research Group of the National Association of REALTORS®. She manages the production of NAR’s proprietary housing, commercial, and international statistics, surveys, and research. Her research focuses on the effect of economic, demographic, and industry conditions on the current trends and outlook in the residential and commercial property markets.

May is the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, so in a series of blogs, we look at some demographic and real estate data regarding the Asian population.[1] In the previous blogs, we looked at demographic and homeownership among Asians. In this last blog, we look at Asians in real estate.

According to the American Community Survey, there were 2.974 million who worked in the real estate industry in 2014. Of this figure, 120,677 were Asians (4.1%), which is in line with the size of the Asian population to the total U.S. population.   Of U.S. workers in the real estate industry, 971,616 worked as real estate agents and brokers. Of this figure, 42,314 were Asians (4.3%).


Nearly half of these brokers/agents resided in California (19,057; 45%), followed by New York (2,925; 6.9%), Texas (2,909; 6.9%), New Jersey (1,854; 4.4%), Nevada (1,589; 3.8%), Washington (1,523; 3.6%), Virginia (1,521; 3.6%), Hawaii (1,445; 3.4%), Georgia (1,307; 2.1%), and Florida (1,169; 2.8%).

brokers and agents

What this means to REALTORS®: The Asian population is expected to increase significantly in the next decades from about five percent of the U.S. population in 2015 to nearly 10 percent in 2060. Asians are relatively highly educated and Asian households have one of the highest median incomes among all races. These trends are expected to have a positive impact on Asian homeownership and home sales.

Asian American Real Estate Association of America


Founded in 2003, the Asian American Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) is a national nonprofit trade organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community through homeownership.

AREAA is dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market.

    AREAA successfully persuaded the US Census Bureau to track and include Asian housing data as a standalone category in its quarterly reports on homeownership by race and ethnicity.
  • Translations Clearinghouse
    AREAA collaborated with the GSEs to create translated resources in Chinese for LEP borrowers. Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog are set to launch this year.
  • Preferred Language Field
    AREAA worked with FHFA to include a Preferred Language Field on the 2020 redesigned URLA in order to better capture the needs of LEP borrowers. In 2019, the FHFA removed the question. AREAA continues to advocate for the reversal of its decision.
    AREAA helped change underwriting standards to more fairly account for student loans that were in deferment when calculating a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio. 


In May 2022 we celebrated Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States of America.

Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent The Island Countries of Asia – WorldAtlas, and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island).

Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial was first dedicated in 1982, an iconic testament to sacrifice and loss. The wall contained the names of 57,939 American servicemen believed to have lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Since then, that number has jumped by several hundred. It’s the most-visited memorial on the National Mall in Washington, attracting more than 5 million people each year. 

Mia Takami was featured in the Wall Street Journal 2021 – Best Real Estate Agents in America among 1% Nationwide. One of Mia Takami’s listings that sold in days was in the A 400-foot tower designed by Jeanne Gang of studio gang, in San Francisco, offering one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums and townhouses.

Alex Zuniga, Owner of Elite Spartans in Silicon Valley was in a car accident struck by a drunk driver, but that did not render him in a wheelchair, he believed in the power of the healing aspect of  physical fitness. What’s more important is his ability to own an Elite Gym and teach others of all levels this philosophy.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is an American trade association for those who work in the real estate industry. It has over 1.4 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies, and councils, involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.There are few industries remaining today that have not seen a drastic change in the role that women play, and real estate and relocation are certainly not immune to these changes. Nationwide, women brokers dominate the residential real estate market, but have yet to make a major entrance into the more lucrative commercial market that will soon change.

Why would one want to join Asian American Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) because it connects you with resources to continue developing your business, personal skills, and professional network. Today, AREAA continues to grow stronger with 41 chapters across the US and Canada with over 17,000 real estate professionals who have invested in an AREAA membership. As a member of AREAA, you are a part of a national non-profit trade organization that works to: build sustainable AAPI homeownership, provide greater professional development and opportunities for AAPIs, and give back to our local communities.

The above 5 Asian American Pacific Islanders are highlighted as an Architect, a Real Estate Broker, an Elite Gym Owner, National Association of Real Estate Broker’s statistician, and an organization in the United States. 

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, let’s celebrate!

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