Up until the age of 23, Shawnalei lived in Hawai'i her entire life. The eldest daughter to very youthful parents (Mother 16, Father 19) growing up on the island of Kaua'i was an adventure! She was known as the "Fundraising Queen" having to fund raise for everything that she wanted to pursue. Whether it was Pageantry, Polynesian Competitions, Tennis Competitions or Cheer-leading Competitions, "there was always something to fund raise for", she says.
"I recall being 7 or 8 years old. My mom made me sell Malasadas (Portuguese donuts) door to door on my bicycle. I'd ride my bike right up to someone's drive way, knock on their door and ask if they wanted to buy donuts. Whenever they would ask me why I was selling, id always just say "because my mom is selling them today." I'd continue to go from house to house, until I had none left. Years later, when I asked her why she made me sell donuts door to door, she gave me the reality. It was the last $40 she had and she needed to be creative as to how she was going to create more "food money" for the family."
Although growing up to young parents posed its own set of challenges, Shawnalei attributes her resilience and success to her childhood. She says, "I earned everything that i've ever had. Since I worked so hard just to get to any competition, losing was never an option and the word "No" doesn't exist in my world. There is always a way and there is always a solution."
Shawnalei is a previous Miss Kauai, Miss Leahi, Professional Polynesian Dancer and 3X undefeated title holder of Miss Vahine Polynesia and 24 year Tennis enthusiasts
From one island to another. Shawnalei moved to New York not knowing anyone; without a clear plan or direction, but more so to explore the world and discover herself.
She initially set her goal to be in Wealth Management due to her academic background in finance and her fascination in the stock market, but found that corporate life didn't suite her well. With strong family ties back home in Hawai'i, the stringent vacation days limited the amount of time she could spend with her family. She quickly re-evaluated what would be the right fit for her.
From exploration to a bite from the career bug, as soon as Shawnalei jumped into Real Estate, she knew that she had found the right career path. Her natural competitive edge kicked in and she started building her career from the ground up, sky was the limit. "It was far from easy, but worth all the effort. I reminded myself that Rome wasn't built in a day. In hindsight, i've learned that the journey is the best part! I embrace challenges because I understand that the only way to perfect your craft is by being pushed to the limit. Anyone can be great when the market is doing well, but the question is "how are you doing when the market isn't favorable? Do you let yourself crumble? Or do you buckle down and dig for your resilience.. I believing in pushing through your boundaries because that is where growth comes from."
Year after year, she consistently saw progression and 8 years later, she aims to be the best in NYC.
Shawnalei is the New Development Director of the Howard Morrel Team. Shawnalei was previously the Senior Sales Associate & Listing Agent representing Gaia Real Estate's New Development Condominium project NINE52, a luxury condo conversion in Hell's Kitchen.
She was most recently the Sales Director of 1790 third avenue, the most affordable luxury condo development in Manhattan.
Shawnalei is extremely passionate about New Development Condo Projects and the NYC Real Estate Market. "I love new buildings because that is our future. It's a creative process, it's ever changing and there is always a different aspect to every project that is impacting the way people live & feel. It makes real estate exciting and fun!" She says.
"We are helping developers by sharing a story about their project that makes it special and unique for every buyer that walks through the door. We create an experience for them that makes our sales office feel like walking into a friend or a relatives home. Comfortable and welcoming, helping them envision life there. We maximize marketing efforts, innovation and technology to give developers an edge. In a culturally diverse city such as New York, a development needs as much exposure and an element of distinction that will make them stand out as much as possible, which is exactly what we provide." Although she focuses on developments, she also leverages The Morrel Team for all Sellers, Buyers and Investor clients. "We always work together to make sure that we provide the best service for all of our clients. With decades of experience collectively, we aim to do our very best.' -Shawnalei