Before Indiana Governor Mike Pence addressed members of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) during the trade association’s annual meeting at the Avalon last Wednesday, the group honored one of their own as this year’s REALTOR® of the year.
As Joe Wszolek stepped up to the microphone for the presentation, India Castaneda, who as GNIAR’s immediate past president was seated next to CEO Pete Novak, leaned over to ask him if one of the two people she had nominated made the cut.
“He told me, ‘yes, one of them did, but I’m not going to say which one,’” she said. “So as Joe got started I was listening carefully to try and figure out which one it was. Then it was like, wait a second, they didn’t do that. He was saying the things I had done. I never even dreamed it would be me. I had no idea! I’m hoping one of my friends will get it next year, and I can pass the baton on so to speak.”
Recognized as a leader in the real estate industry for more than 20 years, Castaneda has also served as GNIAR Treasurer, been an active member of the GNIAR Board of Directors for 11 years (she is currently looking forward to another 3-year term) and served on numerous GNIAR committees. She also represents the area at the state and national level, having served as elected State Director, Area 1 Regional Vice President, on the Director’s Council and Area 1 Board of Directors for the Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR). Castaneda is also a regular attendee and devoted real estate advocate during National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) events.
“India cares so much about the industry,” Donna Zisoff, Branch Manager of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office in Highland where Castaneda is a broker, said. “She stays involved locally and on the state and national level, putting in that extra effort. She’s not only passionate about the real estate industry itself, she’s very professional in her business and one of the most kind and compassionate people I know. She’s so deserving, it was so exciting. She had no clue – her face was priceless!”
Also a dedicated student, Castaneda has supplemented her BS degree from Indiana University with graduate-level courses plus a broad range of the industry’s most prestigious continuing education designations. These include Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified IAR Mediator, Graduate REALTORS® Institute (GRI) and At Home With Diversity Certified (AHWD). She is also a graduate of the Indiana REALTORS® Leadership Academy.
“I knew India before she came to this office,” Zisoff added. “Now that I see her on a day-to-day basis, I can see firsthand how driven and goal-oriented she is. She’s so very caring and always so positive. She walks in with a smile everyday. I’m truly thrilled she’s here. But, sometimes I have to remind her to take some time and have some fun.”
“I’ve been an agent for a long time,” Castaneda said. “I really love what I do.”
A lifelong Hoosier from Bourbon in north central Indiana, Castaneda has helped hundreds of families achieve their goal of homeownership. Ironically, she chose her career in real estate to ensure she could be there for her family. Now married for more than 30 years and the mother of two grown daughters (and two pet Chihuahuas), Castaneda makes time to volunteer and support a charity she is passionate about – Sojourner Truth House, a day shelter for homeless women and children.
Like her can-do attitude, Castaneda’s homemade soups are legendary, and she often shares them when people are ill.
As Wszolek said when it became clear who he was referring to in the introduction of the 2013 GNIAR Realtor® of the Year - let’s recognize her for all she does for our Association, the industry and the community.