ELLEN GELLER KAMARAS
Please meet Cathy Ades, an energetic, positive, dynamic, and talented working mother of four children, who had a dream to open her own real estate agency and made it come true.
While I was talking to Cathy, I sensed how passionate she is; it’s palpable! She lights up when she speaks of her family and her business.
Cathy, née Catherine Levy, grew up in Deal, NJ and attended Hillel Yeshiva. Born to an Ashkenazi American mother and a Sephardic Moroccan father, Cathy has three brothers, two older and one younger. Her father, born in Morocco, was studying in France when he met her mother. Interestingly, her mom, an American, was in France at her teacher’s recommendation. She was told that the best way to learn French and become a language instructor was to live in France. The couple married and settled in the United States.
Cathy describes herself as having been an outgoing child who worked hard to get A’s, loved to dance, and had lots of friends. She was honored to choose Hillel Yeshiva for her children. Not surprisingly, Cathy recently hosted her 20th Hillel High School class reunion at her home.
Cathy and her siblings were very fortunate that their parents took them on trips around the globe. These travels cultivated a worldliness and a love of meeting new people for Cathy. “We traveled a lot and my Dad had guests visiting from all over the world. I would take notes and answer phone calls for him. My brothers and I were comfortable being with all kinds of people.”
Cathy still loves meeting and connecting with diverse individuals when she travels. These people skills would later contribute to Cathy’s success as a real estate professional.
After high school, Cathy studied at Bar-Ilan University in Israel for six months. Then she enrolled at Monmouth College, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in laboratory sciences. She specialized in cytotechnology at a program sponsored by the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ. Cytotechnologists are laboratory professionals who study cells using a microscope in order to detect cancer and other abnormalities.
THEN COMES MARRIAGE
Cathy met her naseeb, Michael Ades, while she was eating dinner with friends at a local restaurant. Michael, one-and-a- half-years older, was also there with friends who Cathy knew. “Michael lived close by, was well-liked, I knew his friends, and we just clicked!” Cathy shared with me that they are both easy-going, are not aggressive, and they make a wonderful team. Cathy and Michael live in Deal and have four children ranging in age from 8 to 19. Cathy feels blessed and considers their kids to be her biggest accomplishment. “We have a lot of nachat and it’s so exciting to watch them grow and see who they are becoming.”
IF YOU DREAM IT, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT
Cathy was working as a cytotechnologist when she married Michael and continued until she was pregnant with her third child, approximately 15 years ago. She and Michael were searching for their dream house when Cathy, a people person, recognized how much she was enjoying the aspects of house hunting, including meeting the owners, evaluating the homes, and more. Around that time, her mother’s best friend, who owned real estate property, suggested to Cathy that she had the ideal interpersonal skills for selling real estate. The timing was perfect as Cathy had begun to feel that she needed more human connection, which she did not get working in a lab. She took a leap of faith and decided to try something totally different and signed up for a real estate course. Two nights a week, at 6pm, Cathy left the house to attend her class and her young daughters, two and four years old, would ask, “Mommy, where are you going?”
Cathy would reply, “You will see that you will be proud of me and you will learn from it, you too can make your own mark on this world, whatever that may be, if you choose to.” It took 150 hours to earn her license. Cathy’s mom had worked in the insurance business and was her inspiration and Cathy’s role model, demonstrating that a woman can be a wife and mother and have a career too. Cathy also learned solid work ethics from her mother.
Cathy knew that she was good at a lot of things including engaging and connecting with people, negotiation, establishing and developing relationships, and social media. Most importantly, her honesty and passion came through in her interactions with clients. She ignored the naysayers who told her there are so many people already selling real estate and focused on her goal.
Cathy got her license, jumped right in, and started selling houses.
Her journey to become a real estate professional took an immense investment of time, education, focus, and commitment. Cathy observed and learned from her bosses and knew she could do their jobs. Cathy gave up her beloved Sundays with her family and worked for three different real estate firms over a 15-year period, before she achieved her dream of opening up her own firm, Cathy Ades Real Estate, in August of 2017. She shared that she “lives, breathes, and eats real estate to be an expert in her field.”
The reward for her efforts? Cathy Ades Real Estate was ranked as the top real estate agency of Ocean Township and Long Branch in 2019. And guess what? Her children are excited and proud when people make the connection between them and the Ades agency.
Cathy was ready to open her own firm close to when her husband Michael was searching for a new venture and was ready to move on from the jewelry business. Cathy was thrilled that he would help her. “I couldn’t do it on my own. Michael said, ‘I love real estate, too!’ and went for his license. He has built up his own clientele.” Cathy is the Broker of Record and Michael is the Chief Operating Officer/Realtor of their agency.
“What a blessing from Hashem to have my husband with me and to have inspired him to be passionate about real estate, too. We make a great team on and off the court.”
Not many spouses can say they stirred their husbands or wives to engage in a new endeavor.
Cathy is grateful that they built the business quickly from her sphere of influence in Monmouth County. Word got around that she was the person to call. She is emphatic about her success being from Hashem and from hard work. “I had a dream and I reached for it! I feel like I have come full circle.” She and Michael recently bought a building that she had her eyes on before she launched her own business and that is where their agency is now housed.
The Ades agency has 20 real estate associates, men and women who Cathy describes as wonderful and “who go above and beyond.”
CATHY’S BRAND – MAKING YOUR REAL ESTATE DREAMS COME TRUE
Cathy views her firm’s mission to find the right house for their clients as significant as a shidduch or matching of a man and woman for the purpose of marriage. It’s about pinpointing the needs, requirements, and wants of the client and locating the house that can satisfy those standards and expectations.
Her clients call Cathy “a straight shooter” and in their reviews, commend her with a host of accolades. Cathy’s honesty, follow- through from start to finish, real estate expertise, ability to reveal a house’s possibilities, and master negotiation skills are examples of what her clients applaud her for.
Cathy is not viewed as a high-pressure broker but as a person who knows how to get the job done. She enjoys the relationships she builds with her clients and stays in touch, following up to see how they fixed up their houses and even getting invited to their semahot.
Cathy’s advice? If you are good at something and really love it, believe in Hashem and keep working towards your dream.
BALANCE, SELF-CARE, AND COMMUNITY
Cathy admits that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not easy. To ensure she has meaningful family time, Cathy stays super organized and plans dinners and family events in advance. She values the financial freedom that she and Michael have earned and what it enables them to give to their children.
Cathy loves to travel, play tennis, exercise, and dance (hip-hop and Zumba). Yoga and dance help Cathy relax and manage stress. She also loves to cook, and it means a lot to her when she sees people enjoying meals she has prepared.
Her vision for the future? To keep growing the company and see it thrive, b’ezrat Hashem.
Cathy and Michael thank their amazing community for their continued support. Cathy is especially appreciative of how community members are proud to see a business begun by a woman flourishing. The couple raises funds for Sephardic Bikur Holim and other community organizations.
You can reach Cathy at 732-996-5619 and @ cathyadesrealestate on Instagram. Check out her website, https://www.cathyades.com/.