Working Together - Daughters Follow in the Footsteps of Their Moms

May 9, 2013 

Together, they get it sold

Like mother, like daughter rings true for Whitney Wisnasky-Bettorf and Courtney Cardona, both of O’Fallon. They have grown up together and played together, but now their bond has been put to the test teaming up in an office to help their family business grow. Both real estate brokers for Progressive Property Network Inc. in O’Fallon, mom Whitney entered the real estate field 20 years ago because she needed a career that was flexible so she could tend to her three small children’s needs.

Real estate became Whitney’s passion, and a way of life for her children. Courtney, who was born in 1986, couldn’t help but dive right in to her mother’s successful business three years ago for all the right reasons.

“Just like me, having three babies in three years, she now needed to be flexible,” Whitney said about her daughter. “She literally grew up in the backseat of the real estate business since she was 6 years old, watching me put signs up, drive by properties, handle phone calls, appraisals, and so on. She had the real life training.”

But Courtney and her siblings didn’t always make their hard-working mother’s job easy; she never forget they were along for the ride.

“Us kids would go along with her to listings, showings, closings, and my brothers and I would set the car alarm off multiple times trying to get out of the car,” Courtney says with a smile. “This was probably really embarrassing for her.”

Some say working with family members, especially in a family business can be disastrous, but Whitney and Courtney have defied the odds.

“Working together has absolutely strengthened our relationship,” Whitney said. “We understand each others strengths and weakness and we are the SUPPORT in Family and Business. We now talk at least 10 times a day; it is great. Before she was working nights and evenings as manager for Blockbuster and as a personal banker at a local bank and she was pulled in so many directions - kids, family, work. Her joining my business has worked out for all of us, especially her.”

“Plus, at the end of a stressful day, we know that we have each other. And when there’s a disagreement, we each get to send each other to Time Out now,” Whitney said with a giggle.

Courtney didn’t want to be a real estate agent in the beginning. “When I was younger, I wanted to do my own thing when I grew up,” she said. “I wouldn’t in a million years have imagined becoming a realtor like her. Being an agent is definitely a risk because you have your peaks and valleys of pay, and I wanted the security of a paycheck every two weeks.”

But mother knows best.

So, when Courtney was 20 years old, Whitney encouraged her to take a real estate class, which she did. Courtney didn’t take the test right away because life happened, and marriage and babies came, but after her third child was born, she was ready and mom was there to help guide her.

Courtney says her and her mother’s relationship has completely changed from working side by side, and all for the better.

“Every relationship has their ups and downs, and until I was out of my teen years, got married and had children of my own, we had more downs than ups,” she said. “We’re best friends now, and I can’t imagine working with anyone else.”

Today, Courtney can’t thank her mother enough for pushing her in “the right direction”.

“She has taught me everything I know in terms of real estate, raising kids, growing up, etc. I would not be the person I am today without her guidance. I have no regrets that I finally listened to her either. I love what I do and I love seeing people’s dreams come true when they get the keys to their first home.”

Courtney is a newly elected alderwoman for Ward 5 in O’Fallon, and she and her husband Rob have three children, Brooklyn, 6; Brayden, 4; and Breanna, 3.

Inherited Compassion

Theologian Renita J. Weems once wrote, “I cannot forget my mother for she is my bridge”.

It’s an infamous quotation nearly every daughter can relate to as they age and look back on their life, but for some, this statement runs much deeper than just memories. This is the case for mother LeAnn Edelen and her daughter Lauren Edelen as they spend their life caring for others as nurses.

LeAnn has nursed and held the hands of others nearly all her life - both inside and out of her family circle, and her daughter was led by her example.

LeAnn was set on entering the nursing field early on - her freshman year of high school to be exact. “My father suffered a brain aneurysm when he was only 45 years old,” she said. “I spent many days with my mom at the hospital observing the nurses caring for him, helping him improve day by day after an extensive brain injury. He worked so hard for so long to even get home - months. He became my inspiration to choose nursing as a career.”

LeAnn, who works at Memorial Hospital in Belleville as an RN in the Admissions Testing Center and as a certified post anesthesia nurse, said she never dreamt her only daughter would follow in her footsteps.

“My family, especially my ‘girly-girl’ Lauren, never could appreciate the nurse stories I would bring home,” LeAnn said.

“They always thought my tales were stomach-turning - needles, Ouch!; blood, Gross!

“I always kept it to myself, but I wanted her to become a nurse because I saw qualities in her that would make her a good one. She was also compassionate and attentive to others, especially her grandfather and her brother has Muscular Dystrophy. Helping others has always been part of her life; she even volunteers at MDA camps as a personal assistant and caregiver for severely handicapped children.”

Lauren, who graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville’s nursing program just last week, is currently working as a patient care tech at Memorial Hospital, and has been offered a surgical floor position there pending her Illinois State Board Exam results.

Lauren says that as a young girl she thought it was “cool” that her mom worked at a hospital and took care of people, but says she didn’t really understand it all until she was older. She was always torn between nursing and teaching, but her calling finally chose her future after some soul searching.

LeAnn hopes Lauren finds nursing to be as rewarding as she has, and she admits to giving her daughter honest advice.

“I have told my daughter that it will be tough, extremely stressful, and exhausting at times; that your patient may yell at you, even hit you; and that a patient’s family may question every move you make. You will sometimes be angry at the assignments that seem unfair, and you will work long hours.

“However, I have told her it will also be rewarding knowing that she is providing care to her patients. Her kindness and compassion will be heartfelt, and patients will find comfort when she walks into their room. She will also form strong bonds with her co-workers; they will become like family just like mine have.”

And Lauren is ready to take all that and more on with her mother standing not behind her, but right beside her.

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