Merlino & Gonzalez January 2018

January 2018





Meet Michele Santacroce

I know I won’t win any awards for creativity in this description, but I truly think of the team here at Merlino & Gonzalez as a family. In fact, I sometimes joke that John and Ken are my second and third husbands. In the 15 years I’ve been here, I’ve had the chance to develop lasting relationships with my co-workers and our clients. It’s definitely the most rewarding aspect of my work. The difference in approach from my previous job couldn’t be starker. Prior to joining the firm in 2002, I took a few years off when my daughter was born. My last job before that was working at a huge insurance firm in Manhattan. The people I worked with there were great, and I like to think we did good work, but it was an impersonal type of work. We had clients, but they were invisible. Learning little details about their lives like I do now would’ve been regarded as a waste of time. When I decided it was time to return to the workforce, I knew I wanted something a little different. Not only was commuting into the city out of the question — I would’ve never made it to daycare pickup in time — but I also sought an office where I could make a connection with clients. It was a bit like moving from a big city where you feel like a face in the crowd to a small town where everyone knows your name. I get a lot of joy from guiding our clients through real estate and estate planning. I’ve been in their shoes, so I know what it feels like when a client calls us in a tizzy. My goal is always to provide them with assurances and comfort. After they get off the phone with me, I hope they can put their head on the pillow that night

without breaking out in a cold sweat. Whenever I can make someone feel more informed and less stressed, I feel like I’m doing my job. My daughter Emily is now a freshman in college, so I’ve enjoyed the chance to catch up with her over the holidays. These days, she exists more as a long series of text messages than as a physical presence, and a lot of those text messages have to do with money! I’m just kidding. I love Emily so much, and I’m super proud of everything she’s achieved. Aside from work and family, I enjoy volunteering with the Staten Island Board of Realtors’ Young Professionals Network and other worthy groups. Recently, for instance, I was able to participate in an event with Pit Bulls and Addicts, an organization that pairs recovering addicts with rescue pit bulls. In a sense, they work to rehabilitate each other. It was truly inspiring to work with this group, and I feel lucky to live somewhere with no shortage of amazing charities.

Before I go, I want to wish everyone a wonderful 2018. If you’re ever feeling stressed about your real estate transaction or estate planning, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Emily’s latest text can wait a few minutes!

-Michele Santacroce



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