If you want proof that having faith, being close to your family, and keeping a positive attitude keeps you happy and grounded, just get to know the dynamic Victoria Gartelos. This charming lady slowed down long enough to have lunch with me at Yanni's Greek Restaurant (Greek food was a perfect choice for a "Greek Girl" as she calls herself...) so I could get to know her better.
Victoria is a gem and no longer a hidden treasure on the charitable scene. She now brings her vision and leadership skills to many nonprofits. Gartelos will chair the Project Aspire Scholarship Foundation annual luncheon on September 25th, and the Invisible Disabilities Association as Auction Chair on October 23rd at their 2015 gala.
Even as a young mom, Gartelos carved out a career by creating the Castlewood Company Realtors in 1970. Victoria brings to the market more than 45 years of real estate experience. In addition to her real estate credentials, Victoria and her family owned Heritage Floral for 5 years, and she has served on several church and and real estate industry boards.
Victoria was born in Denver at General Rose Memorial Hospital (now Rose Medical Center). Victoria's dad, Nicholas, was born in New York, and with his family, moved to Greece when he was 9. He was educated there and served in the Greek military; and then moved back to the United States during World War II joining the military here. He was based at Lowry and loved Colorado enough to make it his home. He wanted to meet more people, so he talked to his Priest about hosting a party to meet others in the Greek community in Denver, and that's where Nicholas Papageorge met Victoria's mom, Dena, and the rest as they say is history.
Victoria is warm, easy-going, kind, and considerate of others. She calls herself "traditional" and faithfully carries on the traditions of her family with grace and pride. As far as her work in a hot Denver real estate market, Gartelos says: "Whatever the market is out there, you find out what your clients' needs are, give them excellent service, and just go out and get the job done!"
Her good friend and Have You Met, Jamie Angelich says: "VIVACIOUS Victoria Gartelos gives 100% in everything she takes on... from chairing an auction to leading a board!"
Get used to seeing Victoria Gartelo at fundraising events. She has become an ambassador for several causes, and it's in her DNA to make good deeds happen. Victoria reflects: "It's been a good life - even with its ups and downs... but I feel the best is yet to come!"
What words best describe your life right now?
Happy, Blessed, Peaceful, Content, Rich with things money cannot buy!
Tell us about the charitable organizations you are/or have been involved with.
· For several years I followed my Mother’s footsteps and served on the Board of the Philoptochos (Friend of the Poor) Greek Orthodox Ladies Society and chaired many events at my church.
· I currently serve as a Director of the South Metro Denver Realtor Association (SMDRA) and as Chair of SMDRA Philanthropies. This summer, we will start a Habitat for Humanity build.
· The Project Aspire Scholarship Foundation ~ Vice President. Providing scholarships for women in Colorado. Project Aspire was founded by my dear friend, Marney Andes. This year, I am Chair of our Annual Luncheon ~ September 25th…Stay Tuned!
· Thanks to another dear friend, Jamie Angelich, I have become involved in:
Excelsior Youth Center ~ 2015 Gala committee
Bessie’s Hope ~ 2014 & 2015 Gala committee (2015 Auction Co-Chair)
Invisible Disabilities Association ~ 2015 Gala Auction Chair, October 23
The Kempe Foundation ~ Helped with the 2015 Gala Auction
Each of these organizations serve sectors of our community near and dear to my heart, children, students/women seeking education, and Seniors.
Is there a non-profit event you really look forward to attending each year?
I have loved every event I have attended and look forward to attending each of them next year! Hattitude was a lot of fun this year, and I look forward to participating in the Denver Center Alliance as well.
What is your fondest childhood memory of living in Denver?
When I was a Brownie, my Mother arranged for a visit to the home of Miss America, 1958, Marilyn Vanderbur (Atler). I was thrilled to sit at her dressing table, hold her scepter, look in the mirror, and for a moment….pretend! To this day, I especially admire Marilyn Vanderbur Atler and hope to meet her sometime soon.
How do you think Denver has changed through the years?
Oh my Denver…how you have grown! I have lived and visited many cities, but at heart, I am a Denver Girl!
What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
From lunch at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, to the Colorado mountains, to a warm beach, anywhere…and of course a week in Coeur d’Alene! On the list: Sail the Greek Isles!
Besides your family, what is a cherished treasure or keepsake you could never replace?
My two crosses, one given to me by my Godparents as a baby, at my baptism, the other given to me by someone very dear to me. I will always cherish them and wear them together.
What are your favorite restaurants to dine in when you go out?
We are sitting in one, Yannis! ~ Where a Greek Girl goes when she wants to be served a fine meal! Denver is a restaurant town! Del Friscos, Shanahans, Flemings, The Brown Palace all hold wonderful memories…it’s really about with whom you are sharing dinner.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
After a 30 year detour, I returned to the University of Denver-Colorado Women’s College and this Spring Quarter I graduate, at last, with my degree in Communications/Minor in Business! Instead of Spring Commencement, it may be August because I’m off to San Antonio for my first grandson’s graduation from high school! We may just party in August!
What is the best advice you have ever received?
From my Father: “Enjoy every stage of life and every stage of the lives of your children and grandchildren”.
From my Mother: Advice by example: how to live and give, as a woman, mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. She was beautiful in every way, and I always felt “under her wing” learning and doing.
What are your favorite “words of wisdom” or “words to live by”?
“Do every ordinary thing with extraordinary love.” –Mother Theresa
A quote you will often hear in my family is “Life is Good”! I say, “Life is Better than Good”.
What are some of your other hobbies or interests?
Since I have been a “forever student” at DU-CWC. It really has been like a hobby. I am an avid reader, and look forward to reading more than textbooks for a change! I love to cook for family and friends and I love Golf... My newest golf buddy is my six year old grandson Michael, who is quite good, actually!
What do you picture yourself doing 10 years from now?
Probably what I am doing now, loving life, working, helping others, having fun, golfing and being more involved in non-profit organizations.
What are some gifts your parents gave you, that money can’t buy?
From my Mother, I learned to have a “servant’s heart”. She lived Maya Angelou’s quote: “If you get, give; if you learn, teach”. I have tried to follow her beautiful example throughout my life.
From my Father who taught me, early on, the importance of being able to take care of myself and that what goes on within the “four walls of your home” is most important.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
That would mean living life with regrets, something I strive not to do. I believe we make the best decisions “at the time”. While like everyone, I have faced life’s challenges and losses, but my gains and blessings are countless. All of my life experiences have made me the person I am today and I am grateful for the opportunities life has given me.
What would you like your legacy to be? What would you most like to be remembered for?
We all have something that drives us ~ for me it is service and love. I would like to be remembered as a daughter, mother, grandmother, friend and Realtor whose core drive is one of Love! I have learned to do “every ordinary thing with extraordinary love”, whether it’s puttering at home, working on my favorite charities or in my career as a Realtor. For over 45 years, I have been in the hearts and homes of many people, serving their families. It has been an honor and a pleasure. Friends have become clients and clients have become friend. I hope that I am touching the lives of those I love, know and serve, leaving their lives and the world just a little better!