President and Co-Founder
Over the past 20 years, Marissa Limsiaco has broken barriers as part of a small percentage of women who graduated from West Point and led soldiers in combat.
Today, she leads Otso, a financial services company formed by industry veterans of commercial real estate, finance and technology to revolutionize the commercial leasing process for both Tenant and Landlord. In an environment where only 2.3% of venture capital goes to women, Marissa has raised millions for her companies.
Marissa is the recipient of West Point’s prestigious Army Athletic Association Trophy, a decorated combat Veteran, and is named one of the most influential women in commercial real estate.
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
I’ve reflected a lot on this question lately and I realize a lot of our outward identity, especially in society, when asked this question (even socially) is around what we do for work. However, I am way more than just what I do for work – I am a serial entrepreneur, wife, dog-mom, musician, child of immigrants, proud Aunt, Army Veteran, and former collegiate athlete. I live every day with gratitude and the goal of making the most of my limited time on this earth – creating, connecting, loving, and improving myself as a person.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a leader and having a personal brand?
With leadership, I hands down love seeing growth in others. With my personal brand, I enjoy the inspiration and motivation I can provide others, especially women, to succeed and overcome challenges.
Q: What do you find most challenging as a leader with a public, personal brand?
I was extremely hesitant at first about publicly sharing personal thoughts and experiences to build my professional brand- I’m a private person and as I’ve grown older sharing on social media (from a personal standpoint) has become scarce because of the negativity that it can bring to self care. This is something I continually have to overcome to grow my personal brand and I do have boundaries that I’ve set – in times when I feel like SM is too much – I’ll just stop for a little bit and not judge myself. It’s easier said than done, but it’s extremely important to be mindful of how my public persona may impact my own self care and those I love around me.
Q: Do you have a mindfulness practice? If so, what are some of your rituals?
Oh HECK YES. My morning ritual is sacred – I do a meditation in bed before I get up and then every weekday after I get ready I journal about what I’m grateful for and excited about. I also practiced meditation throughout the day or reflective journaling depending on what’s going on in my life.
Q: Do you have any consistent branding practices (social media, video, blogging, etc.) you do?
I blog every month and film all my video content for a quarter over a 1-2 day period.
Q: Leadership (and branding) today requires so much of ourselves. How do you show up authentically and also keep your battery charged?
It’s all about self-care and being present. I make sure to put time aside each week to have what I call ‘sloth’ time – mindless chill to help me recharge like reading a book, playing music, watching TV or doing a puzzle. Now of course this is easier said than done but my mindfulness practice comes in to keep all of that in check. Sleep is extremely important to me as well. I need at least eight hours!
Q: What one difficult lesson continues to regularly guide and inform your career?
Do what brings you joy, not money. My time matters more to me than anything now. I’m fully aware this is a statement of privilege after years of experience and success and not everybody is at a point in their life where this could be true for them, but I made multiple mistakes going after opportunities for ‘big money’ and I’ve learned money isn’t enough to get myself out of bed every day. This all goes back to my point about the importance of gratefulness and the fact we have such limited time on earth.
Q: What has been the most satisfying victory in your career? Lessons from that?
I achieved this victory early in life, but looking back I realized it ended up shaping a lot of my career to where I am today. When I was only 23 years old, I led an operation responsible for hot refueling and arming helicopters in the northern part of Iraq. My team was responsible for upgrading our fueling system to improve by over 1000% allowing extremely rapid refueling to helicopters moving in and out of the fight. We received numerous awards for that successful operation. Through that experience, I learned how to essentially be an entrepreneur – I saw a problem/inefficiency, developed an innovative solution, pitched it (had to get approval all the way up to the commanding General of Iraq at the time) and executed.
Q: What sort of questions would you love for our guests to ask you on Being Marketers?
I’m happy to answer any questions on how my view of marketing has evolved from a founder perspective over the years; my strategy for overcoming challenges, leadership lessons, or how to succeed as a woman in a male dominated industry.
Q: What are you reading or listening to (podcasts or audiobooks) right now that you would recommend?
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