Athena Agent Spotlight: Stacie Carubba

Eminent, Thoroughgoing, Results-Driven

There came a time, not too long after finishing college, when Stacie Carubba no longer wanted to be under anyone else’s umbrella. She wanted financial independence and she wanted to carve out her own path in life. That’s why she turned to real estate.

As she was earning her license in 2015, she wasn’t expecting the new career to skyrocket.

But it certainly has; there’s no question Stacie has found her path to success. In 2021, Marquis’ Who’s Who in America chose her as one of the top 1% of professionals in her field, and Biz New Orleans selected her as a top 10 real estate influencer. She’s consistently named a top producing agent in the city, closing multi-millions annually. Stacie even went from being Athena’s very first agent to becoming, in 2021, a partner in the firm.

The grand total she’s closed? More than $70 million — and counting.

Stacie attributes her success to following the motto of her grandfather, a band director: Results, not excuses. “Even my personal logo has a trumpet in it,” she adds. “That’s a nod to him because he was a trumpet player.”

To get great results, Stacie combines covering all the bases, focusing on sellers’ bottom line, and thinking outside the box. Meticulously staying on top of the details herself allows Stacie to give her clients the best service possible. She tailors every deal to the client’s needs, and for sellers specifically, Stacie hones in on maximizing their bottom line with a robust marketing plan and listing package she’s refined over the years.

As for creative problem-solving, Stacie emphasizes impressive visuals and unique listings. Capitalizing on her advertising and marketing background, she designs her own brochures and stages homes. “I add decor items to make listing photos really pop,” she says. “I plan my posts based on how they’ll look on Instagram. Social media is where I get a lot of my business.” Not every house is ready to be staged, of course. “For those,” Stacie explains, “I’ll go in and spend eight hours myself, decluttering and organizing, to make it a Wow! first impression.”

Listings can be further customized by including financial assistance or incentive options. “I think of a lot of things that other agents just aren’t going to do,” she says.

With a successful track record behind her, and a recent newborn in her arms, Stacie’s current focus is on streamlining, time management, and working smarter, not harder. Walking away from a bad deal whenever necessary, continuing to improve — she received her broker’s license in 2020 — and staying at the cutting edge of marketing and technology. She appreciates Athena’s help in prioritizing innovation. “We’re always one step ahead, and others are taking notice. I love Athena’s forward-thinking attitude.”

Let the trumpet sound: Results, not excuses.

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Athena Agent Spotlight: Jamie Magee

Jamie Magee has been a top producer for Athena for two years in a row. The secret to her success? Her belief in herself, in her faith, and in her clients.

Jamie was raised to appreciate horses from an early age. Her parents and other relatives drove carriages. She took up the occupation too, serving as a guide on French Quarter mule rides. The tours deepened her understanding of New Orleans, enhanced her people skills, and kept her near horses, but after more than a decade on the carriage line, there seemed little left to learn. She wanted a self-development challenge.

Conversations with other drivers inspired her to pursue a real estate license. She studied late at night, after her kids went to bed. In 2017, she earned her license, a major milestone on the new path she’d envisioned for herself.

Jamie had always been interested in different parishes and architectural styles, but she says working as a real estate agent “turned out to be a far more intense undertaking than it initially seemed.” She worked hard to bring herself up to speed. “I built my business watching what people did, how they worded emails, how they responded to offers,” she explains. The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans certified her as a Historic House Specialist in 2019.

Now she’s been an agent for over five years, and she still loves meeting the challenges. “With real estate it’s a matter of yourself. You can be your own hindrance or your own success.” She’s lately found her edge by working smarter, not harder. That includes thinking through how to make the most of her existing relationships.

She steers her own success, but Athena helps as well. Jamie appreciates the collaboration among Athena’s highly motivated agents and the state-of-the-art emphasis on technology and marketing. “They do a ton for us,” she says, “and they have my back.”

Jamie also relies upon her belief in the Christian faith. It teaches her to serve her clients with compassion and integrity and to hold in high regard homebuyers’ desire to make a house their home, their refuge. She’s active in her church, where her husband is a Deacon and his father is a Bishop.

Her religious faith and self-improvement passion add up to an experienced, enthusiastic real estate agent who cheers her clients on. Jaime believes in her clients — even after the deal has closed. Several have invited her over after the purchase to demonstrate how they’ve customized their new home. “Clients have shown me their decorations and family photos,” she says. “It’s a pretty big honor to be invited.”

The effort Jamie puts in kindles benevolent feelings among her clients and herself for their homes. She’s turned a job into a faith-fueled calling. “For me,” Jamie concludes, “it’s about being a resource for people, what they want and need — as opposed to just working for a paycheck. Real estate is very much something you have to have your heart in.”

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November Agent Spotlight: Katie O’Leary

Katie O’Leary combines school smarts with people skills to minimize the stress of real estate transactions—and maybe even make them fun.

A fifth-generation New Orleanian, Katie is well-versed in the Big Easy’s different neighborhoods. “I’ve lived all over the city,” she says, “so I’m a New Orleans hometown kind of girl.” In 1998, she graduated from the longstanding local high school Mount Carmel Academy.

Higher education achievements paved her path to success. Katie earned her bachelor’s in education psychology from Mississippi State University in 2002, matriculating magna cum laude. In 2006, she graduated from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law—in the top eight percent of her class.

These impressive credentials led to an administrative position that shaped her approach to real estate. Before earning her realtor license in 2017, Katie worked for a decade at Tulane Law School in charge of student life. That meant advising stressed students on job hunting, judicial clerkship applications, and even their grades and relationships. While her legal background helped her draw up real estate contracts—a critical skill—it was her experience counseling ambitious future attorneys that really sharpened her knack for supporting people by removing stress.

“My job at Tulane involved meeting with high-strung students and counseling them on their problems,” Katie explains. “I enjoy helping people. Real estate is a similar sort of problem-solving.” She loves listening to families’ various needs and figuring out ways to meet as many of them as possible within budget.

Like law school, buying a home is a huge expenditure; it’s understandable to feel tense over it. “But,” she says, “my aim as an agent is to make the process as stress-free as possible. If people are patient, calm, and remember their goals, they can pretty much always accomplish what they’re looking for.”

Now that she’s been a realtor for nearly six years, she counsels beginning realtors, too. “I enjoy mentoring new people,” she adds. “It’s fun!”

What advice would she give herself about her own future? “You have to evolve. I got better at social media recently, trying new things. I take marketing and social media courses as extra education to learn how to best market my listings. I had a goal this past year to up my social media presence and I did!” She finds that Athena’s encouraging, tech-savvy atmosphere facilitates such self-study.

And remember the fun. “Many of my clients are law school grads I still talk with,” Katie points out. “I used to counsel them in school and now I counsel them in this. You really must keep in touch with people and build long-term relationships. It makes the job fun.”

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October Agent Spotlight: Lauren Crain

Lauren Crain’s career as a realtor exemplifies the go-getter’s knack for turning local ties into opportunities. A top producer for three years and counting, she looks forward to further expanding her network in a world where historic homes and rapid change coincide.

Born in Metairie, Lauren grew up learning an appreciation for old-world Louisiana architecture from watching her father, a woodworker, restore centuries-old plantation houses by hand. Just as attentive, Lauren today takes time to understand each home’s unique quirks and pass that knowledge on to prospective buyers.

Lauren understands Greater New Orleans properties like only a local can. She graduated from Mount Carmel Academy in 2003. In 2007, she received her bachelor’s in small business management and entrepreneurship from LSU. Following some years in franchise operations and event planning, both in the region, she earned her real estate license in 2017. “Local is a different view of the community,” she says. “You have a different view of neighborhoods: how they’ve changed, how things work.”

To help families fulfill the dream of a new place, Lauren leverages her area connections to uncover little-known opportunities. For example, if a client works in a certain occupation, they may qualify for regional grants or other assistance. Continuing to deepen her hometown roots empowers Lauren to discover these hidden gems. “I like helping families find exactly where they can be comfortable, in a way that makes both emotional sense and financial sense,” she says.

Prioritizing her network has fueled Lauren’s achievements for more than half a decade, even in the face of economic fluctuations. “Working through booms and slowdowns, through COVID and other uncertainty, develops a great perspective,” she points out. “With experience, you see how things turn around, what’s important and what’s not important.” After all, local homes — and Lauren’s local connections — have been here far longer than any particular headline.

Having grown her business year after year, Lauren still focuses on strengthening her network to keep ahead of the times. She singles out marketing and communications as innovative fields where she would like to meet more people. Working for Athena, a boutique brokerage, gives her greater flexibility to pursue such goals. That matters because ultimately knowing the people of New Orleans has made her career a success.

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Alicia Lagarde Craig Joins Athena

Even after more than 16 years in the industry, Alicia Lagarde Craig still loves to learn about real estate—and apply this knowledge to serving her clients. Athena proudly welcomes this dedicated agent to our brokerage.

Growing up in St. Bernard Parish, Alicia demonstrated an early passion for education by graduating from Mount Carmel Academy high school summa cum laude. In 2007, at the University of New Orleans, she completed a double major in finance and business administration. On top of that, she added a minor in real estate.

Before finishing college, she already had her real estate license, earned in 2006. She enjoyed seeing how properties are styled, and also pricing them, a complex art incorporating her finance background.

Alicia entered the market during hard times—Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis—but credits those challenges with forcing her to learn everything possible about the business. To this day, she regularly attends industry conferences, subscribes to trade publications, and takes extra continuing education hours.  The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans certified her as a historic home specialist in 2010, a designation in which she takes special pride.

The opportunity to keep building her skills drew her to Athena. The boutique firm is staffed with quality agents while staying small enough that no one gets lost in the mix. “That’s good for collaboration and coming together on ideas,” Alicia says. “Communication has been top notch during the transition.”

Athena is grateful for Alicia’s knowledge and the chance to collaborate with her.

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Tanner Tafaro Joins Athena

Athena is delighted to announce that Tanner Tafaro has joined the brokerage.

A New Orleans native, Tanner attended Archbishop Rummel High School and Tulane University, graduating with a degree in strategic business consulting and real estate development. Tanner has gone on to become the General Manager of his family’s construction company, in addition to acquiring and overseeing multiple rental properties across Louisiana.

Tanner was attracted to Athena because of the balance it strikes between maintaining a close-knit group of agents who work well together and offering them the resources and tools normally available only through larger brokerages.   “In fact,” said Tanner, “Athena’s approach is more refined than some of the large brokerages.  From the software it custom developed to its suite of forms drafted by Louisiana lawyers, the company really goes above and beyond to support its agents.”

Tanner is excited about the opportunity to use his skills and extensive network to promote the culture and success of Athena—while serving Tanner’s clients.  We’re proud to have him in our corner.

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Athena proudly welcomes Joshua Hartdegen to our team!

Joshua Hartdegen’s real estate roots run deep. From the time he was just a boy, helping his father with renovations, Joshua has been surrounded by everything real-estate-related. Learning from a family of contractors and carpenters, Joshua took his passion for home projects to the next level a few years ago when he rehabbed a dilapidated 1920s home. His licensure as a real estate agent is the natural next step in his burgeoning real estate career.

Joshua graduated Jesuit High School and LSU, with a major in psychology and a minor in history and sociology. He is an avid reader and has a long history of service to the communities where he has lived, including his continued volunteer work for the Louisiana SPCA and the Take Paws animal shelter. Joshua lives in Old Jefferson with his dog, Royal, an 8-year-old husky he rescued.

Joshua joined Athena because, in his own words, “they are very down to earth, very supportive, and feverishly focused on quality representation for their clients.”

Anyone buying or selling a home in New Orleans would be lucky to have Joshua Hartdegen in their corner. We are grateful he chose to join Athena.

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Athena proudly welcomes Marcel Tullier to the brokerage!

Marcel was a seasoned real estate investor long before he became a Realtor. He has bought homes, built houses on spec, and even renovated a few historical buildings. He knows the costs involved in renovations and flips, and he draws upon this knowledge to help his clients grasp what they’re getting into.

A native of New Orleans, Marcel was born in Gentilly and moved to Metairie when he was 14. He attended Brother Martin High School and went on to earn a degree in Petroleum Engineering from LSU.

In 2016 Marcel developed an interest in Real Estate. He has acquired properties in many ways, from Sheriff auction and tax sales to adjudicated properties. Given his growing activity in real estate, it made sense to get his real estate license.

Marcel understands the value of a property from a construction perspective, and he’s well versed in the permit process. His hands-on approach is a good fit for Athena’s boutique business model.

Today he lives in Lakeview with his wife, three children, and their dog Louie, a rescue spaniel/border collie mix.

A lifelong Saints fan and a family man at heart, Marcel enjoys cooking, barbecues, and playing soccer and baseball with his kids. Marcel Tullier is proud of his New Orleans heritage, and eager to help you get the most out of this great city.

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Athena proudly welcomes Michelle Centanni to the brokerage!

With an eye for potential and a gift for math, Michelle knows how to spot value for her clients. Her father, a long-time investor in local real estate, taught her how to think beyond the short-term. She is passionate about helping every client gain long-term wins from the sale or purchase of their property.

“I’m not thinking about tomorrow,” she says, “I’m thinking about years to come.”

Michelle Centanni was born and raised in Kenner. She attended Archbishop Chapelle, where she held leadership positions and discovered her interest in education. These activities created a vibrant social life, and to this day she continues to make her relationships a cherished priority.

She majored in Elementary Education at LSU, and she continues to stay involved with her Kappa Delta sorority sisters.

Throughout her twenties, Michelle worked for American All-Star where she was a dance coach, choreographer, and role model for young dancers. She always sought to instill leadership, teamwork, and a positive mental attitude in her trainees. These values continue to guide her work as a REALTOR®.

Michelle eventually became a teacher and a math tutor at St. Dominic in Lakeview, where she built strong relationships with the students and their families. As many of her friends are first-time home buyers, she came to realize that she could better serve her community as a REALTOR®.

The high value she places on community led Michelle to join the Athena team.

“I chose Athena,” she says, “because they understand that less is more. It’s a very close-knit group. Instead of signing as many agents as possible, they focus on quality over quantity.”

Michelle is a newlywed who lives right on the border of Kenner and Metairie with her husband, a golden retriever named Luna, and a rescue cat named Roux. Today, she continues to draw upon her teaching experience to network and build relationships. She helps her clients make big choices that will benefit them over the long term.


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Alaine Wehlen joins the Athena Real Estate team

Alaine Wehlen is a natural-born educator. The skills she’s gained in eight years of teaching have carried over to her real estate career, where she acts as a trusted guide and wealth of information for a small group of loyal clients.

Buying or selling real estate is rarely a simple process, but Alaine stands by her clients, providing critical guidance and working behind the scenes to ensure success. Because she only works with a few clients at a time, she can provide a much more thoughtful, personalized experience.

Alaine is passionate about the many neighborhoods of New Orleans and well educated on their differences. She’s also a staging expert, with a keen eye for the subtle changes that make a big difference to potential buyers. She enjoys the process of working with a seller to make their home show as well as possible and ultimately sell for a high price.

Alaine was raised in New Orleans and attended LSU. She is a teacher at St. Dominic, where her three daughters also attend. She’s been married to her husband, Nick, for 15 years, and in the spring of 2020, they added a new member to their family — a rescue dog named Trooper.

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