Lana Ostankovich came to the U.S. just as the Soviet Union was collapsing. It wasn't because she wanted to escape.
"We were spoiled brats," she said of herself and her former husband. "We just wanted to go and explore new horizons. And America is something special."
Those new horizons landed her in New York in 1989 and then brought her to Arizona in 1995.
Ostankovich had to work two jobs to make a living in the Rim country for her daughter, Olga Zlotnik, and herself. One of them was at Kohl's Ranch where she arranged the presentations about the property for prospective clients.
It was 1996 when her boss at Kohl's Ranch told her she should get her real estate license. "It was good timing," she said. "A class was being offered and Cliff Potts was my teacher."
It was also difficult, being bilingual, she had to translate her studies into her native Russian to fully understand them.
"But I don't give up. I was born to be a Realtor. I really enjoy it, every part of it. I have a passion for it."
And while she enjoys every part of her work as a Realtor with ERA Young Realty & Investment, her dream is to go into international real estate through ERA.
She studied economy and finance in her native country, but she did not like dealing with numbers and being stuck behind a desk.
"I didn't like it. I am a huge communicator. I was always talking to people and trying to help them. My sisters were kind of embarrassed by it, but my mother always encouraged me."
Ostankovich comes from a large family, she is one of six children and all of them became professionals.
Her daughter, Olga, followed the family path. She graduated from Payson High School with honors in 2000 and attended Amherst College in Massachusetts on a full scholarship. She earned a degree in Asian studies in 2004 and is now working for Mogollon Development Group.
Ostankovich is very proud of her daughter, "She speaks fluent Russian and Japanese and basic Greek and Spanish, and, of course, English."
Another love of Ostankovich's life is travel.
"I like to find out about different places and culture,"she said.
Monte Carlo is her favorite, among the places she's seen, but New Zealand is where she would like to go.
"It's something wild," she said and laughed.
Name: Lana Ostankovich
Employer: ERA Young Realty & Investment
Family: Daughter, Olga Zlotnik
Personal motto: Dream. Make your dream come true. Live your dream.
Inspiration: My mother, Olga Ostankovich.
Greatest feat: I moved to Payson from New York.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: I love to travel.
Three words that describe me best are ... honest, forward-thinking, service.
I don't want to brag but ... I'm very lucky to have my daughter.
The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Mark Twain. He was one of my favorite writers when I was a child, he wrote so it seemed you were there in the story. He was a humanitarian and I am too.
Luxury defined: Go into international real estate through ERA.
Dream vacation spot: New Zealand.
Why Payson? It was my destiny. It's my true love.