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Empowering Communities Through Real Estate Crowdfunding: A Conversation with Vontenea Stokes

Secure Living's Vontenea Stokes Shares Her Journey of Democratizing Real Estate Investment to Create Equitable Opportunities for All

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Devin: What is your superpower?

Vontenea: My superpower is really my faith, my relationship with Jesus Christ.

In today’s episode, I had the pleasure of hosting Vontenea Stokes, Co-founder and CEO of Secure Living, a real estate crowdfunding portal. Vontenea’s journey from being an investor to creating a platform that democratizes real estate investment is both inspiring and impactful. Her passion for involving family, friends, and a broader community in her successful real estate ventures led to the birth of Secure Living.

As Vontenea shared, the motivation behind Secure Living was to lower the barriers to real estate investment. “Historically, in order for it to be an equalizer, you have to have the capital,” she said. This realization drove her and her co-founder to create a platform where individuals can invest as little as $250, making real estate investment accessible to a wider audience.

This inclusive approach is not just about finances but also about fostering trust and ensuring diligent management of funds. Vontenea emphasized the importance of compliance and regulation, highlighting that despite the challenges, it was worth it to gain the trust of investors and provide them with secure opportunities. “People need to have trust in your organization and your company,” she noted.

One of the most compelling aspects of our conversation was discussing how crowdfunding is proving to be more effective than traditional venture capital in supporting diverse founders. Vontenea pointed out the success rates among Women of Color, attributing it to their determination and grit. “There is a high success rate that we do see, especially in Women of Color specifically,” she said, reflecting on the resilience and innovative spirit of these entrepreneurs.

Real estate, as Vontenea explained, can be an equalizer in society. By lowering the investment threshold, Secure Living enables more people to participate in wealth-building opportunities historically inaccessible to them. This democratization of real estate investment is a crucial step towards economic equity.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share Vontenea’s story. Her work at Secure Living is a testament to how innovative solutions in crowdfunding can drive social impact and create more inclusive economic opportunities. Stay tuned for more inspiring conversations on “Superpowers for Good.”

Vontenea’s insights highlight the potential of crowdfunding to foster diverse and inclusive investment opportunities, paving the way for a more equitable future in real estate and beyond.


1. Introduction to Secure Living: Tina Stokes is the CEO and founder of Secure Living, a regulated crowdfunding portal focused on real estate investments. She transitioned from being an investor to creating a platform to involve more people, particularly family and friends, in her successful real estate ventures.

2. Regulatory Challenges: Getting Secure Living regulated by the SEC and Finra was challenging, involving stringent compliance and audits. Despite the difficulties, Tina emphasizes the importance of trust and diligence due to the financial nature of the business.

3. Diverse Investment Opportunities: Secure Living offers a variety of real estate investment opportunities, from single-family rentals to mixed-use spaces and even a manufacturing facility and hospital. This diversity aims to empower investors to choose investments suited to their interests and to encourage a broad range of participants by lowering the entry barrier to as little as $250.

4. Impact of Diversity: Tina notes that crowdfunding can be particularly beneficial for diverse founders, including women and minorities, who often face barriers in traditional venture capital. She champions deliberate investment in diverse teams, which data suggests outperform monocultural teams due to varied perspectives and experiences.

5. Personal Superpower: Faith: Tina credits her faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as her superpower, providing strength and guidance through challenging situations, including living abroad in Germany. She encourages daily practices such as prayer, reading the Bible, and surrounding oneself with supportive individuals to cultivate a strong relationship with faith.

How to Develop Faith As a Superpower

Vontenea’s superpower is her unwavering faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. She attributes her strength, resilience, and ability to bless others to this deep, personal connection, which she considers the foundation of her success and motivation.

One of the most profound instances where Vontenea relied on her faith was during her time living in Germany. Stepping out of her comfort zone, she moved to a country where she didn't speak the language to pursue an opportunity with a manufacturer. Experiencing the challenges of adapting to a new culture and language, Vontenea leaned heavily on her faith, which sustained her through the difficult moments and allowed her to thrive in a foreign environment for nearly four years.

Tips for Developing This Superpower:

1. Focus on Relationship Over Religion: Build a personal relationship with your faith rather than following rituals for the sake of it. Seek a deeper connection and understanding.

2. Daily Practice: Incorporate daily activities that strengthen your faith, such as prayer, reading sacred texts, or listening to spiritual music.

3. Surround Yourself with Support: Engage with a community or individuals who encourage and support your faith journey.

4. Be Vulnerable and Authentic: Embrace your imperfections and be honest about your struggles, allowing your faith to guide you through them.

By following Vontenea Stokes’s example and advice, you can make faith a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

Vontenea Stokes:

Co-founder and CEO, Secure Living

About Secure Living: At Secure Living, we believe in democratizing real estate investment and making it accessible to everyone, especially underrepresented communities. Founded by seasoned real estate investors Chris and Vontenea Stokes, our mission is to bridge the gap between real estate opportunities and everyday people, fostering inclusive growth and community empowerment.

Our journey began with a simple idea: to help close family and friends invest in real estate. However, we quickly realized the widespread demand for such opportunities, particularly in communities of color. Driven by this need, we set out to create a platform that empowers individuals to participate in real estate investments, no matter their background or financial standing.

To ensure trust and transparency, we undertook the rigorous process of becoming regulated by the SEC and FINRA. Today, Secure Living operates a fully compliant funding portal that connects investors with high-quality real estate projects. Our platform is designed to be user-friendly and inclusive, providing the tools and resources needed to make informed investment decisions.

At Secure Living, we’re not just about investing in properties; we’re about investing in people and communities.


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Biographical Information: Meet Vontenea Stokes, the dynamic Co-founder and CEO of Secure Living. A seasoned real estate investor, Vontenea has a knack for turning ideas into reality and creating marketing strategies that truly work. Her career journey includes impactful roles at Tesa Tape, a global adhesive manufacturer, where she excelled as Regional Market Manager, International Communication Manager, and International Product Manager. In these roles, she led cross-functional teams and developed market and product strategies that generated an impressive $50 million in net sales annually.

But Vontenea is more than her corporate achievements. As a wife and mother, she balances her professional and personal life with grace and determination. Her entrepreneurial spirit shines through in her ability to raise capital for her own real estate ventures, demonstrating her financial savvy and business acumen.

Vontenea's passion for connecting people and fostering engagement within the local real estate community is at the heart of her work. She’s dedicated to promoting industry collaboration and driving growth for everyone involved. With her diverse skill set and proven track record, Vontenea is leading Secure Living toward a future filled with success and innovation.


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Superpowers for Good
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