Senada Adzem’s unusual path to real estate stardom

Super-broker escaped war in Bosnia before arriving on South Florida real estate scene

May.May 23, 2014 03:00 PM

Senada Adzem

In the world of South Florida luxury real estate, few brokers play the game better than Douglas Elliman’s Senada Adzem. But, as a Bosnian refugee, her path to success was anything but typical.

Born in the former Yugoslovia, Senada Adzem was with her family in Croatia when war broke out in 1991.

“In all the mayhem, you don’t know what to do next. All the banks are closed, so you cannot withdraw any cash. There is bombings in the background,” Adzem told the Huffington Post. “So, at the time, Bosnia, or a different part of Yugoslavia, was safe. There was no fighting…so we went to Bosnia.”

But within a few weeks 14-year-old Adzem found herself again in a warzone.

“There was a complete siege of Sarajevo, and a lot of civilians being shot or killed by snipers or mortars…I would say it was our Holocaust.”

During those four years of violence, Adzem began working for the United Nations’ humanitarian division, “delivering food and toys to different orphanages” and “going to different camps and recording things.”

Through her work with the UN, Adzem was introduced to the US ambassador to Bosnia, and, as a result, was one of the first people to get out of the country.

At 18, she boarded a plane to New York City, and eventually began working in South Florida real estate. Since then, she has sold more than $263 million worth of property and routinely gets some of the best listings Miami has to offer. [Huffington Post]Christopher Cameron

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