W&D Community

March 7, 2023

Women's History Month spotlight: Carina Johnson

Women's History Month spotlight: Carina Johnson
Carina Johnson

Tell us a little bit about your career.

A year after my daughter was born, I moved to the DC area and started working in property management. From there, I began to work for a State Farm agent where I obtained a Property & Casualty insurance license.

I started my career in commercial real estate working as an insurance analyst for Wells Fargo. One of my colleagues at Wells left to join Walker & Dunlop and convinced me to apply for a position. I got the job and continued to climb the ladder here at W&D. 

As your career has evolved over time, tell us about a significant moment, opportunity, event, or person that impacted the course of your career.

I would say my career evolved because I was there for many significant events and there was always a problem to be solved, a need to be filled, or a fire to be put out. I always say, whenever there is a problem there is an opportunity. It was those opportunities that gave me the ability to shine and show my manager what I am capable of and revealed to her my potential. Once she saw this, she challenged me more and gave harder assignments for me to grow from.

Women in particular often look back and wish we had been kinder to our younger selves – what piece of advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

I've had a strong work ethic from a very young age. It started when I was 9 years old waking up at 4 am to help my mother clean a restaurant kitchen before going to elementary school. I learned from that experience that when I grew up, I wanted to work with my brain instead of my hands.

I am one of three siblings and the only one to have finished high school and go to college. I was very driven in college and completed two majors and a minor in three and half years. I share this story, because I was laser focused to get into the working world and I have been equally focused during my career.

But if there is one thing that I could go back and tell my 25 years old self, it would be to stop and take the time to smell the roses and be present. Because time goes by faster as each year comes.

What gets you out of bed in the morning feeling energized and ready to take on the day?

My fifteen-year-old daughter Kianna and eleven-year-old son Jonathan motivate me every day.

Tell us about something that is on your Bucket List.

I’ve always aspired to travel the world and start a nick-nack or art collection from all my travels. For the longest time, I thought I would have to wait to do this once the kids graduated college. And then I met a woman who traveled alone to multiple countries in Europe with two young sons. A baby and toddler! After hearing her story, I realized I don’t have to wait and can do it now. 

Many of us have the privilege of knowing you professionally, but what is something that would surprise people to know about you?

I have always wanted to build my own small real estate investment portfolio and for the last ten years have been taking the steps to reach this goal. I now have my first investment property that I manage and am working on my next challenge.

What is the last book you couldn’t put down, or show you binge watched?

Recently I have been stuck on two shows. The Servant on Apple TV and The Last of Us on HBO.

Interested in working with our great team at Walker & Dunlop? Browse our open positions.

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