Ambo International Investing is a collaborative effort brought to life by its two founders with a singular purpose - to simplify the investing process for U.S. diplomats and their families.
Our goal is to educate and facilitate. Both our founders have learned that the knowledge and experience offered by others can have a life-changing impact if you are open to expanding your horizons. We can show you the path to success - but it’s up to you to take the first step.
You can make your capital go further, make your investments more profitable, and make your dreams a reality - let Ambo show you how.
At Ambo, we think that who we are is more important to our investors than who we’ve worked for. We know the value we provide to our clients stems from where we’ve come from, not where we went to school. A list of degrees, accomplishments, and titles won’t tell you anything about us, our values, or why you should trust us with your business. So, instead, we want to tell you a story about two women who have struggled and persevered.
Though their stories differ, Mary and Maureen have both learned first-hand what drive, determination, and a do-or-die attitude can accomplish. Most importantly, they’ve learned that best way to succeed in life is to help others pursue their goals.
Growing up in Philadelphia, Maureen was always the most independent of her parents’ three girls. At a time when women weren’t expected - or even allowed - to make it on their own, Maureen had different ideas about what she wanted her life to be. Moving out at 17 and supporting herself through college, she was never one to do things the easy way. At 20, she made the trek out to San Diego, CA, with nothing to fall back on but her own drive to make a life in a place she felt inexplicably drawn to.
Mary’s story has a different start, but the same drive. Born in Mexico, Mary was raised by her mother and grandmother. The influence of these two strong, independent women instilled a sense of determination and focus in Mary, even at a young age. At just five years old, she began helping her mother in the family restaurant in whatever small ways she was able. From those early days waking up at 4am to chop onions, Mary never stopped working - but something inside told her there was more for her out there. At 21, she graduated from college and decided to move to the U.S. to find out what she was made of. The transition wasn’t easy, but her desire to help her family back home have a better life kept her moving forward.
Maureen’s own forward momentum brought her to the world of pharmaceutical sales shortly after college. She was successful, but after 15 years of working long hours while raising a family, she realized that her meagre 1-2% annual raises weren’t even keeping up with inflation. Finally she understood that, even though she was doing everything ‘right’, working this hard only to increase the CEO’s paycheck wasn’t going to get her where she wanted to be. A spark was rekindled inside her. She began reading all she could about investing and her entire worldview was turned upside down. The scarcity mindset hadn’t been serving her, and it was time to do something about it.
In Mary’s case, the world of real estate came knocking at an unexpected moment. After a few years of working in the U.S. - trying desperately to learn as much English as she could during the few free hours she had - Mary learned a valuable lesson about the power of community and mentorship. While working as a server at a Mexican restaurant in California, Mary began an easy friendship with a frequent customer. Learning that she worked in real estate, Mary’s interest was piqued, and what could have been a simple conversation turned into a life-changing opportunity. Her new friend soon took Mary under her wing, taught her the real estate business, and eventually gave her a job. Mary knew this wasn’t just a lucky break, this was something bigger.
Maureen’s transition from employee to entrepreneur was exhilarating. In 2009, she began working as a contractor for one of the biggest names in turnkey investing, where she learned all there was to know about market analysis and investment strategy. Ready to strike out on her own, she left the Memphis-based turnkey company and co-founded one of her own in 2013, based in Birmingham, AL. With no leads or marketing budget, and going through a divorce at the same time, Maureen knew she had to make this new venture work, whatever the cost. While single-handedly raising three children under the age of five, Maureen needed to close 10 sales within 90 days just to stay afloat, knowing that bankruptcy was her only backup plan.
Mary was also at a new chapter in her life, moving from her position as a real estate assistant to working for a mortgage broker. For the first time in her life, she was earning enough to be able to send money home to her family in Mexico. The economic collapse of 2008, however, changed everything. Mary lost her job and had to start her career over from scratch. She found entry-level work at a bank, then at a wine and spirits distributor. Determined to get back to a place where could help her family back home, Mary worked tirelessly for advancement. She climbed through the ranks and eventually got back to a place of financial stability. She bought a house and a car - began really living the ‘American Dream’. But what is a dream that takes all your energy and leaves you exhausted at the end of every day? Mary knew this wasn’t what she’d been working for. There had to be more out there.
While Mary's American Dream seemed to be taking a detour, Maureen was quickly learning that building a business from the ground up was no fantasy either. She was no longer working to boost the bank account of some faceless CEO, but she was learning what real vulnerability felt like, and what kind of determination and sacrifice it would require to keep her head above water. With three young children depending on her success, she knew this was a make-or-break moment.
Mary’s life wasn’t where she wanted it to be, but she had no idea it was about to relocate entirely. At the age of 29, she met a charming U.S. diplomat and fell in love. When her beau received orders for Egypt, Mary made the leap - giving up her career, her family, and the life she knew, to follow her heart to a whole new world. However, without a career to keep her fulfilled and challenged, Mary spent most of her time alone in her apartment, quickly slipping into a deep depression.
While Mary was struggling to adapt to her new life, Maureen was beginning to see that hers dreams were truly within her grasp. Through sheer force of will, a lot of sweat and tears, and a little bit of luck, Maureen and her co-founders managed to survive their first few perilous years. More than surviving, they built their original business into a family of five real estate companies, growing from just $175K in total revenue to more than $46M in just five years. Finally, Maureen caught a glimpse of what she’d been striving for all along.
Mary, too, finally began seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - she began taking odd jobs around her neighborhood and started learning Arabic as her third language. Most importantly, she started a group where wives of U.S. diplomats could gather, make friends, and network. Sharing the experience of having to acclimate to the challenges of Egyptian culture, the group created a space for these strong women to build community. With renewed inspiration and a solid support network behind her, Mary found herself looking for ways to give back to the Ambo community and create something meaningful.
Like Mary, Maureen’s journey taught her a valuable lesson about the power of the people around you. These days, if asked what her ‘title’ is, she’d say she’s a mom first. The love of her children and her drive to create a good life for them was always her primary motivator. Later, the people she surrounded herself while building her turnkey business were an invaluable resource of knowledge and support. Self-determination and focus had always been her strong suits, but Maureen learned that the lessons her parents taught her - the same lessons she strives to impart on her children - are the keys to real success: help people whenever you can, however you can; be true to your word; do the right thing even when no one is watching. Once she shifted her focus from doing what she was ‘supposed’ to do, to doing something to help other people achieve their goals, her own goals suddenly got a lot closer.
As she became more involved with the Ambo community and expanded her social networks, Mary began to notice a trend. Her friends would often spend their entire R&R in the U.S. scouting properties and trying to line up deals. They returned even more exhausted than when they left, having never gotten to spend real time with the families they went to visit. Worse, they often ended up with investments that would only produce a return if dramatic appreciation in D.C. continued unabated. Her experience in real estate told her this was not a reliable model for long-term investment, but the diplomatic community didn’t appear to have many other options. Mary’s wheels started turning.
When Mary and Maureen met, there was an instant connection. Soon both stories were told and both women found themselves inspired by the other’s grit and determination. Maureen’s broad industry knowledge was the perfect answer to the unique investment challenges Mary was seeing in the diplomatic community. Together, they're building something big.