What was your first job in the realty industry? I began working for a developer in the western suburbs, primarily in land planning and zoning. It was a really great experience and incredibly interesting working with all the smaller suburbs of Chicago.
Who inspires you? I’m inspired by people who are willing to push the envelope and try something new. With my focus on green and environmentally friendly homes, I find inspiration from many of the cutting-edge architects and designers. Recently, I saw William McDonough speak and walked out thinking he was not only very inspirational, but also just a very interesting person in general.
How did you learn the business? Taking in as much as I could in those early days working for a developer and, more recently, by learning from others in the industry as I work through a deal or project
What was your most difficult sale, and how did you succeed? Working with a client who had a very clear image in her mind of what she wanted. We couldn’t find it anywhere in the city for the price she had in mind. So, in the end, I worked with her to design a completely new layout for an existing property and put together the budget and team to make it a reality.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Keeping all the details straight as you proceed through a project; this also is the most fun aspect of what I do.
What was your worst job, and what did you learn from it? Working at a Circuit City in high school; it was a learning experience dealing with so many people and their idiosyncrasies.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I give a number of speeches and seminars throughout the year on environmental topics, which leads to meeting new people every time. I also go to a lot of networking events through organizations like Net Impact and Young Professionals of Chicago.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Taking a property in the western suburbs from nothing to a beautiful, new, planned development. It was an onerous process but worth it all to see the final approval.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? “Quicksilver” by Neal Stephenson, not only an incredible read, but the author also is a graduate of Boston University, my alma mater
What is your favorite restaurant? North Pond in Lincoln Park, without question
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? All of the old greystones lining the side streets of Chicago. They are beautiful from an architectural perspective, gracious in their construction and massing, and are a tribute to the quality of construction that was possible at the turn of the last century.
What kind of car do you drive? VW Passat
BlackBerry, Palm or paper? The Q — love everything about it but the terrible battery life!
What is your favorite city after Chicago? NYC or maybe Seattle; tough call but for very different reasons
What is your personal motto? Learn from your mistakes and keep trying something new.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
This business is not for the faint of heart.