Judy MacDonald, Realtor

Century 21 Sussex & Reilly
North side of Chicago and Evanston

What was your first job in the realty industry?
I worked for a very small company for a couple of months early on, but I quickly realized that I needed more help learning the ropes than they could provide. I chose Sussex & Reilly (SR) because with the backing of Century 21 they’re able to give a lot of support and training throughout an agent’s career. I also love that SR is committed to using technology to streamline the business.

What is your favorite free-time activity?
I have so many favorites and so little time. I’m absolutely dedicated to riding, grooming and showering affection on my horse, who’s been my best friend for 10 years now. My newest adventure is learning to scuba dive with my 10-year-old daughter. I’m also an artist, I play a few musical instruments and I read. All these things refresh me so I can get back to giving my all to my clients.

How did you learn the business?
For me, learning the business, like life, is a work in progress. I’ll always be learning, even after I’ve been in the industry for 20 years. I have learned so much from my managers and colleagues at SR, and a great mortgage broker friend of mine, Cassandra Bajak, has given me a wealth of encouragement and information. And I’m always researching, with my nose in my laptop reading the latest real estate news and taking courses. I’m working on my LEED AP right now, and as soon as that’s done, I’ll begin working toward my Certified International Property Specialist designation.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
I’ve gotten so busy that managing my time has become a big issue. Even if I really plan ahead to fit everything in, a dozen new things always pop up, so it takes real flexibility to make it all work.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
I think the hardest thing in the world is getting a bunch of independent minded real estate agents to work together, so I’m pleased to have formed an agent team devoted to promoting green building and lifestyles in Chicago. We call ourselves The Progress Group and we are guiding SR thorough the process of pursuing LEED certification for our new office in Lincoln Park.

What kind of car do you drive?
I’m dying to switch to biodiesel, so I’m in the market for a used TDi if anyone out there has one to sell. Manual please! Otherwise, I’ll have to wait a couple of months for the new VW clean burning diesel Jetta to arrive and plug away in my Subaru for a while longer.

BlackBerry, Palm or paper?
My BlackBerry has become such a part of me I’m surprised I can detach from it to sleep at night. If I could go all digital and eliminate paper entirely, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Be patient, be real and keep at it.

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