What or who helped you get through your rookie year?

by Chicago Agent

Jennifer Mills
Senior Broker Associate
Koenig & Strey GMAC, The Home Discovery Team
Lincoln Park

My rookie year in real estate was in 1990. I had started Home Discovery Inc. as a rental-finding service, which escalated into a full-service residential brokerage. The Internet was just getting introduced to the world, so all marketing was still done in print. I would cold call landlords from ads in the Chicago Reader to introduce my business and get them as clients. What helped me get through that first year was discipline and a commitment to making those calls everyday – no matter what. I ended up signing up over 30 landlords that still use my services today.

Karen M. Gianos
The Gianos Team

I had a great mentor, Sharon Kozak. She’s been an agent with Coldwell Banker for 10 years or so, and she had quite a few developments when I started in the business. I was able to sit her open houses and pick up buyers. I also would have open houses at odd times. I picked up my first buyers when I had an open house on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. I also had been an escrow closer for a title company for 18 years, which helped me tremendously by knowing the complete buying and selling process. My husband, George, and I now work as partners and I still pick Sharon’s brain all the time.

Mike Bond
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Being a rookie in any job is never easy, but having a positive attitude, a great support system and a desire to succeed are key to getting yourself established. I’ve always had a great outlook on life in general, and I’ve always put forth the time and effort to achieve my goals. However, I could not have made it through my first year in the business without the support from my wife, family and friends. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with some of the best agents in the market, who have always been happy to share with me their wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Pat Vaughan
Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate

Without a doubt, the person who helped me through my rookie year was my manager, Geri Barborek. Coming from a background in retail, real estate was a brand new career for me. This is a very challenged market we’re in, and from day one Geri has been there for me. She is accessible, knowledgeable and always finds a positive spin for just about every situation. Because of Koenig & Strey’s training and support system, Geri’s guidance and the success I am having, I have decided to retire from my part-time retail position and give the real estate business my undivided attention. I’m here to stay and I’ll always be grateful for Geri’s support.


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