What was your first job in the realty industry? I started as an agent at Sussex & Reilly after things starting crumbling at Arthur Andersen, where I was working as an appraiser for large-scale properties.
Where did you grow up? About an hour south of the city in Kankakee
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I bought a cabin in Michigan a few years ago to have a getaway not too far from the city. That has been wonderful – I feel instant relief when I pull in the driveway, even for a quick night away. But generally speaking, running, biking or a nice meal with great wine does the trick.
Growing up, what did you want to be? Exactly where I am now. I put my parents’ house on the market For-Sale-By-Owner when I was in high school and got my college degree in finance/real estate.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? I am a bit of a sushi fanatic, so you’ll generally find me rotating between sushi restaurants in the city. Aside from that, enjoying time on the lakefront is right up there.
What do you love most about the industry? Probably similar to what most people love — real estate is a tangible commodity where you get to really be hands-on and feel a sense of accomplishment. Also, every day is different and something unexpected happens — which, granted, is not always for the best, but keeps us on our toes compared to many more monotonous lines of work.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? At this point, experience is paramount in servicing an increasingly sophisticated clientele. I’ve been in the business a long time, and though we’re all still constantly learning, at this stage I know how to jump in and handle just about anything. Having a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of neighborhood data from constant research stored in my head doesn’t hurt in client conversations, either.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Juggling my schedule, and trying to make sure my personal life does not get completely lost in the shuffle, is probably the biggest challenge.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? There is no greater source of new business than referrals from past clients, so I spend a lot of time networking with them. That said, when I initially moved to Chicago I didn’t know a soul and did a tremendous amount of open houses to meet people, which is something that still works for me today.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? Being named the No. 1 agent company-wide at my firm.
What is your favorite restaurant? Momotaro in the West Loop
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? 1550 North State Parkway
What kind of car do you drive? A Porsche Cayenne, but I drive my 1990 “Desert Storm” Jeep Wrangler in Michigan
Smartphone or paper? A combination of both. Everything is in my phone but I make paper lists daily to keep it all right in front of me.
What is your favorite city after Chicago? San Francisco
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Be social, work hard and stay focused.