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Camille Canales founder, Camille Canales Group, Compass

Camille Canales

What was your most interesting job before going into real estate? Artist and arts administrator for the textiles department at Lillstreet Arts Center.

Where did you grow up? South Texas.

Growing up, what did you want to be? A teacher.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? Get on my Peloton and sweat out the bad stuff.

If you could meet any well-known figure, who would it be? Thom Yorke from Radiohead. I bet the walls vibrate around that man’s brain.

What is Chicago’s best-kept secret? The parks in so many unexplored neighborhoods, the forest preserves and trails.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I am an artist, so I like to think outside the box, but I was also an arts educator. Teaching adults is fun for me, so I think of myself as a coach for the homebuying and selling process. I want to educate, inspire, assist and empower those who I work with. Honesty is my policy and I feel it’s better to be transparent than to let a client walk into something they’re not aware of, so I spend a lot of time making sure a home is just right.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? The hardest part about being the founding partner of any business is managing everything. I have very recently gone out on my own after five years working with a team and partner. It’s daunting some days how much needs to be accomplished, but I am learning to ask for help, refer business away sometimes in order to not get overwhelmed and hire experts to do social media and other jobs that aren’t the highest and best use of my time.

What’s your best advice for generating new leads? I have been fortunate to never have a problem generating new leads, but I’ve also invested a lot into making sure my pipeline is always full. When I first started out as an agent I used Zillow almost exclusively for generating clients. None of my friends were looking to buy and they didn’t have huge budgets, but perfect strangers would call me and immediately trust me because I had a way of walking them through the process. They didn’t know me but they liked that I had expertise.

What do you love most about the industry? I love the connections I get to make to really amazing people. If I didn’t have this job, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet so many new friends and help so many people.

What has been your greatest accomplishment? Raising my two girls while growing a business. Many people ask me “how do you do it all?” and I like to answer “Just watch.” I don’t have a secret formula for balance or harmony. But, without my kids I wouldn’t be such an overachiever. I want them to see a strong woman who is carving out space for herself in a highly competitive industry and I want them to be proud of their mom.

What are you binge-watching/reading/listening to lately? I enjoyed listening to “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday. It’s an easy read. Binging “Schitts Creek” was hilarious and fun. It inspired me to up my sweater game.

What’s your favorite meal in Chicago? Daisies in Logan Square because I am gluten free and vegetarian. Their gluten free pasta is incredibly good.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? It is really hard to narrow down my choice to just one, because Chicago’s architecture is amazing. I love the Cultural Center in downtown Chicago.

What’s one thing people are surprised to learn about you? That I am an artist. You don’t hear of tons of artists who are financially successful, but I went to SAIC and still paint, draw and embroider when I have spare time. I love creating with my children and we have dedicated studio space in our basement for making a mess and having fun with paints.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why? Renting a beach house in Michigan. We sometimes spontaneously go out there in the summer and spend some time unplugged.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Work under someone who is willing to teach you everything they know.

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