Sperry Van Ness
Considered Chicago’s go-to expert by commercial property investors and retailers, Deena Zimmerman’s expertise in retail tenant representation has helped sustain the city’s economic vitality since 2007. Thanks to her reputation as an award-winning broker, business owners and entrepreneurs look to the Sperry Van Ness professional when they need to find property for their operations. Her attention to detail and honest communication demonstrate her unquestionable commitment to ensuring as smooth a process as possible for clients. “I really want them to feel like we’re a team and that their goals are my goals,” she says.
A 10-year veteran of the industry, Zimmerman finds her career so satisfying that it hardly seems like work. “I pinch myself every day when I think about how lucky and truly blessed I am to be doing something that I really love,” says the broker. But getting to this point meant first trying her hand at a couple of professions before identifying and pursuing her passion. After years of selling insurance, Zimmerman held an account executive position at a real estate trade publication. It was there she learned about strategic business planning and developing formulas for success. As she explains, understanding those kinds of concepts proved invaluable when she transitioned to commercial brokerage. “I knew how to talk to my clients and had a greater understanding of their ultimate desires and expansion plans.”
Zimmerman is deeply committed to sharing the lessons she has learned with newcomers to the industry. This includes volunteering as a mentor for the Goldie Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative at Roosevelt University, which provides mentorship and developmental opportunities to women in the commercial real estate industry. She is the ideal person to offer this encouragement given her numerous awards and honors. These include the Chicago Association of Realtors’ Realtor Achievement Award, the National Association of Realtors’ National Award for outstanding achievement in the commercial real estate industry and the Illinois Association of Realtors’ Outstanding Service Award.
While Zimmerman holds membership in several professional associations – including the Chicago Association of Realtors, CCIM, National Association of Realtors, International Council of Shopping Centers, Women in Retail Leasing and Women’s Council of Realtors – she is equally committed to charitable and civic causes. She is presently working with the Chicago Association of Realtors on a placemaking grant through NAR that will support the revitalization of a Veterans’ memorial park in the city. She also participates in 5K races to raise both money and awareness for pancreatic cancer research. But what makes her successful in all of her pursuits, she says, is showing others who she really is in everything she does. “I give 110 percent to anything I’m a part of, whether it is work- or volunteer- related and I pride myself on always being my most authentic and enthusiastic self.”