Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Association of REALTORS®
As chief executive officer of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR), Ginger Downs makes certain that nearly 14,000 Chicago real estate professionals receive the resources needed to build their careers. Over the past 33 years she has earned a reputation for delivering expert coaching and professional development to residential and commercial Realtors, property managers, appraisers, lenders, title insurers, and real estate attorneys. An inspiring leader, Downs received the 2014 Women’s Council of REALTORS® Elevate Award, ranked among Bisnow’s 50 most influential women in Chicago commercial real estate in 2014 and was honored among the 2014-2015 Swanepoel POWER 200 in residential real estate. Illinois REALTORS® also awarded her its 2012 Rhino Award for outstanding service. “CAR affords me the amazing opportunity to oversee a complex organization that positively impacts Chicagoland,” she says.
Downs earned a degree in business administration and finance, then served as the comptroller for the Spokane Board of Realtors in Washington. It was her first exposure to a real estate association, and set her on her career path. “I love the opportunity to mentor real estate professionals, my team and other REALTOR® Association executives because it allows me to make a difference in countless lives. I can’t imagine myself doing anything more meaningful.” She is especially proud of increasing CAR’s reach through continuing education offerings: the association provided complimentary courses to its members last winter, resulting in almost 4,000 classroom registrations and 3,400 self-study downloads over a three month period. That marked a significant increase over the 700 classroom registrations and fewer than 400 self-study downloads over that same time period in 2014. “I’m so appreciative that our Board allowed my team to administer this program, because it allowed us to serve so many of the city’s real estate professionals.”
Downs holds multiple designations, including REALTOR® Certified Association Executive, Certified Association Executive, Certified International Property Specialist and Graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management, and serves on the boards of the Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate, Roosevelt University, DePaul University and John Marshall Law School. She also holds membership in the American Society of Association Executives and Association Forum of Chicagoland. Her volunteerism with REALTOR® University led to its accreditation.
A South Loop resident with her husband, Bruce, and their beloved cats, Downs supports All Chicago, which aims to end homelessness in Chicago. She draws inspiration from her family, friends and colleagues. “I approach life with a profound sense of appreciation for both good and bad experiences because each offers a learning experience,” she says. “I’m committed to taking something away from every failure and every success because both allow me to become the best person I can be.”
Thanks to AtWater Apartments for letting us use their beautiful location for our photo shoots.