CEO | Chicago Association of REALTORS®


Ginger Downs, RCE, CAE, CIPS, IOM



Ginger Downs, RCE, CAE, CIPS, IOM, is Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, responsible for leading and maintaining the Association’s national standing as a premiere local REALTOR® organization. Ginger was appointed to her current role in October 2005, having served as an executive officer of six REALTOR® associations since 1983. Prior to Chicago, she was Executive Vice President of the Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS® (Kirkland, Washington) for a decade. Ginger’s designations include the National Association of REALTORS® – REALTORS® Certified Executive (RCE), the American Society of Association Executives – Certified Association Executive (CAE); the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Graduate of the Institute of Organizational Management (IOM) and the NAR Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS).

Since arriving in Chicago, Ginger parlayed her expertise in and passion for professional development to include Directors seats on the Real Estate Advisory Boards for DePaul University, Roosevelt University’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, John Marshall Law School and the Goldie B. Wolfe Miller Women Leaders in Real Estate Initiative. She currently serves on the Board of Regents for REALTOR® University, which grants a Masters of Real Estate degrees in six concentration areas. Due to her financial and strategic planning background, she serves as R.U.’s Treasurer, as well as the Co-Chair for the Strategic Planning Committee (with NAR 2011 Past President Ron Phipps).  Ginger also serves as R.U.’s Liaison to the NAR Leadership Academy, which is transitioning to the R.U. Institute in 2018.

Ginger is also engaged in the Chicago community with service on the Board of Directors for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce (2008 – 10), as well as the 2014-15 President for All Chicago – Making Homelessness History. All Chicago is a consolidation of The Emergency Fund (for homelessness prevention) and The Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness.

Ginger has a long history of leadership service at both the state and national levels of the REALTOR® organization. She served as the 2012 Chair of the NAR Association Executives Committee and as a NAR Board of Directors member. Ginger is a President’s Circle and “Golden R” contributor to NAR’s REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC), and was admitted to the national RPAC Hall of Fame for her lifelong investment of at least $25,000. This year she will reach the $50,000 investment level.

Ginger holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. She has received a wide variety of professional recognitions and awards. Most recently she was honored with the 2017 NAR William R. Magel Award of Excellence. This award is given annually to one CEO from within the REALTOR® Association Executive ranks (over 1,100 currently) and Ginger is the 30th recipient of the award.  Other recent awards include: Chicago Agent Magazine Agent Choice Award for Association VIP (2011 and 2016), Swanepoel Power 200 Most Powerful People in Real Estate (2014-15); Women’s Council of REALTORS® Chicago Chapter Elevate Award (2014) and the BisNow – Top 50 Power Women in Chicago Commercial Real Estate (2014).

Ginger will be retiring early in 2018.  She and her husband, Bruce S. Downs, live in Chicago’s South Loop.