Nancy Suvarnamani never thought she’d go into real estate.
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, her father was a Major General in the Thai Army, and her mother was a nurse. After graduating from Chiengmai University in 1974 with degrees in Social Science and Political Science, she came to the United States to complete her master’s degree, ultimately receiving one in Information Sciences and another in Social Science.
Instead of returning home to Thailand after her studies like she originally planned, Nancy stayed and went into corporate business. She worked for several Fortune 500 companies such as the Borg Warner Corporation and Beatrice Foods Company, in her 15 years in the corporate world. And then, influenced by her grandmother— a real estate tycoon in Thailand—and inspired by her entrepreneurial spirit and ambition, Nancy began a career in real estate.
She founded Century 21 SGR, Inc., in 1989. Since then the company has grown from five agents and one office to over 100 agents and three offices. Her specialization in structural international real estate transactions and in raising equity capital for construction developments in the US and Asia, along with her strong presence in the SEO market, transformed her and Century 21 SGR, Inc., into industry leaders in Chicago.
Nancy was first invited to volunteer at C.A.R. by Darcy Daugherty, which ultimately led to several years of close involvement with the association. In 2005, Nancy was elected president of C.A.R. and continued to steer the industry towards progress by establishing an outreach program for Asians and other minorities on the industry’s fringes. During and after her tenure, she also lobbied to increase the professional and educational standards of the industry, improving the imagery of REALTORS® and the caliber of service being provided to the Chicagoland community.
In 2012, Nancy founded the Chicago chapter of AREAA; she currently sits on their Board of Directors. It was groundbreaking initiatives such as this that ultimately earned her the Century 21 International Marsh Fischer Award for promoting diversity in the industry.
“I don’t think I’m a pioneer, but I hope I will be an inspiration to the immigrant woman,” Nancy said. She is recognized among her friends and colleagues as someone of strength, leadership and perseverance, and her reputation as an industry influencer and mentor precedes her.
“My passion for mentoring came from my father. Life is about giving. And mentoring is very important, [to] help people and get people to success,” she said.
Nancy’s latest venture is the restoration and expansion of a 35-unit villa resort complex in Hua Hin, Thailand. She is also working on developing Thai City, a neighborhood initiative similar to Chinatown.
She is a strong advocate for increasing awareness of and involvement in the international real estate market, but nothing can beat the proof of her own success. Nancy believes in fighting through barriers and not giving up. When she reflects on achievements like her REALTOR® of the Year Award in 2007 and this year’s Hall of Fame Induction, she sees them as evidence that perseverance truly pays off, and that barriers can be broken through.
Congratulations, Nancy, on your Hall of Fame induction.
Nancy’s Hall of Fame Video
Nancy’s Inaugural Speech