2024 President Drussy Hernandez

“Real estate happened to me,” 2024 Chicago Association of REALTORS® President Drussy Hernandez said during her installation at the 140th Inaugural Gala. Even though she inadvertently fell into real estate, Hernandez found her passion in this industry and is now aiming to make a big impact during her time as president.

Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to the Chicago area as a teenager, and her family put down roots in Evanston. Her parents have always been supportive of whatever she chose to do in her life. Sadly, her dad suffered from a stroke last year, right around the same time she found out she would be serving as president this year.

“I told him he needed to get better, because I was going to be president of the association and needed him as my date to the Inaugural Gala. Although I’m not quite sure he understood what being the president of this association meant, he proudly told every nurse and doctor who came into his room that his daughter was going to be president. To say they were confused is an understatement. I wouldn’t be here without my parents’ support,” she said during the Inaugural Gala.

After graduating college, Hernandez moved to Chicago and began a career in social work. From her time in social work, Hernandez learned the importance of listening rather than hearing and always putting herself in her clients’ shoes – all of which are skills that would serve her well decades later as a managing broker.

She transitioned into real estate in the 80s, beginning as a receptionist, then earning her real estate license and becoming a managing broker. Since then, she has managed six offices and has been active in a variety of ways in our industry.

Hernandez stresses the importance of using your voice and creating collaboration within our industry. This impassioned plea stems from a pivotal point in her career—where the power of collaboration from her association helped her overcome a difficult time in her life.

It was 2011. Hernandez was immersed in managing a local office and guiding her agents through transactions and dispute resolutions when, unexpectedly, her husband went into a coma. She dropped everything to be by his side—but it left her office and her team still in need of guidance and leadership.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® president at the time, Mabél Guzmán of Coldwell Banker Realty, stepped in to guide her team and provide advice in Hernandez’s absence. She was gratefully able to direct her attention where it was needed—with her husband. Hernandez could not be more grateful for the support. Weeks later, when Hernandez’s husband recovered and she returned to work, Guzmán paid her a visit. “She took time out of her schedule
to hear my voice as a managing broker member. All these years later, I still remember how much that meant to me. For the president to take time to meet with me and hear my voice,” Hernandez said.

This experience is at the heart of Hernandez’s goals this year as president. “My goal this year is to hear from as many of you as possible, to hear your thoughts, concerns and ideas. As I said, we are the voice for real estate in Chicago, and that includes your voice.”

“I want to hear all of your voices. We have over 17,000 members. Members who are engaged in their neighborhoods, brokerages, communities, schools and so much more. That is a lot of talent. Talent that can ensure we meet our mission: To unite all facets of the industry as a leading advocate for real estate, to drive REALTOR® business success, and to support the economic development of our diverse communities,” Hernandez added.

So, what does this look like for the year ahead? Hernandez plans to carry the legacy of compassion and listening forward by visiting managing broker members to hear their insights, concerns and more. As she has emphasized, we are the voice for real estate in Chicago, and we need all our members to use our voices to affect change.

One of the most impactful ways to share your voice is to get involved! It’s important, Hernandez shared, that we have a seat at the table. We need to continue to establish our industry as a leader in the city of Chicago. And, as an association, we can’t continue to grow unless our members and leaders are willing to step up.

Hernandez encourages members to use their voices for government affairs and advocacy purposes because she knows the importance of getting involved all too well. Her leadership journey in the
Chicago Association of REALTORS® began in 2006 as a volunteer on a committee focused on House Bill 4050, which addressed predatory lending in Illinois. This involvement spurred her interest
in government affairs, and she’s been actively involved in our advocacy efforts ever since, where she uses her voice to amplify the importance of real estate issues.

This year, she is putting her focus on hot topic advocacy issues like appraisal biases and inventory shortages. “We need to engage in intentional conversations with the city’s new administration on
issues like affordable housing and transfer taxes. Each of you have experiences and talents you can bring forward to help find unique and collaborative solutions to these issues,” she said.

Following her involvement with the House Bill 4050 committee, she further expanded her involvement with the association by joining the Forms & Contracts Committee, and then volunteered on the
Grievance Committee, Finance Committee and RPAC Fundraising Work Group. From there, Hernandez began serving on our Board of Directors in 2016. She was also recognized with the association’s
Managing Broker of the Year award in 2017.

Hernandez also uses her voice to unite. Not only does she volunteer with us, but she is also involved in many different organizations within our industry, such as the National Association of REALTORS®, Illinois REALTORS®, Women’s Council of REALTORS®, Asian Real Estate Association of America, Dearborn REALTIST® Board and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

At the end of the night at the Inaugural Gala, Hernandez left the audience with a reminder of the importance of coming together. “Together, we can accomplish so much. We are the voice for real estate in Chicago. Your voice matters.”

So, how will you use your voice this year?