Every year, we honor a group of exemplary real estate professionals with our REALTOR® Awards. Get to know our 2022 winners and their impact on our industry.
REALTOR® of the Year: Nykea Pippion McGriff, Coldwell Banker Realty
Nykea Pippion McGriff is all about rising up to the occasion and making a difference. This is a hallmark of her career in real estate: she’s known for doing the work to be the best REALTOR® and advocate she can be for her clients and her community.
She’s always been laser-focused on supporting the real estate community through advocacy. A longtime Federal Political Coordinator working with retiring Congressman Bobby Rush, she recently ran for his congressional seat to give a voice to those impacted by gun violence. Her advocacy work has given her a platform to raise awareness of issues that are critical, not only to our industry, but to the development and health of our communities.
In 2020, she was inaugurated as the association’s first Black woman president. Although she was the first, her determination not to be the last resulted in the creation of the association’s Leadership Accelerator program, designed to nurture a pipeline of diverse industry leadership and broaden opportunities for diverse voices and perspectives. Previously, Nykea served as the 2019 chair of our Finance Committee.
Her industry involvement is vast. She served as the 2019 president of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® Illinois and as the 2017 president of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® Chicago. She has also been active on the real estate administrative and disciplinary board of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the licensing body for real estate.
REALTOR® Achievement: Matt Difanis, RE/MAX Realty Associates
Matt Difanis has helped lead the way in REALTOR® diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at every level. He co-chaired the Presidential Advisory Group that resulted in the creation of our Leadership Accelerator program. He also participated in the work group that organized the first-of-its-kind event, the Chicago REALTORS® 360° Summit: Leading with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, which took place in June. In 2020, he chaired the National Association of REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee, where he spearheaded the effort to ban hate speech in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. In 2018, as the president of the Illinois REALTORS®, he was outspoken about need to examine the role the association played in promoting fair housing and equity. Matt is also active in many of our Industry Partner organizations, including the Chicago chapters of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of American, the Dearborn REALTIST® Board and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance.
Commercial Achievement: Moses Hall, MoHall Commercial & Urban Development
The founder and managing broker at MoHall Commercial & Urban Development, Moses Hall relies on his strong community ties to offer a full range of client services, including property disposition, investment sales, leasing and tenant representation. His ultimate goal is to revitalize underserved communities on Chicago’s south side through visionary commercial real estate collaborations that maximize value and build wealth for all parties involved. In 2019, Moses was one of REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30. Moses has been named a Commercial Top Producer. He is an NAR director and has served on our CommercialForum, YPN Advisory Board, Foundation Board of Trustees and Board of Directors.
Community Service Award: Lindsay Guhl, @properties | Christie’s International Real Estate
Lindsay Guhl has been passionate about women’s advancement and giving back to her community since a young age. Her charitable spirit stems from her mother, a public school teacher in underprivileged neighborhoods in Indianapolis who inspired her to help create change. Lindsay was an original board member of @gives back, an @properties nonprofit foundation that raises money for local charities. In 2020, she co-founded Re-Connect Chicago to support Chicago’s youth by addressing food insecurity and homelessness through a variety of fundraising and community-based initiatives. She also serves on the race committee for Strides for Peace, which raises awareness of gun violence in Chicago.
Community Service Award: Vicky Silvano, COMPASS
A member of the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, Vicky Silvano is passionate about uplifting and supporting AAPI families through real estate. In 2016, she served as the president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), where she led a successful initiative campaigning the U.S. Census Bureau to include AAPI as a race category in their quarterly homeownership reports, one of her biggest accomplishments to date. She’s active in our association as a longtime board member and chair of our RPAC Fundraising Work Group. All the work Vicky has dedicated herself to has directly benefited our Chicago communities.
Affiliate of the Year: Amir Syed, Guaranteed Rate
As a residential mortgage lender and entrepreneur, Amir Syed educates and serves the needs of new homebuyers and homeowners. He’s distinguished himself through his effective communication skills and tailored coaching style, mentoring almost 50 loan officers through Growth Only Coaching. Amir has served two terms on our board of directors. You may recognize him as the co-host of our pandemic Sales Awards and Inaugural red carpets. He has lent his leadership to several of our committees, including the Golf Outing Advisory Board and the Sales Awards Advisory Group; he is also the co-chair for this year’s Inaugural Gala. His enthusiasm and love for the real estate industry shines through in everything he does.
Managing Broker of the Year (1-50 Licensees): Perdure Carter, Dream Spots Leasing
Perdure Carter has always been passionate about helping others. His previous career as a gym teacher and coach has transferred well to real estate, where his determination and work ethic have helped him establish and grow Dream Spots Leasing from one location to multiple. He mentors almost 50 employees to real estate success, tapping into many of the skills that have helped him succeed as a multi-year Top Producer. He prides himself on being able to find creative solutions to problems and helping others tap into their strengths. In real estate, he has found a dream combination: coaching his employees and helping potential property owners realize their dreams of homeownership.
Managing Broker of the Year (51+ Licensees): Lyle Harlow, Kale Realty
As the designated managing broker for over 700 agents at Kale Realty, Lyle Harlow is considered a true leader by his brokers and peers. He cares deeply about the real estate industry and the people in it; he has dedicated his career to helping others succeed. He’s known for his integrity and professionalism. This year alone, Lyle was active on six of our committees, including Audit, Forms & Contracts, the Global Real Estate Council, Member Care Task Force, Professional Standards and the RPAC Fundraising Work Group. He was one of 12 participants in Illinois REALTORS®’ 2022 Leadership Development Program and serves on NAR’s Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Committee and the MLS Technology & Emerging Issues Advisory Board.
Industry Partner Member Award: Tracey Royal, Coldwell Banker Realty
A seasoned REALTOR® and industry thought leader, Tracey Royal’s positive energy and ability to lead by example has been a true inspiration to others. She is gifted at identifying talent among her peers and motivating others to push beyond their fears to get more involved. She has distinguished herself as a champion of women through her work with the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, serving as the 2021 WCR Illinois president and as 2019 president of WCR Chicago; she is also a 2019 graduate of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® Leadership Institute. She is active on the boards for all three tiers of REALTOR® associations.
Brian A. Bernardoni Public Policy Award: Matt Silver, Corcoran Urban Real Estate
Matt Silver, our 2017 president and current Illinois REALTORS treasurer, is a longtime champion for REALTOR® advocacy and active involvement. He has many years of service amplifying the REALTOR® voice and priorities at the local, state and national levels. He serves as the State Legislative Contact for both Representative Bob Morgan and Senator Patricia Van Pelt, and he is the longtime Federal Political Coordinator for Representative Brad Schneider. He has taken many trips to Washington, DC on behalf of the REALTOR® cause, which inspired his scholarship through our Foundation, the Matt Silver Advocacy Endeavor Scholarship, which provides support for minorities interested in attending national or state legislative meetings.
Brian A. Bernardoni Public Official of the Year: Bridget Gainer, Cook County Commissioner, 10th District
The Cook County Commissioner for the 10th district, Bridget Gainer is an advocate for the real estate community. She created the Cook County Land Bank, the region’s most comprehensive response to reducing the amount and impact of vacant land and abandoned buildings throughout Cook County, by bringing together REALTORS®, private developers, and civic and social leaders. She has also done a variety of work with foreclosures. She helped to support small businesses during COVID by hosting Small Business Administration sessions for business owners and assisted with sharing loan guidance. She advocates for sound tax policy, encourages neighborhood revitalization and fights for job training to help the workforce of tomorrow.