Volunteer Spotlight: Jimena Sayavedra, 2021 CommercialForum Vice Chair | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

Get to know our members who share their expertise to help shape the future of our association and industry!

We chatted with our 2020-2021 CommercialForum Vice Chair Jimena Sayavedra, Newmark, to find out more about her career path, why she volunteers and more.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY?

6 years

WHY WERE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO REAL ESTATE?

While I was doing my Masters in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development, I got fascinated with the idea where companies, specifically manufacturers, locate, according to access to transportation, labor, raw material, etc. That got me interested in industrial real estate. I wanted to initially work in industrial site selection. That got me to do networking to get into commercial real estate firms, which I tried for about five years, until 2013 when I did a CRE program to bring minorities into commercial real estate, called Project REAP. That was what finally opened the doors for me to get into the industry.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

There are so many small victories that cumulatively make it the big achievement: doing something that I really enjoy. Every new client, new deal, new referral and acknowledgment from other colleagues is an achievement. Also, it’s been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to work with my current teammate and mentor Elise Couston, who was one of the very first few women working in industrial real estate and paved the way for many of us in the industry.

WHAT HAS HELPED YOU MOST TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

No doubt: persistence has helped me to get where I am in today. Also, constantly trying to learn more and do my work in a very professional way, giving the best to my clients and always being there for them.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

I really enjoy the very entrepreneurial spirit of brokerage. Every day is different, serving different sizes and types of clients; no one single day is the same. The opportunity to learn about my client’s line of business, what they do, how they do it and create solutions for the real estate side of their business is a very creative process that I enjoy a lot.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO TAKE THEIR CAREER TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

If you are in the first stages of your career, find a mentor, reach out to the experts, ask questions on the topics that really intrigue you the most.

If you are more advanced in your career, find partners and colleagues with complementary skills to yours. I believe that you can scale and do more and/or work faster by working with good teams and being able to attract and hire the right people.

Also, at any level in our careers, I truly believe that giving back and getting involved with organizations that we believe in is the way to go. If we give, we also receive.

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING MEAN TO YOU?

Volunteering means giving back and giving others the opportunities that I have had or created for myself. But I don’t take for granted that the path is always there for everyone, so if I can guide others into it, I do it.

Volunteering gives us the opportunity to connect with people from different backgrounds, with different experiences, and that is very enriching.

WHAT HAS BEEN MOST VALUABLE TO YOU/YOUR BUSINESS SINCE YOU GOT INVOLVED IN OUR INDUSTRY?

For me, volunteering always started from the true, authentic need to give back, to show others the path that I found on my own. The more I got involved, the more I connected with people. It’s a snowball effect. It has translated into referrals, deals and opportunities. When you get involved and when you show true interest, curiosity and eagerness to serve, it’s noticeable and returned back to you.