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 Golf Outing Advisory Group Vice Chair Sharon Aguilera, Gentium Properties LLC, to find out more about her career path, why she volunteers and more.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY?
WHY WERE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO REAL ESTATE?
My parents were real estate investors. As a result, they were able to help families buy homes that did not qualify for a loan by implementing a Land Sale Contract. I found this fascinating. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a part of a profession that would help families with the American dream of homeownership.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
I grew up a few blocks from the CHA Trumbull Park Homes located in South Deering on the far southeast side of Chicago. I saw firsthand how many families, especially minorities, do not share the same opportunities. I learned that too many families face barriers to homeownership. I am honored to be on the Advisory Board for Spanish Coalition for Housing, which has played a vital role in Chicago’s housing sector for over 45 years. I find it fulfilling that I get to be a part of a group that helps families and individuals find affordable housing, rent affordable apartments and connects them with employment in Chicago.
WHAT HAS HELPED YOU MOST TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
Self-care and exercise. I found that exercise raises your energy levels, combats stress, battles fatigue and improves general well-being. I used to teach group fitness classes such as Zumba and Pilates. When you feel happier and energized you’re more efficient and effective at all tasks in life.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?
The flexibility, the freedom and the unpredictability. I have gained great satisfaction in knowing I helped people through major times in their lives. From a new couple buying their first house, to families buying a vacation home or a bachelor getting his ultimate bachelor pad, I have helped people through each stage in their lives and truly be part of a community. I have also learned that as a REALTOR® you sometimes inadvertently become part counselor, part life coach and part mentor. Indeed, this can be very rewarding for real estate professionals who have a passion for giving back.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO TAKE THEIR CAREER TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Find mentors! I’ve had wonderful mentors over the years and learned a large number of valuable lessons from each and every one of them. As an entrepreneur, it’s exciting to create something on your own. However, the reality is that, while you have a great idea, you may not know exactly how to implement it into a sustainable business. Therefore, mentors such as Sonia Anaya and Mabel Guzman have offered valuable suggestions to help me and my business grow.
WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING MEAN TO YOU?
Volunteering means that you are working side by side with others. I learned that when you volunteer, you are making connections. I am part of The 77 Diversity Committee. In June, when the riots in Chicago first started, we had an emergency meeting. We discussed what had occurred in our neighborhoods and how we could support each other and our respective communities. I felt like we were working towards a common goal. I felt connected to others in a way that I hadn’t felt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT HAS BEEN MOST VALUABLE TO YOU/YOUR BUSINESS SINCE YOU GOT INVOLVED IN OUR INDUSTRY?
Joining the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. The Women’s Council has not only honed my leadership skills, but I have met so many wonderful people who are leaders in our profession.