Volunteer Spotlight: Sheila Dantzler, Professional Standards Committee 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 Professional Standards Committee Vice Chair Sheila Dantzler, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, to find out more about her career path, why she volunteers and more.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY?

15 years

WHY WERE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO REAL ESTATE?

My background is in sales. I graduated from college with a degree in Computer Science and my first job was selling software for a Fortune 500 company. I liked sales but didn’t like selling technology. By accident, I fell into real estate when I bought my new construction condo. I ended up working in the sales center on weekends until my unit was completed. I loved the process of meeting new people, understanding their different needs, then crafting a housing solution that worked for them. Two years later, I got my real estate license and never turned back.

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

My husband and I have a construction company. He manages construction and I manage all the material finishes, marketing and sales. We were selected as one of five builders for the 3rd Ward Parade of Homes to build 40+ new homes in the Bronzeville community. It was a very long two-year process. The day we had the grand opening press conference with the city, then selling our model home in under two weeks was a full-circle moment. I’m so proud to be positively changing underserved communities, one vacant lot at a time.

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

  1. Follow-up!
  2. Listen!
  3. Do not take anything personally!
  4. Never stop learning – take every class that time will allow. Learn from experienced REALTORS®, ask questions, learn from inspectors, learn from appraisers, learn from loan officers. Become an expert at your craft and volunteer on committees.
  5. Be authentic, professional and organized.
  6. Network and expand who you know – this has by far been the most important.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

Every day is different. Every deal is different. Every client is different. Every property is different. I love that I learn something new from every deal – not just about the real estate process, but I also learn a lot about myself. I most enjoy being a catalyst in assisting my clients to move to the next chapter of their lives. Many of my clients become my close friends. That’s a huge blessing.

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

Learn as much as you can from experienced REALTORS®. Take as many classes as you can, especially now, when you can do it from home. Stay in touch with your clients and follow-up with new people that you meet. Treat your career like a business with tools, systems, accounting, marketing, etc. Have a positive and winning mindset – negativity will get you nowhere in a business that is already super stressful.

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING MEAN TO YOU?

Volunteering is to be of service and to contribute back some time, knowledge and money that has made you successful. We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

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

I have become an expert at networking. I know a lot of people and love being a connector. That’s been the biggest driver to my success, as the majority of my business is from referrals. I am very patient and even keel – I’ve learned not to take things personally and to forgive myself for mistakes. I am a professional and try to bring a little humor into this already stressful process. My clients appreciate my honesty and transparency. During the selling process, REALTORS® often become psychologists, marriage counselors, therapists, etc. Our clients depend on us to take the emotion out of it and lead the charge to closing. I’m also very knowledgeable about the selling process, so I gain the trust and respect of my clients and colleagues.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US ABOUT YOUR REALTOR® JOURNEY?

I love being a REALTOR® and I love this industry! I’m so grateful to make a great living doing work that brings me so much fulfillment. This is not easy, but it is worth it. As a working mother and wife, I often have to make sacrifices. However, my family understands my passion and I am so full of gratitude for their support.

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