Volunteer Spotlight: Vicky Silvano, 2021 RPAC 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 RPAC Fundraising Committee Vice Chair Vicky Silvano, Baird & Warner, to find out more about her career path, why she volunteers and more.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY?

21 years

WHY WERE YOU INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO REAL ESTATE?

I got into the industry by accident! I was working at Northwestern University for four years and had a misunderstanding with my superior at that time. So, I started looking for other jobs. I read in the newspaper about a career night and lo and behold, it was a seminar presented by CENTURY 21 about real estate career opportunities. The rest is history!

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

The biggest achievement that I’ve had is being the Asian Real Estate Association of America’s (AREAA) national president in 2016. During this time, AREAA advocated to include the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) category in the U.S. Census Bureau quarterly homeownership reports. Pre-2016, AAPI was included in the “other” category, which means that the social and economic needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders were not being recognized. As AAPI is the fastest-growing minority group in the country, we believe that the needs of the AAPI community should be heard loud and clear.

With this in mind, AREAA launched the No Other campaign so that our public officials and the U.S. Census Bureau will make a separate and distinct AAPI category in the quarterly homeownership reports. With our leadership team and all the chapters across the country working together, we were successful in our campaign and the AAPI category was officially added in July 2016!

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

What helped me get to where I am today are the people like CAR past president Nancy Suvarnamani, who has opened the door for leadership opportunities, Jim Park and Hope Atuel from AREAA, who have helped me hone and improve my leadership skills, and NAR’s 2018 president Elizabeth Mendenhall, who gave me the opportunity to serve on a national level, to name a few. All these folks have trained me in my leadership skills and opened my eyes to the needs of our associations, and the importance of volunteerism in the real estate industry and the communities we serve.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

I love seeing the eyes of first-time home buyers light up when they receive the keys to their homes! It gives me a sense of fulfillment and reminds me why I chose to work in this industry.

I also like the fact that no client situations are alike. There are a variety of circumstances for why people buy, sell and invest in real estate. It’s this diversity of experiences that gives life to me being a REALTOR®! It’s never boring.

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

Never give up! When you feel that things are not going your way, persevere and you’ll get there. Go to the next level by surrounding yourselves with people who are better than you; better in terms of production level and/or leadership skills. Never stop learning new things, and knowledge is power!

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING MEAN TO YOU?

Volunteering means giving yourself, your time, your talent and your resources to others in need. It means to extend a helping hand where needed. Volunteering has always been in my DNA and I have learned to give back since I was growing up.

I was born and grew up in the Phillipines, and my parents shared our home with some relatives who came from other parts of the country. At one time, there were 17 people in our home and we were all fed, clothed and educated by my parents. My extended family, to this date, are still grateful for what my parents did for them. Because of this, volunteerism has been embedded in me through the generosity of my parents.

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

Being a community leader, an advocate for homeownership, a mom and a leader in the industry has given me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. I feel a connection with the grassroots level and being a voice for the community.

In business, by getting involved, I have created a network of professionals including lenders, attorneys, title companies and other affiliated businesses that I can draw from and use to grow my business, as well as acquire more knowledge on factors that affect our industry.

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