Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Woman Maze JourneyThe year was 1987.  I had just completed my Real Estate Salesperson’s Exam – a pre-computerized, licensing exam involving a sheet of paper, a No. 2 pencil, and a 6-8 week waiting period.  At that time, I knew very few people working in the real estate business.  So, after receiving my passing notification in the mail, I picked up the phone book (link provided for those under the age of 25) and I started making telephone calls.  My interest and primary focus was in the male-dominated, commercial and industrial real estate niche.  Consequently, I sought to connect with a broker willing to give a young, inexperienced, female rookie some much needed guidance.

I Don't Think So.

After a brief search, I found a male broker who agreed to get together and talk further about joining his company.  Arriving for our meeting early and eager, I was nervous – yet I felt enthusiastically confident that I would leave with a new job.  I was wrong.  Instead, after attempting to make a great impression by carefully and thoughtfully articulating my qualifications and capabilities, I heard the following response:  “Such big words from such a little girl.  Why don’t we continue this conversation over a drink?”  Realizing I wasn't being taken seriously, but wanting to prove I was tougher than I looked, I managed to keep my composure during the remaining awkward moments – until I politely thanked him for his time and said 'goodbye.'  Afterwards, feeling somewhat discouraged, I returned home with no job prospects, a bruised ego, and the vision of my phonebook – on a desk across the room – once again calling my name.

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

Of course, the dynamics of our business world have changed tremendously since 1987.  In this day and age, many industries which were formerly considered ‘male-dominated’ are now overflowing with bright, independent, vibrant, accomplished, and empowered women.  So, what happened after my initial encounter with that creepy guy masquerading as an upstanding, business professional – albeit equipped with a dysfunctional, moral compass?  Luckily, he was the exception and not the rule.  After a second painstaking search, I eventually connected with another male broker who subsequently became my first real estate mentor.  A kind and decent older gentleman who respected me – and who acknowledged and honored my intelligence and sincere desire to excel in a lucrative, real estate field.  Not only did he generously provide me with a desk and a phone – he was characteristically committed to bolstering the confidence and performance of each and every agent in his office.  In short, he was a true gem.

You Never Forget Your First Business Mentor

Last week, I discovered that unbeknownst to me, my first real estate mentor had passed away a few years ago.  As I reflect back upon our relationship, I feel humbly grateful and appreciative for his willingness to give me a chance when I really needed one.  He unselfishly shared his time, his invaluable knowledge, and his boundless  encouragement and support.  The truth is, I believe a good mentor is an indispensible component to fostering success.  Oddly enough, it seems even more ironic that I should hear this news now – when my current quest for a new business mentor is stronger than ever before.

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Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

Hello Carie:

I don't recall seeing many/any posts on this subject and I whole heartily agree.   I good mentor is worth their weight in gold.  Good luck on finding your next great mentor.

Jan 13, 2013 09:53 AM #14
Christina Sanchez Hood
Palo Alto, CA
#SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living
Carie, great post and you are right about how a mentor is invaluable. I like your choice of title for this post :)
Jan 13, 2013 09:56 AM #15
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Those of us fortunate enough to have had a Mentor can so relate to your post.  I too had a wonderful Mentor and will never forget her.

Jan 13, 2013 10:26 AM #16
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Imagine the impact your mentor had on your career. Makes me what to take the time to help the newbies that come along.


Jan 13, 2013 11:54 AM #17
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I never had a mentor in this business. I tried but found it wasn't the way my brokerage operated. My loss.

Jan 13, 2013 01:08 PM #18
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Good and bad story Carie!  You were surely right to walk out on the creep.  I would think a mentor anywhere would be a very valuable gem.

Jan 13, 2013 06:32 PM #19
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

The weak never survive and you proved that you are not weak.  Mentors are very valuable to have.

Jan 13, 2013 07:40 PM #20
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thanks for sharing your story. It brought back memories of my early years in real estate.

Jan 13, 2013 08:14 PM #21
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

The first part of your story sounds like an episode of Mad Men.  Disgusting.  I'm with you with the whole "Mentor" thing. My wife was mine.  :)

Jan 13, 2013 09:06 PM #22
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Carie, things have certainly changed and I'm glad for the better. I run a mentoring program for a commercial real estate organization. I believe a mentor is a must in this business. Why would a new agent want to reinvent the wheel when they can capitalize of another person's experience and knowledge.

Jan 13, 2013 10:47 PM #23
Nina Rogoff
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Medfield, MA
Sells Real Estate!

It's nice to remember how much your first mentor helped you...his memory will always be around because you and probably others who worked for him will always share their stories and experiences of him. I hope you find another great mentor...maybe through Activerain!

Jan 14, 2013 12:08 AM #24
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Chris Ann:  Mentors can teach us many things.  I guess with some 'mentors' -- not necessarily when they're trying to teach something ....

Margaret:  Nice story, thanks.  It's great that you two have remained in each other's lives.

Suzanne:  Way to go, Don!  And, a great cheeseburger is a bonus :)

Pamela:  Yes, the 80's were definitely an 'interesting' time.  And, I have a feeling that you and I are not the only ones with similar stories!

Connie:  A good mentor is 'priceless' ... well said!


Jan 14, 2013 12:15 AM #25
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Debbie:  How true!  We sometimes have people in our lives who serve as mentors without even realizing it!

Olga:  Agreed.  I was fortunate to find a mentor early in my career.  Sometimes, we don't recognize the gifts we've received until later in life, yes?

Brenda:  Thanks!  I would like to meet another one just like him right now :)

Jeanne:  I had to reread your comment a few times, especially the line from your broker.  Isn't it amazing that your broker would make a statement like that ... even though your situation was not uncommon at that time?  Good for you that you left and moved on to someone else who, I hope, appreciated you and compensated you accordingly!

Janis:  You are such a good mom!  Every time I read something about you and your daughters, I always think to myself "Wow, that Janis is such a cool mom!"  Good advice you gave to your daughter.  We often don't think about the value of many things until we get much older anyway.  Human nature, I guess.  And, I hope mentoring is in my future too, thanks :)


Jan 14, 2013 12:38 AM #26
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Christine:  Yes, I highly recommend them!

Brian:  Exactly right ... a great mentor is priceless!  And, thank you for the good wishes :)

Christina:  I can't say enough about the value in having a great mentor!  And, thanks ... I thought the title was catchy :)

Paula:  Great to hear!  They do stick in our memories, don't they?

Doug:  You definitely should take the time to do it!  Helping others is gratifying, indeed!

Jan 14, 2013 01:20 AM #27
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Tammie:  It's never too late :)

Jay:  A good news/bad news story, right?  And I agree, a good mentor is always valuable!

Steve:  Thank you.  In life, something many of us have to prove over and over and over again, yes?

Gita:  You're welcome!  In some ways, it doesn't even seem that long ago ....

Jared:  Hmmmm ... maybe they're looking for new material :)  And, way to go, Amanda!

Jan 14, 2013 01:41 AM #28
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Michael:  Exactly ... I believe a good mentor is a must too!  And, I like the way you explained it ... 'why would a new agent want to reinvent the wheel when they can capitalize on another person's experience and knowledge.'  Well said.  As much as things change, many things stay the same, yes?

Nina:  Yes, it is nice to remember those who helped us in the past.  Plus, I'm just an old, sentimental softie at heart :)  Thank you, Nina for the good wishes ... I hope to find another great mentor too!

Jan 14, 2013 01:47 AM #29
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Carrie,  Great read.  I'm beting you " Pay it forward ! "  right ?

Jan 14, 2013 06:22 AM #30
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Bill:  Absolutely ... I 'Pay It Forward' all the time!  And thanks ... I'm glad you enjoyed reading my post :)

Jan 14, 2013 09:24 AM #31
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning Carie - What a great story! Every professional could use a mentor - no matter how experienced they are, there's always someone who knows something they don't.

Jan 14, 2013 07:27 PM #32
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Wayne & Jean:  Exactly!  Your comment explains the value of having a mentor at any time in our lives perfectly ... thanks!

Jan 14, 2013 11:58 PM #33
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