Sheila Rugege Dantzler is a busy and extremely successful real estate broker and consultant. Based in Chicago, the bubbly Danztler has appeared as a real estate expert on several HGTV shows, including “House Hunters” and “Good Buy/Bad Buy.” Here, she talks to rolling out about what inspires her, how she uses technology, and how she sets goals.
What inspires you to show up at work every day?
My mother and my 3-year-old daughter. My mother was a working professional, got her MBA, all while raising four girls; all of which graduated from college and have successful careers. My daughter inspires me to set an excellent example of what amazing things women can accomplish and contribute to society.
How did you determine your career path?
With a degree in computer science, I started my career in corporate America, working for IBM right out of college. Though I excelled there for many years, I knew I would not be happy nor satisfied until I worked for myself.
Describe the skill sets that are essential to future business leader and innovators.
Anything related to technology and social media marketing will be a key success factor. Technology is the driving force behind innovation and new ideas that will create new businesses, new products, new services, etc. I also believe that strong writing and communication skills will set individuals apart. Most people, including business professionals, primarily communicate through email, text, and social media posts. Being able to create a unique, professional, and a memorable identity, in written form, will be fundamental.
Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
I regularly post to my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to raise my online reputation. People have to know that you are an expert in your profession and it’s up to you to define that identity and brand. I also use a lot of organize apps on my phone and tablet to keep me organized. However, I make it a point to build personal, face to face relationships. People work with who they like. They need to know you on a personal level to trust you with their business.
How do you set goals and evaluate your success?
I have a yearly goal planning session that I track quarterly. There is an end goal, in terms on revenue, relationships, marketing, and new business. In order to get to that end goal, you have to incorporate tactical processes that help you reach your target. If at the end of the quarter, you are not on track, adjustments have to be made. Goal setting is more about accountability than anything. There are many times that I may not meet my goal, but I’ve made more progress than I would have without a goal.
Names three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others.
The Alchemist, The Secret, and Outliers. I would also add New Earth. Each of these literally changed my life in monumental ways.
Describe why lifelong learning is important to you.
I’m a firm believer in personal and professional development. I personally prefer an actual classroom setting, and take at least one class per quarter to expand my professional knowledge. Though it’s difficult to find time read, I make it a point to read at least two personal development and inspirational books a year.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
Confidence, preparedness and perseverance.
Confidence — you have to know that you belong, that you deserve a seat at the table, that you are just as capable and knowledgeable as the next person.
Preparedness — be organized, be prepared, be on time, be professional, etc.
Perseverance — do not give up, do not back down, get up early, do the work, get back up again, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself.
What role does technology play in your daily life?
Everything! To a fault, I’m constantly on my phone — responding to calls, emails, texts, checking apps, etc. Technology is a great benefit in that it enables you to literally be in ten places at one time. Today, everyone wants everything fast. Technology keeps my business and my household running like a well-oiled machine. However, it can become too much. You have to know when to unplug and have quality time with your family and friends.
What social media tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
Facebook. Facebook allows my clients family, friends, colleagues, and clients to see me in my most authentic state. I’ve very transparent about my personal and professional life. It has garnered me a lot of business. Also, because I’ve lived in many different places and most of my family is international, Facebook is an amazing tool to cultivate and maintain very personal relationships. However, social media can be over-whelming as well. I’m not on Twitter, I’ve never used my Instagram account, and only update my Linked In profile once a week. I’m sure I should be on these mediums, but there are only so many hours in the day!
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Who or what motivates you and why?
My 3-year-old daughter. Seeing the world through the eyes of a toddler really makes you appreciate the present moment. I have a sincere obligation to leave this world a better place for her and to make contributions that will make it easier for women to be successful in whatever they decide to do. I’m also motivated not to take for granted the opportunities that are right here in front of me.
What are the dos and don’ts for young women in business?
Do be confident, do be prepared, do persevere, do be on time, do speak up, do sit at the table, do take the tough projects, do take risks, do believe in yourself, do support other women, do believe in the power of positive thinking, do pray. Do not gossip, do not tear down other women, do not compromise your integrity, do not think a pretty face will get you through life (it may open the door, but smarts will get you success), do not give up.
How do you successfully grow from business failure?
This was very tough for me because I would beat myself up and stay with the disappointment for a long time. Until one of my mentors said to me, “You made a mistake, own it, apologize, learn from it so you don’t do it again, and move on.” That was a big light bulb moment for me.
Name the three most successful female role models and why.
Oprah Winfrey – I don’t know too many black women who are billionaires. More importantly, a lot of her shows and guests (Dr. Oz, the authors of The Secret, Eckhart Tolle, organization skills, cooks, etc) literally changed my life. Even today with her Super Soul Sunday, I am a better person because of Oprah Winfrey.
Sheryl Sandburg – It took a lot of courage and soul searching to write a book like Lean In. Though I don’t agree with everything in the book, I admire her for encouraging women to speak up, to sit at the table, to be confident, to know that we are relevant and necessary in business.
My Mother – My mother worked in a professional setting, cooked the most delicious meals, was always so gracious and accommodating, set a beautiful table, kept a clean and inviting home, and looked beautiful doing it all. Being a mother of one, I can’t fathom what she went through. However, she made it look so effortless and I’m forever indebted to her. She’s my biggest cheerleader because she wants to see all her girls excel at home and in business.