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Real estate expert Sheila Dantzler tells young women to ‘Speak up, take risks’

Photo courtesy of Sheila Dantzler

Photo courtesy of Sheila Dantzler

What inspires you to go to work every day?

My parents and my daughter. My parents came to the U.S. as immigrants from Uganda. They both worked very hard to raise my three sisters and me; in addition to many cousins who lived with us through the years. My dad earned his Ph.D., my mom earned her MBA all while providing a loving environment for their children. They taught us to do our best, to respect others, to be proud of our culture, and to know that anything is possible. I have a five year old daughter and my hope is to be her greatest model to achieve whatever dream is her heart.

How did you determine your career path?

Accidentally! My degree is in computer science and I worked for a Fortune 500 technology company right out of college. After five years I got laid off, but had already purchased my first condo. I worked in the sales center of my condo building on the weekend and fell in love with real estate. A few years later, I got my real estate license and ten years later, I’ve built a very successful business.

Describe the skill sets that will be essential to future business leader and innovators.

Being organized, prepared, and knowledgeable in your craft are skills that are relevant today, yesterday and in the future. Once those are mastered, embracing and participating in Social Media is paramount.

Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.

In my business, connecting with people on a personal, one on one level, has been a great key to success. However, I’ve embraced social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn so my clients and the public know who I am as a professional and as a person – a mom, a wife, a business owner, and trying to find humor in the day to day challenges of balancing all of those roles.

Describe goal-setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.

It’s fairly simple for my business. I calculate what my yearly revenue goal is, then break down average transaction price, number of transactions needed to meet that, number of clients needed in pipeline, then how many clients/potential clients I need to contact per week. For goals outside of my real estate business, I write them down in a journal and review them every day, while speaking affirmations on bringing them to reality.

Names three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others?

The Alchemist, The Secret, Outliers

Describe why lifelong learning is important to you?

If you look at very successful and very wealthy people like Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, etc., they have many businesses and multiple streams of income. You only get there if you open your mind to learning new things that will open the door to new opportunities.

What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?

Not being afraid to take risks, Not being afraid to speak up and voice your truth, Not being afraid to ask for help!

Technology plays what role in your daily life?

My life would be chaotic without my smartphone. I manage my real estate business, I track my other business opportunities, I live by my calendar for both professional and personal commitments, I have my to-do list, I have contact information for my “village of support” — babysitters, house cleaners, handymen, delivery services, etc. I heard a quote from a very successful woman that I will never forget — “Learn how to buy back your time, then outsource the things you cannot or do not want to do.”

What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?

Facebook. It’s an amazing platform where I can keep up with friends and family from across the world, share my successes and challenges, then get the “virtual support” to be uplifted in both. I’ve shared my business success which has garnered me many new clients and thousands of dollars in revenue, just by being transparent about who I really am.

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?

“Mom guilt” — it’s tough when I have to be away from my daughter to work, but I try to be fully present for all the times we spend together.

Who or what motivates you and why?

President Barack Obama — if a mixed-race kid, raised by a single mom, moving from place to place, with a wife from the South Side of Chicago, can become a two-term president of the United States. I know for absolute sure that anything is possible if you relentlessly work for it, if you believe it can really come to pass, if you take [an] outrageous risk — anything you dream about is possible to come true.

What are the do’s and don’ts for young women in business?

Do’s – speak up, show up, have unwavering confidence, volunteer to do hard things, take risks, believe you can actually do it, ask for help, get a mentor. Don’t – think physical attributes will be enough, take short cuts, think you are too good to start from the bottom to build your way up, be afraid to be the only woman in the room, think you don’t deserve to be there, be lazy, be late … most importantly don’t give up!

How do you successfully grow from business failure?

I’ve failed, I’ve made mistakes; but what I’ve learned is to take responsibility, apologize once, don’t beat myself up about it, learn the lesson, and move on!

Name successful female role models and explain why you hold them in high esteem.
My mother – she is a professional, she raised her own four daughters (who are all successful professionals and mothers now); in addition to many others who need her support; she is the most loving and gracious person I know.

Michelle Obama – coming out of a public school system from the South Side of Chicago, to Princeton, to Harvard, to first lady of the USA who has an unwavering commitment to her husband and her children; yet does not downplay her intelligence and professional success. She has always been positive when so many people have said horrible things about her and her family. She is the epitome of intelligence, professionalism, grace, and class.

Oprah Winfrey – [to go] from a broken home where she was abused as a young girl to being a billionaire is mind-blowing!