A slight language barrier didn’t stop Marsha Collins-Mroz from helping a Chinese-speaking family find a home in the Chicago area six years ago, and the skillful way she handled the process paved the way for other successes, including her appointment to the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program a few months ago.
In getting to know more about the members of this particular Chinese-speaking family, Collins-Mroz discovered their interest in developing, and eventually sold them a commercial property in North Ft. Myers, Fla. Word of mouth led the family’s friends to buy more properties through Collins-Mroz. The migration from Illinois to Florida came naturally to her as she had already been helping other multicultural clients find real estate in the Sunshine State.
Along the way she met a client who wanted to sell his beachfront home and move to Greece. Despite not speaking Greek fluently, Collins-Mroz travelled to Greece and helped him navigate the paperwork and successfully sell his home. Her success in that situation helped her make professional contacts who would work with her to help other clients buy and sell properties in Greece.
Collins says she isn’t intimidated by the prospects of helping international clients. The process combines her love of travel with her love of real estate.
She has served on her local association’s (Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®) global committee, even serving as chair one year. She has visited Mexico and spearheaded an inbound trade mission with Mexico’s national real estate organization, “AMPI,” as part of those responsibilities. Her presence was quickly noticed in NAR’s global community after a fateful visit to the “Mothership” as Collins affectionately calls NAR’s Chicago headquarters. Upon overhearing her request for REALTOR® information to take to China, Collins was approached by Jeff Hornberger, then head of the Global division for the national association, and was asked to speak about her international experiences at NAR’s Conference & Expo in Orlando in 2011. Since then, many miles have been logged in her international pursuit of connecting with “like minded” colleagues to create global partners as well as in her role as consultant and advisor for her global clients.
Most recently; she received an appointment to serve as the NAR President’s Liaison to Greece, and is the 2017 president-elect of The World Federation of Real Estate U.S.A. Chicago Chapter (FIABCI). Through her personal efforts and connections with national leadership of Asociacion Mexicana de Profesiónales Inmobiliarios, A.C. (AMPI) she is honored to once again attend, by invitation, the upcoming installation of AMPI’s national President-Elect in Mexico City at the famed Museo Soumaya. By happy coincidence, Collins will also be able to attend FIABCI’s installation of her friend and valued partner, Silvia Elias, as President of FIABCI Mexico during this same trip.
On the state level, she was named to the Consulate General Liaison Program, which is a sub-group of the association’s Global Business Council. She is the liaison to Greece.
“I love the culture, I love the food and it’s a perfect pairing because I have a lot of Greek friends and there’s always room for more,” she says.
Collins-Mroz, who now works for Homesmart Connect LLC in Arlington Heights, started her real estate career in 1985. “Thirty-one years ago, I literally fell into the business of real estate,” she said. “I was preparing to go to law school when I fell and damaged ligaments in my leg. While I was recovering, I answered phones in a broker’s office and I fell in love with real estate. I was eating, drinking and sleeping real estate, and before long I got my license.”
For several years, she was content to work as a real estate agent, not realizing what joining an association could do for her professional growth. But once she joined, she became involved on the local, state and national levels and has never looked back. And now that she’s found a niche in global real estate, she really likes where she is.
“I’m having fun, and at the end of the day, I realize that you can’t take it all with you. I want to have the experiences, continue to make the lifelong connections and be filled with amazing memories.”
Previous stories about the Consulate General Liaison Program include:
- Kinney serves as liaison to United Kingdom;
- Bilingual skill helps Shang better serve clients, teach others;
- Illinois REALTORS® bring discussion to Polish representative;
- Illinois REALTORS® learn from Czech counterparts; and
- Illinois REALTORS® expands Consulate General Liaison roster.