4 questions: REALTOR® Silvano to be sounding board for NAR global efforts

Vicky Silvano

During the Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., REALTOR® Vicky Silvano was presented as the 2018 NAR Global Business Alliances Liaison.

Silvano, a broker associate for Century 21 SGR in Chicago, is one of 16 NAR committee liaisons who will start their new duties after the NAR Conference & Expo in Chicago in November. Appointed by NAR President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall, the group is collectively known as the president’s enlarged leadership team.

Silvano began learning about her new responsibilities by shadowing the current Global Business Alliance Liaison, Mark Kitbayashi of Seattle, during the week of legislative meetings and NAR activities in the nation’s capital.

As Chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) in 2016, she helped successfully lobby for the U.S. Census Bureau to gather separate information on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) instead of under the heading of “other.” She also serves on the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Global Council, and she joined the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program as a consulate general for the Philippines.

“I am very excited about the new position,” she said.

Q1. What does a global business alliances liaison do?

In the global arena, I will be the eyes and ears of NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall and let her know what’s happening in several areas – the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Advisory Board, the Global Business Council Forum and with the Global Business Alliances. Using my feedback, she can look at our current programs and depending on the specific issues, evaluate if we need to do something different to better serve the general membership.

Q2. Global has long been a passion. Why do you think it’s so important for members to be aware of cross-border opportunities?

In 2016, global business transactions created 102 billion business opportunities, and to not highlight them means lost business opportunities for our members. The more our members can take advantage of these opportunities, the better off they’ll be.

Q3. Your work with AREAA resulted in the successful “No Other” campaign. What impact did that have on the industry and why was this so significant?

The “No Other” campaign resulted in the disaggregation of data by the US Census Bureau which has been much needed to understand the housing challenges and needs of the AAPI community. Prior to July 2016, the quarterly housing report lumped Asian Americans into a category with mixed races and various ethnic groups that are very different from AAPIs. With a stand-alone category, the data is much more accurate for our community.  From an industry standpoint, real estate professionals and service providers can better understand what’s going on with housing trends for AAPIs and provide better support to increase the rate of homeownership for our community. From a Policy perspective, the government can now focus on the issues and needs of the AAPI community and address them accordingly.

Q4. What’s the best thing about being in real estate?

I’ve been a top producer and achieved a lot in my career, but my legacy is what I accomplished through AREAA for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For me, the greatest success is making sure the needs of those communities are being served, and that issues are being heard and resolved to expand the homeownership rate in the AAPI community.


Two REALTORS® doing double-duty in DC



Illinois REALTORS® Vicky Silvano and Nancy Suvarnamani are asking legislators on Capitol Hill to support the rights of property owners and real estate professionals this week on behalf of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).

They are in Washington, D.C., during the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Expo.


While NAR is working hard on the home mortgage interest deduction, the 1031 exchange, flood insurance and government sponsored enterprise (GSE) reform issues, AREAA is on the Hill discussing student loan impacts on mortgage lending, language barriers, reform for the uniform loan application and credit scoring. Together, these two organizations are carrying the message that homeownership and access to capital and cultural barriers to homeownership are both important issues that members of Congress need to be aware of as they make decisions on matters of policy.

U.S. Rep. Judy Chu of California’s 27th District was a speaker at the AREAA Policy Town Hall and stated that “the real estate industry is so important and a favorite for her to meet with since they are most in tune with their communities.” Chu will see the first-hand impact of the collective efforts of both groups.

In some cases, Suvarnamani and Silvano are facilitating conversations that need to take place on these important issues. Suvarnamani, the NAR Federal Political Coordinator to U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, is visiting the senator to discuss the AREAA issues and then participating in the Illinois REALTORS® town hall meeting for Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Consulate liaison Suvarnamani receives award

REALTOR® Nancy Suvarnamani (right) and Royal Thai Consulate General Saksee Phromyothi (center).

Nancy Suvarnamani, Broker/Owner of Century 21 S.G.R. in Chicago, and also the Illinois REALTOR® Consulate Liaison to the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Chicago received the Exemplary Community Service Award from the Asian American Coalition in Chicago last weekend.

She is pictured here with Consulate General Saksee Phromyothi who was at the event.  Nancy is very involved with the Consulate and active in the Thai community in Chicago as well as being a leader in real estate in Thailand. Nancy also works on international real estate issues through her role as National Association of REALTORS® Regional Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region. Congrats to Nancy for a job well done!
Get more information on the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program.

Video explains why ‘No Other’ campaign so important to Asian Americans

During 2016, REALTOR® Vicky Silvano helped play an important role in having the U.S. Census Bureau create a separate category for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She served as the national chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of American (AREAA) during that time and appeared in a video used by the organization for public awareness.

Watch for further developments on this issue during 2017.

Silvano is a broker for Century 21 SGR, Inc.,in Chicago. For more information about her, go here and here.

For information about AREAA, go here.

Bilingual skill helps Shang better serve clients, teach others

Shang Michelle

Michelle Shang

Many years before Michelle Shang became a REALTOR® in 1999, her parents laid the foundation for a valuable skill she uses today. She can communicate in English and Chinese.

“I learned Mandarin from my parents as we always spoke Chinese at home,” says Shang, who grew up in Elmhurst and of course, attended English-speaking schools there. “Also, I grew up going to Chinese school on the weekends.

“Speaking Mandarin definitely helps international clients feel comfortable, and they are able to convey their thoughts and requirements more clearly. More importantly, it’s necessary to understand the slight cultural nuances and why international clients do things the way they do.”

Not only has Shang found the ability to communicate in Chinese valuable in her own real estate business, she has applied it to the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program. She is one of the original eight members of the growing program.

“Working as a liaison is great because I want to give REALTORS® a voice and educate people from other countries about the importance of REALTORS®,” she says.

Learning by example

Shang, who started helping her mother, Catherine Shang, at Unity Realty in 1989, says her mother’s example and encouragement has helped her succeed in the business too. The two are co-owners of the business today.

“My mother has always been very involved with the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) as a board member, Commercial Committee member and Global Committee member. Her example of working hard and getting involved in the local association has encouraged me to become active myself.”

She earned her Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation through the NAR Invitational and has served as a panelist at a recent event organized by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®’ Global Real Estate Council. She is also a member of MORe’s Global Committee and Illinois Realtors Global Working Group. In addition, she’s been active in the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) of Greater Chicago, joining its board and serving as the organization’s current treasurer.

“I became involved in the Consulate General Liaison Program through referrals from MORe and AREAA, and I am connected to China’s representative through my continued work in the Chinese community,” says Shang. “I have worked with international investors from China to purchase property in Chicago.”

If you would like to become involved in the Consulate General Liaison Program, please read more and apply now for open positions.

This is the second in a series of stories about members of the Consulate General Liaison Program which began in early 2016 with eight members. To read the first story (about Jim Kinney) click here and watch this blog for future stories in coming weeks.