REALTORS® may be familiar with Vicky Silvano as a Century 21 agent, as an AREAA advocate for the “No Other” campaign or through the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Global Council.
But when she joined the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program a few months ago, she added a new component to her association involvement. Born and raised in the Philippines, she graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Economics. She speaks Tagalog, the official national language, also referred to as “Filipino.”
“In Chicago, most of the Philippines consular officers, from the consul general to the vice-consuls and trade officers, come from the same university where I came from – University of the Philippines,” says Silvano, a broker associate from Century 21 SGR, Chicago. “When there are community events or newly appointed consuls, we get engaged with them easily as we come from the same school. It’s an easy flow of association in fostering strong relationships.”
Silvano is one of a growing list of Illinois REALTORS® who serve as liaisons to countries with foreign consulates in Illinois. Consulates are established to help residents of foreign countries navigate the customs and laws of the United States as well as explore mutually beneficial business opportunities. Other countries involved are: Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
The ability to lead and help others was never more evident than during her tenure as the national chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) in 2016. Last year, she led a delegation that included AREAA’s leaders and the Asian American Congressional Caucus, to convince the U.S. Census Bureau to gather separate information on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) instead of including their data under the collective heading of “Other.” This change is impacting the census bureau’s quarterly homeownership reports. A distinct AAPI category is a historic change not only for today but for years to come.
“The quarterly reports put a needed spotlight on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) homeownership for government agencies and businesses,” said Silvano, “so that more AAPI’s can achieve the American dream of owning a home.” With the Asian model minority myth, this data collection of AAPI will allow government and private entities to focus on the challenges and needs that the AAPI community faces in the homeownership sector.
“What a great experience I had during my tenure as the 2016 national chair,” she says. “I am proud and honored to carry the different hats I have – Illinois REALTORS®, CAR, C21 member!”
As part of her role leading AREAA’s leadership team, Silvano was also appointed to the Multicultural Advisory Board to identify opportunities, address the challenges and recommend solutions to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) membership. She looks forward to working as the 2018 Global Business and Alliance Liaison to NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall.
History of wanting to understand more
Silvano began her real estate career in 1990. She began primarily as a residential agent, however she has expanded into the commercial and investment sectors as well.
“Learning is always forefront in my mind,” she says. “I always update myself with new information, tools and other marketing strategies on real estate. I have designations such as CIPS, CRS, ABR and took all courses in CCIM classes. I volunteer professionally and personally. I am involved in several non-profit organizations, including AREAA.
“Right now, my passion is with AREAA. I think my involvement with AREAA has opened my eyes to the challenges Asian Americans face today regarding homeownership opportunities. I would like to be a strong advocate and this is really how I want to give back to the community – the community that propelled my real estate business that I love.”
Previous stories about the Consulate General Liaison Program include: