What better way to kick off Women’s History month, than with Kelly Parker on the cover of Real Producers Magazine!
The article below shares the recipe for what makes Chicago Home Collective so unique. It is our rebellious approach to the industry combined with a rouge definition of success (and how to achieve it) as well as a shared passion for mentorship that have set us apart. We continue to challenge the standard within the industry and are determined to create lasting change. It was such an honor to be featured in a leading publication within the real estate industry and share exactly why we are so much stronger together.
The idea for Chicago Home Collective (CHC) was born seven years ago when Kelly Parker had a realization: her approach to the industry was not only unique, it was also a form of rebellion against the “old school” model of real estate. She gradually invited other like-minded agents to join the ranks with the understanding that a greater impact might be made as a team. CHC now stands six agents strong. They prioritize relationships and community, and describe themselves as a modern take on a traditional real estate team.
Kelly envisioned a team where not one person or name was elevated and recognized above the rest, but one that honored the collective effort it takes to create success for clients. One that not only maintained but celebrated the individual names and unique identities from which businesses grow. One that reframed the definition of success and the ways to arrive there.
“When we lean in and support each other, we all rise.”
At its core, Kelly’s vision involved a departure from the “hustle culture” that has dominated not only the real estate industry, but also our society for years—a paradigm built on “doing” (e.g., wake up at 5 a.m., make fifty cold calls, hit your sphere thirty-three times, win the deal, repeat) and “A fast-paced environment that feeds off of a scarcity mindset, feeling the need to work long hours, and a restless sense of striving for some type of performative goal,” she explains.
While Kelly recognizes the necessity for some of these things at times and that they are not “inherently bad,” she also recognizes the shortcomings of building a business solely on this kind of energy.
“Building an entire business that is fueled by this kind of mindset will eventually lead to zero boundaries (hello agents texting at 2 a.m.) and widespread burnout,” Kelly explains. “This is because the message is that by doing you will be successful. When the truth is that it’s your being that leads to success: your business can only grow to the extent that you do.”
Kelly believes and coaches that the more you show up as who you authentically are—which she refers to as “Aligned Action”—and the more you dedicate to your personal growth and overall wellbeing—which requires proper time off for rest and space for reflection so as to embody the lessons you learned while in the “doing”—the more you will make an impact and build a high-performing business that produces real success.
“Following the same business model someone else prescribed will not lead to the same success,” Kelly further explains. “Because their success wasn’t just about what they did, but who they became while doing it. That’s what led to their success. It’s that state of becoming that truly matters.”
And that is why CHC team members do not identify themselves as just agents, but as travelers, interior designers, mothers, yogis, environmentalists, leaders, and overall “badass women.” Collectively they are experts in a myriad of property types; skilled negotiators; and highly respected, award-winning, dedicated agents who believe that each person is an example of what is possible, rather than of the competition.
Kelly points to the success of team member Emily Ackerman, who just had a tremendous year, for embodying the spirit of CHC. Emily has been with CHC from the beginning. Kelly met the then twenty-two year old Indiana University grad soon after she arrived in Chicago. Emily, who won National Association of REALTORS® 30 under 30 award at age twenty-eight, is now mentoring other budding agents on the team.
“Emily grew her business every year by being her true self, using what felt aligned for her…”
“Emily grew her business every year by being her true self, using what felt aligned for her, and then working incredibly hard from that place. I’m so proud of her and the rest of our team members—Casey Metz, Alexa Dimperio, Ally Keene, and Molly Fox—who are each finding their own success while contributing to the success of each other, and staying true to their becoming.”
Kelly was not so different from Emily when she first started in real estate. She arrived in Chicago from Los Angeles fifteen years ago with two duffle bags and only one friend in Chicago. She was in fashion merchandising before she decided to enter real estate in 2009. Although many of her friends thought she was crazy to leave her job during a recession and jump into a crumbling real estate industry, Kelly felt compelled to help people. She knew what it was like to have your home taken away. It happened to her family during the 1990s recession, and she wanted to help make a difference in the lives of those being affected as an agent.
“I couldn’t minimize the grief for those who were losing their homes to short sales or foreclosures at the time, but I could at least help to make the transition as stress-free as possible,” Kelly explains. “I also wanted to help protect and educate the buyers then, too, so they wouldn’t end up in a similar situation. In my opinion, owning a home should allow you to feel safe, secure, and free to be your most authentic self, and I wanted to help people experience that. That idea and mission has become the biggest operating principle of our team.”
As Kelly continues living out her purpose by coaching and mentoring other agents, both inside and outside of her team, she continues to stay true to her authentic self by spending time with her husband, Ian Hughes, and their daughter, Hazel, exploring the city together, going to concerts, festivals, riding bikes, and doing their best to take care of the planet.
No matter what Kelly does in the future, she will remain an ambassador for collectivism, diversity, and above all, love.
“Success lies in collaboration, not competition,” Kelly emphasizes. “When we lean in and support each other, we all rise.”