Having parents heavily involved in real estate and additional mentors with big picture views of the industry have helped Chicago REALTOR® Christopher Pezza aim to join the 2020 Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors.

“My parents are my role models,” says Pezza, vice president of operations with Miller Chicago Real Estate. “My dad (David Pezza) is a real estate attorney and holds a broker’s license. My mom (Paula Pezza) has been a broker for nearly 30 years. They both go above and beyond for their clients, so I try to do the same.”

Pezza is one of nine REALTORS® slated to join the board of directors at the Fall Business Meetings, Sept. 17-19 at the Chicago Marriott in Naperville. He is being featured in a series of articles on slated board candidates.

“My first mentor in the business was Rick Jebb, who taught me how to work through many types of asset class and any nuance that may arise in a deal,” says Pezza. “Jebb always had a new way of looking at challenges to make them seem smaller and easier to solve. One of my recent mentors has been (Illinois REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Director for the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and its West Towns Chapter) Brian Bernardoni, who really took me under his wing and helped me develop a deeper understanding of our industry and its place in our economy and politics. He really opened my eyes to the power of ‘R.’”

In his role at Miller Chicago, Pezza says, “I do everything in real estate, from own and manage, to broker, to lease, to consult, to provide expert testimony to teach. I’ve tried to build my business model on being able to help my clients through any situation in real estate. I never need to tell them no.”

A REALTOR® since 2011, and a real estate broker since 2005, Pezza owns investment properties in both Chicago and Normal. He has served as a real estate instructor for the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and the Real Estate Institute. He obtained a master’s in real estate from Roosevelt University in 2018 and was named the Most Outstanding Student for his graduating class.

His diverse brokerage background includes: multifamily, mixed-use, manufactured housing communities, self-storage properties and vacant land. He’s also managed more than 3,000 rental units, but rather than celebrating his success by numbers, he aims for satisfied customers. It’s a lesson he learned from his parents, who taught him clients always come first.

“I measure success by how happy my clients are after any deal – from their first apartment rental to buying their first apartment building,” he says. “Their excitement is how I know I’ve done my job.”

Association involvement includes local, state and national service

Pezza started his involvement with real estate associations on the local level, volunteering for the CAR Young Professionals Network and becoming chairs of the Property Management Committee and the Public Policy Committee. He’s also served three terms on the CAR Board of Directors.

“Being a board member for CAR was one of my greatest honors,” says Pezza. “However, I realized that there is much more to Illinois than just Chicago. My experience gives me a unique knowledge of both Chicago and the many submarkets we have. We need to work together to make sure that home values downstate and out west are just as strong as the Chicago metro, especially given the financial challenges our state faces today.”

With Illinois REALTORS® he’s volunteered for the Leasing Agent Review Task Force, the Public Policy & Governmental Affairs Member Involvement Group and the Commercial/Industrial/Investment Committee. With the National Association of REALTORS®, he’s on the Real Property Operations Committee and the Federal Technology Policy Committee.

“Volunteering has made me realize how important what we as REALTORS® do really is,” he says. “On a day-to-day basis, REALTORS® help people achieve their dreams. But as an industry, we fight to protect those dreams and keep housing sustainable and affordable.”