Each year, Midwest Real Estate News elects a new class to its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Here’s a look at one of our new inductees, Carrie Szarzynski, senior vice president of the Midwest region for Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based NAI Hiffman.
Carrie Szarzynski ranks as one of the busiest and most successful property management professionals working in the Chicago market. But this doesn’t mean that Szarzynski’s path to this career didn’t contain some twists.
Szarzynski first began her property management career in 1995 as a part-time tenant coordinator. After seven years of building her career and taking evening classes to earn her degree, Szarzynski stepped back from property management and real estate to focus on her family. During this time, she taught preschool; volunteered at her church, school and within her community; and continued her education.
She graduated in 2011 with a degree in organizational leadership from Lewis University. Szarzynski then returned to her roots in real estate. In 2017, she made the move to NAI Hiffman. This has turned out to be a smart decision.
“I have always enjoyed customer service and having variety in my day, which is what made this career so exciting to me,” Szarzynski said. “As I think about my success over these 25 years, I believe it is about giving 100 percent at all times, slowing down and being thoughtful about how to handle situations and staying calm when emergencies arise. It is actually simple: Give all you have, continue to grow and learn and treat everyone with consideration and respect.”
Since joining Hiffman, Szarzynski has helped redefine the culture of the management department through collaboration, innovation and consistency with both her people and her clients. This approach led to Szarzynski earning the position of director of management services in 2018, a position in which she managed more than 100 people, 60 clients and 60 million square feet of commercial space.
As a leader in the property management space, Szarzynski continues to develop and expand her reach by participating in real estate panels and leadership training. Business journals often turn to this industry pro for her property management insights.
“I am an avid reader. I love to read articles, books and anything I can get my hands on to learn more about leadership or the issues that need attention, such as COVID or ESG,” Szarzynski said. “I believe we have to constantly add tools to our tool box and that can be through classes, reading or just collaboration.”
Outside of work, Szarzynski remains a busy volunteer in her community, focusing on working with families and children. She was named a 2021 recipient of the CRE Women in Real Estate Award and the Daily Herald’s Influential Women in Business honor.
When not working, Starzynski says that she most loves spending time with her family. She has three kids, and enjoys visiting them at their schools, going bowling with them, skiing or just watching movies with them at home.