Jaimie Steinher joined Essex Realty Group in 2017 as an associate and primarily concentrates on the acquisition and disposition of multi-family and mixed-use investment real estate. She is responsible for asset valuation, market research and analytics, and marketing for her team and has been involved in the sale of over $250 million of investment property, including 1,500+ apartment units.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended Indiana University Bloomington Kelley School of Business for my undergraduate degree in marketing and international business. After graduation, I moved to Chicago and have been here ever since. In short, I’m an expert Midwesterner! There is so much to love about the Midwest — its seasons, lakes, people, and cities.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
From a young age I knew I wanted to use my creativity to build something. I was lucky to have parents who always encouraged me to embrace my talents and creative side.
My dad was a self-made entrepreneur. He put himself through college and later started his own design and exhibit firm. His business skills were largely self-taught, and he took calculated risks to create a brighter future for his family. I very much admire his bravery, vision, and ingenuity. He told me from a very young age that I could be and do anything.
My mom was a full-time litigator for a large law firm. Despite her busy work schedule, she loved to spend free time working on home projects and this rubbed off on me from an early age. We were always rearranging furniture, changing paint colors, or working in the yard. She recently renovated an 1800s farmhouse in Cincinnati. Watching her go through that process was amazing.
When I knew I wanted to make a career shift towards something more entrepreneurial and creative, real estate immediately jumped out as a logical choice, and multi-family specifically seemed like a great combination of the two.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I have no background in real estate, but I was drawn to the entrepreneurial aspects of the industry. It was a unique combination of luck, work ethic, and opportunity that got my foot in the door.
I was working as a food broker right out of college. I commuted hours every day out to Lombard and was in and out of grocery stores for most of my first year in the business. While it was far from glamorous, I learned valuable lessons and met great people. Through those connections, I was eventually introduced to Essex by one of their clients. After taking him out to lunch to pick his brain, he referred me to an analyst position at Essex. At the time, I was working at an international marketing agency and found that I was increasingly dissatisfied with my career trajectory. I decided to trust my gut and take the leap into multi-family brokerage. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Four years later, I still feel lucky to say I love my job and my team.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I am fortunate to have two incredible mentors. Despite my lack of prior industry experience, Doug Imber, founder, and president of Essex Realty Group saw something in me. I have learned invaluable lessons from him through the countless hours he’s invested in my success. Doug is a widely respected real estate professional and an excellent role model. He doesn’t waver from his values, and he’s easily one of the smartest people I know.
I also am lucky to have Kate Varde in my corner. Joining Essex was an easy decision after I met Kate. Simply put, she is fierce. She’s managed to climb the ladder and is the only female multi-family principal you’ll see on any mid-market brokerage roster. She continues to break barriers, and I’m inspired by her commitment to her family, community, and career. Watching her balance her career with motherhood continues to inspire me. Her authenticity is infectious, and I don’t think I would still be on this path without her example.
What does a day in the life of Jaimie Steinher look like?
No one day is the same. Most days are defined by my clients and my team. Every day, I try to be a triple threat for my team by driving analytics, design, and communication. When I start my morning, I consider what will make the most immediate impact and then focus on executing throughout the day. Some days I’m in front of my computer putting together financials models, designing reports, or building proposals. Other days I’m managing a full day of property tours or client engagements. The variety is great, and each new challenge keeps me motivated.
What do you like most about your job?
Helping people achieve their real estate goals by providing them with expertise and guidance is one of the most gratifying parts of this job. I try to serve my clients the same way I would a family member. Having their best interest at heart and helping them find success and growth in their business ventures is priceless.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give my team a shoutout. Without them, it would just be a job. I feel lucky that I am able to work with such esteemed colleagues. I am constantly learning from them, and even working from home, we’ve managed to achieve great success over the past year.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
This industry is one where experience and knowledge not only positively impact how you do your job and serve your clients but also can be immediately carried over to your own personal investment decisions. At a fundamental level, I joined Essex Realty Group because I wanted to learn the field from the ground up with the goal of eventually managing my own multifamily investments.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Most evenings, you can find me at some type of workout class: yoga, cycle, interval, you name it. I completed my first sprint triathlon in 2018 and I’m excited to start training again. It’s my favorite way to blow off steam after a long workday. I’m also fortunate to have a great close-knit group of friends in the city.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Turkey! My boyfriend is Turkish and most of his extended family still resides in Istanbul or Ankara. We were able to visit Istanbul for a few days before embarking on a weeklong tour of the coastal cities by boat. The rich culture and history there is astounding. South Africa is next on my travel wish list.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
My close friend Josie Peacock, Director of Capital Markets at CRG. She’s rapidly ascended the ranks there and was just recently selected as a CREW Chicago Rising Star.