We had the good fortune of connecting with Gillian Levi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gillian, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have problems with authority. Really. Growing up my report cards always reflected good grades and always included the word “flippant”. I was raised by a mother who taught me to always challenge something if I knew it was wrong. My first real job was bussing tables in a bar in upstate New York when I was 12. That beginning progressed to being a waitress for many years and I loved it because, most of the time, I was allowed and trusted to do my job well. However, when I would be micromanaged by shift leaders, I would become resentful and defiant. I knew that if I was going to be happy in my career and my life, I needed to work for myself.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My first couple years in real estate, I drank all the kool-aid and did what everyone tells you to do. I door knocked, held every open house I possibly could, and spent hours cold-calling. I hated it. Mentors were hands off and available as needed but I had no idea what I needed. When I was recruited by Engel & Völkers, I felt honored. I knew nothing about real estate except how to open doors. EV saw what I stood for and wanted to back that with their brand. Instead of prescribing the usual marketing tactics, they met with me for hours, allowing me to finally understand who I was and exactly how I was going to succeed in this business. I don’t door knock, cold-call, or send mailers to random zip codes. I donate my time, my money, and my energy to various causes close to why heart. Causes that I had already been volunteering with for years prior to becoming a real estate agent. San Diego Pride, Boys & Girls Club, ProduceGoods, and most recently, I did my orientation for Habitat for Humanity. Of course, I pass out my cards but most of my business has come from just being a part of the community. Ensuring the prosperity of a community is good business for everyone.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve lived all over the country and am so grateful I was born and raised in San Diego. Living here or visiting, we have so many things that don’t compare to anywhere else. Bands at Soda Bar, breakfast at The Original Pancake House, kayaking at Carlsbad Lagoon, and cocktails at Vintana’s Vodka Lounge. Between the great weather and cultural diversity, San Diego is absolute heaven.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people and experiences that have led me to where I am now however, my current successes in real estate come down to my broker. Trevor and Lindsey Smith with Engel & Völkers in Carlsbad saw the potential in the tiny newborn brand I had created. They curated a bespoke approach to marketing and within months, my career launched in a trajectory that I hadn’t been capable of doing on my own in 3 years.