This month’s 5 Quick Questions is with the amazing Tommy Choi in Chicago, IL. Tommy is one of those people who never fails to make the person next to him feel like the most important person in the room. He has mastered the art of being grateful and is one of the most gracious people I know. What more can I say…? I had a chance to chat with Tommy about gratitude, busy-ness, being real on social media (and in life)…and of course, food.
1. If there’s one word I always associate with Tommy Choi, it’s gratitude. Talk to me about how gratitude affects your personal and professional life.
2. I think we REALTORS® sometimes struggle with expressing gratitude to our clients — we don’t thank them adequately or we go over the top and it may seem unnatural. On a professional level, how do you show your gratitude and what advice to you have for those struggling with that?
3. As much as I hate the word, I know that you are busy. You run a company, you sell real estate, you’re a national speaker, you’re Immediate Past President of the Chicago REALTORS® (for 2020) and you will be Vice President of Association Affairs for the National Association of REALTORS® (for 2021). You have a beautiful family and you love to travel. How do you make it all work?
4. Social media makes our lives appear so perfect — from our sales numbers to our family lives, we post our “highlight reel,” which can make it easy for others to think we face no bumps in the road. What has been a challenge you’ve recently faced and how did you overcome it?
5. You are the epitome, in my opinion, of the servant leader. You raise others up, you serve with kindness and humility; in short, you’re the kind of leader that others strive to be. But leadership can pose challenges to this attitude: politics can be ugly, ambition can be seen as selfish, and new leaders or potential leaders with good intentions can become frustrated in the wake of those kinds of challenges. What advice can you offer to those who have felt beaten down or thwarted in their leadership journey?
BONUS QUESTION: You love food; I love food; this seems an appropriate question for us to discuss: if you were having a kind of “last meal,” for example, you were shipping off to a dessert island for a year and you wanted to indulge in a decadent, amazing, phenomenal last supper of sorts — what would be your appetizer, entrée, dessert, and beverage(s)?
My app(etizer) would be the house-flared thick cut bacon that is topped with a black pepper, Michigan maple syrup, dark chocolate glaze over it (from Chicago’s Prime and Provisions). My entree would be the spinalis (a.k.a. ribeye cap steak) from Maple & Ash. My dessert would be orange creamsicle cotton candy from RPM Steak. My beverages would be a Weller old fashioned with my app, then a bottle of Realm Moonracer wine with dinner, and with dessert, a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. NOW I’M HUNGRY.
Tommy Choi co-founded the Weinberg Choi Residential team in 2007 with his business partner Josh Weinberg. They celebrated the opening of their own Keller Williams Market Center in January of 2017. Since that time, the Weinberg Choi Residential team has sold over 800 properties, and over $300 million dollars in sales volume. They are consistently ranked in the top 25 Real Estate teams in Chicago, which puts them in the Top 1% of Chicago Association of Realtors’ top producers. Tommy also currently serves at the Immediate Past President of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (after serving as the 135th President of CAR and the first Korean-American President in the Association’s 135 year history). He also serves as an active member of the Illinois REALTORS®, and was the National Associations of REALTOR®’ 2019 YPN Advisory Board Co-Chair. In 2021, he will serve as the National Association of REALTORS®’ Vice President of Association Affairs under President Charles Oppler.