An Architect by Training with a Passion for Out-of-the Box Thinking No Matter the Industry. A Special Conversation with Director of Strategy & Innovation for Avanti Way Realty, Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Q: Can you share with our audience why you chose Real Estate as a career?
IHG: It may seem strange but Real Estate chose me and not the other way around. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Miami, was working as an architect and flags kept going off around me to get my real estate license. It was an organic move that made sense and was able to specialize in architectural and historic properties which complemented my previous life.
Q: Tell us about your current position and what you most enjoy about it?
IHG: I am the Director of Strategy and Innovation as well as Branch Leader for Avanti Way Realty. I started this position a year ago and have been able to take my creativity to the next level with a trailblazing company that continues to innovate and revolutionize real estate processes. I love doing things differently and my position not only allows for that but also gives me the means to mentor other real estate professionals to reach their creative potential.
Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?
IHG: After high school I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to be an engineer or an architect and realized that I needed to be in some sort of creative field. My goals were to be successful but the “how” wasn’t really clear until just a few years ago.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
IHG: My first real job out of college was with an Engineering firm, doing aesthetic bridge design for The Department of Transportation. Although I loved what I was doing, it was evident that being the only creative in the room was not really my cup of tea. It taught me that I felt comfortable around smart professionals, and that no matter what I ended up doing, creativity would be a part of it.
Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career?
IHG: Best practices have always involved impeccable business ethic, surrounding myself with professionals and not accepting status quo. Two mantras have always guided my path: 1. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room 2. Mediocrity is not an option!
Q: What is your biggest career accomplishment so far?
IHG: I was residential president of The Miami Association of Realtors in 2019, the largest Real Estate association in the U.S. and 2nd largest in the world. I consider that one of my biggest career accomplishments because I got involved in leadership to try to make a change and reaching that level gave me a voice to help the industry.
Q: Were there moments in your career that were pivotal to getting where you are today?
IHG: One of my epiphanies was when I was invited to speak at an Inman Conference years ago. That was the moment when I was able to rediscover myself as a professional that people respected (especially after children and being “mom” and “wife”). Speaking engagements started flowing after that and it was quite fulfilling.
The other was when I started blogging. I found a creative out in writing which expressed my passions and attracted the perfect audience for my business.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
IHG: I never met my maternal grandmother, she passed away before I was born but she inspires me every day. A woman that was able to leave a legacy so strong that transcended physical life is just amazing. I only aspire to leave a fraction of her message behind.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
IHG: I think the biggest challenge women face are themselves. It’s really easy to get stuck on what we hear and see or what’s expected of us, but we have the gift of creating our own stories. We are as strong and passionate as we want to be.
Q: Tell us about the Woman’s Cancer Association and the volunteer work you do for them.
IHG: I’ve been involved at different levels with The Woman’s Cancer Association throughout the years. We have a local chapter in Miami Shores and have helped organize fundraisers and have participated hands on on making the organization succeed. In the past few years, I have donated pen and ink renderings (which I draw myself) of homes included in a cancer walk every December. Those renderings become not only the program for the walk but a framed gift to the homeowner as a thank you for participating.
Five Things About Ines Hegedus-Garcia
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
The Dalai Lama is the first one to come to mind. Finding the best version of myself has always been a quest and having a conversation about how spirituality comes into place would be extremely enriching.
2. What's your favorite holiday and why?
I love Christmas, not so much for its religious meaning (I apologize if this could offend anyone), but because I love giving. Finding a gift that puts a smile on someone’s face, especially someone you love, it’s the best feeling ever. The exchange of gifts, whether big or small, is fantastic.
3. Favorite city?
This changes as I travel but right now it’s Genoa, Italy. The small cobblestone streets for pedestrians only (because cars don’t fit), the amazing architecture and the tangible energy takes my breath away.
4. What app can’t you live without?
The simple camera on my phone - I now it’s not an app but I’m constantly documenting the world around me and find it so satisfying to take great photos without expensive & cumbersome equipment.
5. If they made a movie of your life, who’d play you?
Sofia Vergara would make me very happy :)