Meet Amy Galvin
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Luxury Living Chicago Realty
When I first met, Amy, her company, Luxury Living Chicago Realty (LLCR), that she co-founded with her partner in love and life, Aaron Galvin, ten years earlier, was on the brink of unprecedented success.
It was difficult to not be inspired by the Galvin’s story. Aaron is the consummate entrepreneur, highly visionary and pioneering. Amy prides herself in helping make Aaron’s vision come to life. Together they identified a gap in the apartment marketing and leasing industry.
They saw an opportunity to shake up the real estate industry by raising the bar on leasing services and using their expertise to forge a new path.
As with any new endeavor, particularly when you’re considered a disruptor in the industry, your progress can falter, or worse, fail. For the Galvin’s, they heard all the reasons why not to do it, but persistence and perseverance prevailed.
They are now an award-winning company, recognized by the industry time and time again. Amy is humbled by the exposure but is first to say, “Find something you are passionate about. Success will come.”
Fast forward less than two years later, our paths crossed again. Their business had doubled to a fifty-person company. Extraordinary success to say the least.
It was at this second round that LLCR became one of my clients. With rapid growth comes the need for introspection, which involved shoring up systems and processes, talent review and selection, and fine-tuning what this unprecedented growth meant in delivering and sustaining on their 5-star rating, all while keeping the business running, employees engaged, agents happy, and clients satisfied.
With this objective, Amy arranged for me to work with her and her team. My four-month engagement involved taking an interim director of marketing role where I could work inside their business.
I have found that there are times when you and your client are better served if I can work inside their company to better guide and advise on how to work on their business.
Part of Amy’s goal was to begin moving away from her chief marketing role and assume the role of “EOS Integrator” (more on that in a bit) or COO as other companies would deem it.
This shift for Amy was not only essential to the continued growth of the company but highlighted how talented she is in wearing many, many (did I say many?) hats.
My time at LLCR proved to be an invaluable experience. Here are the top 5 things I took notice of:
1. But first culture. The thought and attention that goes into creating experiences inside and outside the company is apparent. It’s not an easy task – with a combination of independent contractors and non-exempt employees all working towards the same goal. They’ve even gone so far as appointing a person to lead the charge around creating memorable experiences and she proudly carries the title, Experience Manager.
2. They truly live (and breathe) their 5 core values. I’ve witnessed how their core values are exhibited through the work they do and the impact they make. Conversely, I’ve seen them referred to when a situation or event comes into question.
3. Their use of technology is exceptional. From marketing to accounting to communication to operations, they have it all planned, mapped out, and implemented. This brings me to my next point…
4. They hold themselves accountable with a capital A. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) is at the heart of how they run their day to day business – from running meetings to accountability to goal setting and more. EOS is the common foundation that everyone adheres to. As with any “process or system,” it’s often most difficult to get users to engage and conform. However, with Amy at the helm leading change and innovation, the acceptance and utility of it all is quite exceptional.
5. They’re all… all in. This speaks to their culture and so much more. They have a fair and inclusive approach to doing business. They celebrate the wins as a team, feel the hurt of a loss, and find ways to lift each other up.
Fairness is an important factor in how they treat everyone under the LLCR moniker. Amy is mindful to ensure opportunities, earning potential and even an unlimited PTO policy is in force. Leveling the playing field where women can thrive (not just survive) is paramount to her.
At the center of this internal magic is Amy. Her change agility impressed me most about her leadership style. She knows a lot but doesn’t come across as a know-it-all.
She is open to new ideas and ways of thinking. On the leading edge and adapting to new trends, she is an enduring learner, consuming information and implementing what she learns.
She is such a consummate professional that it’s easy to forget she also has a very important job at home – raising two young daughters. At the time I met Amy she had committed to working one day a week from home (if possible) and coming into the office the other days, only after seeing her daughters off to school in the morning. She acknowledges that her time spent with them is limited but the time that they do have is of the utmost quality. She doesn’t allow technology and the demands of her career get in the way when it’s family time.
She makes being a working wife and mom with a business to run look like an easy feat! As I got to know Amy, I enjoyed hearing how open and honest she was about juggling it all. She keeps things in perspective, doesn’t sweat the small stuff – and most importantly keeps moving forward.
Amy has an enduring work ethic and derives tremendous satisfaction from her career. Not just for financial reasons but the purpose it provides. She is grateful for the investment her parents made in her college education and doesn’t take it for granted. She has and intends to continue to be a visual role model for her daughters and working women (everywhere) with the aim to help build leaders who can build leaders.
In her spare time, (if there is any) she is a blogger. Her Blog, Vodka in My Coffee is full of tips, insights and quips both on the professional and personal front told in an entertaining and engaging way.
Did I mention she also (somehow) manages a side business? She’s an independent sales consultant for Beautycounter. This side-hustle serves several purposes for her. First and foremost, she LOVES their products and was a consumer a couple of years before joining their team. She is moved by their mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. They are doing their part to commit to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law by prohibiting the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals in their products. And the discount doesn’t hurt.
The Beautycounter business model isn’t that dissimilar to LLCR in that their sales force is comprised of independent contractors. Amy views this as a good hands-on opportunity to learn best practices (behind the scenes) that can help shape or influence her own LLCR business.
I was also pleased to learn about her personal involvement in the Women’s Movement. After the presidential election of 2016, she felt a tremendous loss in not seeing a woman elected president.
It was with this void that she felt impassioned to travel to Washington, D.C. and march with other women and took great comfort in knowing she was not alone.
After that experience, she recognized “I need to level-up and be the kind of leader I was looking for.” It takes a strong woman and an even stronger leader to recognize that the change you want from your leadership begins with you.
Advance to the next page to read about another featured woman of change, Erica Mariola.