Categories: Life

Stepping off the corporate ladder

Chace Whitson had a successful career in construction management, overseeing multi-million-dollar building projects, when an enticing job offer came along that would take him to new heights on the corporate ladder. But he walked away from it all seven years ago so he could become an entrepreneur.

“There’s no ceiling on what you can do when you work for yourself,” says Chace, who heads up the Chace Whitson Real Estate Group at Macdonald Realty. “I saw a lot of growth potential. Being self-employed and having the ability to grow my business as far as I can take it — it’s just such an opportunity to build relationships and make things happen.”

But it wasn’t an easy decision. Chace, who was a general manager at the time, really loved his work and the job offer was for a vice-president position in a larger company on the Lower Mainland.

“It was a big promotion and an amazing opportunity and one of the biggest struggles I’ve had in business was to turn that down,” he says. “Climbing the corporate ladder at a young age and having that success right in front of me and deciding to go out on my own instead was a big risk, but I wanted to pursue my own passion.”

The risk paid off. Chace is now one of the top realtors on the Saanich Peninsula, where he was born and raised. It’s an area he knows well and it’s where he’s now raising his own family.

“Growing up here, I have a really great understanding of the communities, the amenities, the beaches, the parks, the school system and I’ve always loved it,” Chace says. “I’ll never leave! The peninsula has everything.”

His building background, with a solid understanding of residential and commercial construction, has been a big asset for Chace.

“I know what to look for and I can give good advice,” he says. “It gives me a really good foundation to speak to the strengths and weaknesses of the construction.”

But after seven years in the real estate industry, Chace says the most important skill is developing strong relationships, which he values more than anything else.

“Relationships are the foundation of business, and listening to others and really, truly understanding what people want,” he says.

Chace considers his dad, Gregg, one of his mentors.

“My father was also in sales and he taught me to listen to what your clients want and what they value. You’re always so much further ahead by listening. I saw first-hand with my father and the relationships he built in business and how they carried through his entire career and how much trust people put in him.”

Another big lesson Chace learned early on in his career was not to take on too much and overextend himself.

“I think a lot of real estate agents go through this initially as they’re trying to grow their business,” he explains. “I took on business that was in Sooke, Shawnigan Lake and Cowichan — all over the place. The first couple of years I was very busy but I was spread quite thin and it took a toll on me. I did say yes to everything and it wasn’t until I started saying ‘no’ and being wise about it that things shifted.”

Chace decided to focus his business on the Saanich Peninsula and become an area expert. Living in Sidney with his wife, Erin, and three young children, boating is one of their favourite pastimes. The marina is just a five-minute walk from their home and they spend a lot of time on the water.

“I’m really happy with the balance I have,” he says. “I have great support from my team and I really value and respect my time with my family.”

When he’s not working, with his family or enjoying the outdoors, you can find Chace in a dojo. He’s been practising karate since he was seven years old and holds a black belt in Shotokan karate.

“It’s taught me discipline and integrity and I love the art of it,” he says. “It’s great exercise and you can really focus when you’re doing it and it provides that level of clarity.”

As Chace continues to grow his business, he has a lot of clarity on the future.

“I love what I do and wake up every morning excited about what I do and I just really look forward to each day,” he says. “I love my job and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Wire Service

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