Interviewer: Maggie Ziemann
Amanda Wycoff: Hi there, I’m Amanda Wycoff and my degree is in business administration with emphasis in marketing with public relations and my minors were in Spanish and in theater arts and drama. And I took courses at Heartland between 1996 and 1998.
Maggie: What made you decide to go to Heartland?
Amanda: It was very, very convenient. Because I was born and raised here in Bloomington-Normal, and my degree is from Eureka, so that of course, being very close, I was home for the summers and in order to get my credits and graduate quicker and be able to do all I wanted to do, I utilized the summer classes.
Maggie: And how did that experience at Heartland help you get to where you are now?
Amanda: My experience at Heartland was actually wonderful. Where I struggled with accounting, to be honest with you, I didn’t do so well the first time. I didn’t fail certainly, but I wasn’t happy with a C, I just didn’t understand it. And so in taking it again, and really focusing on it with Heartland, I was able to get my grade up and score an A, which was wonderful.
Maggie: Were the professors very helpful at Heartland?
Amanda: Oh, the professors were incredibly helpful. I was grateful for the opportunity to work with them. They were happy to answer any questions that I had, and I’m math dumb. I’m more English oriented and of course marketing oriented, but with a business degree you have to fulfill certain requirements. And statistics, that’s another class that I took at Heartland. And boy, I needed a lot of help on that and I got it at Heartland.
Maggie: So you went into PR and marketing, but now you’re in reality. So how did you choose to make that transition?
Amanda: It’s not really a transition. Marketing and PR are huge components of being a realtor. Now, I was born and raised around real-estate, and I like to say that I was raised on my dad’s job site. He’s a general contractor and very skilled craftsman and builder. And so I witnessed him dealing with realtors and selling properties, pretty much all my life. Now after college, I moved to Los Angeles and I worked in business, marketing, and advertising. And I had an opportunity to be the CEO of everything my boss did not do at a real-estate company. It was a small one, and actually in south-central Los Angeles that focused on commercial buildings. And in that, I was able to utilize my public relations, my marketing, my business skills, all of which benefited real-estate. So when I had a unique opportunity to market a sub-division here in Bloomington-Normal, never expecting to come back home, I took it. And I felt like I was standing outside of my body when I got the offer. 30 days and I was home. And using that marketing, that business degree in order to promote properties and to promote my business. So I would say one of the main business qualities that a realtor must have is marketing, public relations, and advertising. And if they don’t have that than I think real-estate would be very challenging for any realtor.
Maggie: And with those math classes you took at Heartland that definitely kind of helped you get to where you are.
Amanda: Every day I have clients asking me, “What is my estimated proceeds when I sell my house? What can I expect to make or lose at the closing table, give me the bottom line.” And while I’m not an attorney or a title officer or a lender, I can get them pretty close. And in utilizing those math classes that I did take at Heartland it makes me all the better at it.
Maggie: So what do you like best about the real-estate industry?
Amanda: What I love is the people element. I love helping people attain their goals and getting to where they want to be; helping them find homes. What’s really interesting, I think about real-estate, is it’s not really just about houses, it’s about people. And helping them through one of the biggest experiences of their lives. And I specialize in making their entire experience as fun and as stress free as possible. I like to say, “Let’s make it all rainbows and lollipops. No stress. No stress.” So what I really love is helping people through that transition. And most of my clients have become my friends, which is wonderful.
Maggie: And it’s been shown because you have also been named 2013 and 2014 Pantagraph’s Readers Choice Best Realtor and BIR Realtor of the Year in 2012.
Amanda: And 2014, I just got it!
Amanda: It’s really crazy. I didn’t expect it at all, and I think that I am the only one in the history that has received it, of Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, that has received it twice. Let alone, two of the past three years, which is such an honor, that I humbly except. But I really don’t know what to do with it.
Maggie: And why do you think that you have, achieved these goals?
Amanda: I work my tail off. I work my tail off, and I don’t take “no” for an answer. And I’ve always been taught that I can do anything that I set my mind to as long as I believe that I can. And I work my tail off; I learned that from dad, growing up on his job sites. And I was just installed president of our local association of realtors, just a couple of weeks ago.
Maggie: And how did Heartland help you transition into continuing your higher education at Eureka?
Amanda: It was a wonderful supplement for me. It gave me the opportunity to fulfill all my goals, educationally, that I set out for myself. Whereas, I wanted to obtain two minors, I wanted to obtain two specializations; the marketing and the public relations in addition to just my business degree. So I had a very, very heavy course load. Cramming that all in in four years is a challenge for a lot of people, and it was for me. And then you also have the fact that I played softball, and I am in the Hall of Fame for Eureka College, I was in the theater program, so I was in all of the plays, and you just add all that to it and then the fact that I worked three jobs too. Something’s gotta give. The fact that Heartland made these classes available to me in the evenings and on the weekends; it fit my schedule and I was able to piecemeal courses together as I needed them which, I’m really grateful for. Go Heartland. Woohoo!