Vanessa Grout, 39, is a Miami native who runs CMC Real Estate. She could also represent you in court, remodel your home and wakeboard in circles around you. Grout sat down with INDULGE for a Q&A about her life, her job and the city she loves.
Vanessa Grout is a third-generation Miamian deeply rooted in the city’s cultural fabric. She is president of CMC Real Estate, the sales and marketing arm of Ugo Colombo’s CMC Group. She grew up in Miami and stayed put to study liberal arts at the University of Miami and later went on to obtain a juris doctor from St. Thomas University.
As a clerk at a criminal defense firm in the city, Grout longed to be part of the rapidly changing Miami skyline. She shifted her sights to a firm that specialized in transactional real estate, but even that didn’t quench her thirst. She then went to work at New Valley, the real estate investment arm of Vector Group, while earning her MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business. Soon after, New Valley promoted Grout to CEO of the Douglas Elliman enterprise in Florida.
At just 32 years old, she became a powerful force in the Magic City’s booming real estate. After successfully restructuring the company, managing millions of dollars in revenue and nabbing a slew of awards — Urban Land Institute’s 2013 Young Leader of the Year, 40 Under 40 by the South Florida Business Journal, to name two — Grout joined CMC Real Estate. She currently spearheads sales for Brickell Flatiron while also redesigning her new home, a 1930s bungalow in Miami Beach.
Braving the Heat
“Summer in Miami gets a bad rap, but I think it’s beautiful — everything feels so tropical. Plus, you don’t need reservations to dine anywhere in the city — you just have to wear the right clothing!”
“I love exploring local art galleries and studios. Miami has a really cool emerging art scene, and I like that there’s an opportunity to actually visit the artists and understand what inspires them. Some of my recent acquisitions include Firelei Baez, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Carolina Sardi and Brookhart Jonquil.”
Riding the Wave
“My after-school activities growing up included wakeboarding. It’s like riding a bike to me. I recently got a new wakeboard, so I’ve been practicing behind my house in Biscayne Bay, especially early in the morning. It’s my favorite time of day to go.”
Best Piece of Advice Ever Received
“Don’t spread yourself thin. You can let people down by taking on too much.”
Point of View
“CMC excels in attention to detail and providing a quality product. We focus on what it would feel like from a resident’s perspective to live in the space and how the spaces feel.”
“I have been successful in a business that allows me to be creative and work with a great group of people. We’re building what’s changing the Miami skyline.”
What They Don’t Know
“People don’t realize how handy I am. I’ve been renovating my house, and my friends are amazed by how much I’ve done myself: all the lighting design and landscaping, and I did the general contractor work. But I certainly had a lot of help.”
A First Time for Everything
“I did an assisted headstand in yoga class the other day — that was amazing!”
Most Treasured Possession
“I actually hate having ‘stuff.’ I didn’t even have silverware until I moved into my new home. But one thing I have moved with me since I was 5 years old is this Steinway grand piano, even when I lived in places that could only fit the piano. I don’t practice enough, but when I do I find it to be so meditative and enjoyable.”
“Never stop trying. Life throws you curveballs, and you have to stay the course. There are ups and downs in business and in life. When you’re experiencing the down moments, they feel like they last a long time, but it’s important to push through and not quit. When you push through and persevere, you thank yourself later for that effort.”