By Brian Biggane
Degrees in sculpture and economics don’t typically point one to a career in real estate, but that’s where Candace Friis has found her niche for the past 25 years.
“It’s an interesting tale how I got to that,” said Friis, whose work for The Corcoran Group has earned a top Realtor ranking in beach waterfront property by sales volume from both The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends.
“After college, I went to Denmark and then met my husband, Nils, who’s Danish, back in West Virginia (where she grew up),” the Gulf Stream resident, who chose not to share her age, said. “He was very esoteric, with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering.
“My plan was to go back and get a degree in architecture, but he said, ‘Don’t do that, go back and get something more solid,’ and he suggested economics. I wouldn’t have planned it, but as it turned out both disciplines worked out for me.”
Their travels ultimately brought them to South Florida, and having done some interior design work in New York City, Friis said she was “attracted to spaces” and decided real estate could “be a great avenue for me.”
“I loved working with people, and I loved the interior spaces, and ultimately I wound up going back to the architecture I never did pursue. I wouldn’t have planned it, but it worked out great.”
Q: Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A: I grew up near Charleston, West Virginia, where my parents owned an historic inn.
Growing up, I was constantly meeting new people and helping out where needed. This “pitch in and help get the job done” attitude was instilled in me as a child. After high school, I attended Goddard College in Vermont and graduated with a BFA in fine art specializing in sculpture. Then, after graduation, I traveled throughout Europe and studied sculpture in Sweden at the renowned Swedish glass factory Orrefors. I fell in love with everything Scandinavian and enrolled in school in Copenhagen, where I studied and became fluent in the Danish language.
When I returned to the USA, I attended Lehigh University and earned a B.S. in economics. I am fortunate to have a background in both the arts and economics, because both have contributed greatly to the success in my real estate career as well as the other business that my family has developed, Essio Shower, a company which produces a shower device that allows one to take an aromatherapy shower with essential oils.
My background has definitely provided me with an ability to understand people’s needs and to relate to the use of space in our everyday lifestyles. My background in fine arts, specifically sculpture, has provided me with the ability to be instrumental in the design of our products at Essio and the marketing of the products.
Q: What professions have you worked in? What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: I have worked and specialized in luxury real estate for the past 25 years and am proud to have been recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top 100 real estate professionals in the USA. Further, I consistently achieve the honor of being placed in my firm’s elite Presidents Council, which is comprised of the top 30 producers nationally. I am also on the board of directors for our shower company, Essio Shower.
Q: What advice do you have for a young person seeking a career today?
A: Work from your passion. Without passion and a love for what you do, you will never have success. Be willing to work hard and never give up.
Q: How did you choose to make your home in Gulf Stream?
A: When we relocated from New York to Florida, we had three small children. The proximity to the Gulf Stream School was really important as it gave us more flexibility with work.
Q: What is your favorite part about living in Gulf Stream?
A: The sense of community and the sense of safety that a small town provides. I believe this feeling of community builds confidence in small children. The beach access and laid-back lifestyle are both awesome and a big wow for me.
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles. It is a book about Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who was placed under house arrest in 1922 when the Bolsheviks spared him from death because of the 1913 revolutionary poem he wrote while he was still in university.
Q: What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A: When I need inspiration, I like to listen to Adele. Her voice is full of soul, and the fact that she writes most of her own lyrics makes her music more inspirational to me. When I want to relax, I am fortunate enough to live near the ocean, and the sound of the ocean is the most soothing sound I know. It is great to hear it at night.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions?
A: “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” — Maya Angelou
Q: Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A: I am inspired by innovators and people who pursue ideas that go beyond existing constraints and create novel solutions born from their own sheer creativity. I am totally inspired by Elon Musk and his ability to view the world through an open lens. My father was definitely an inspiration. He was kind and smart and he let me know he believed a girl could do anything a boy could do and without a shadow of a doubt. He continually believed in me.
Q: If a movie were made of your life, whom would you like to play you?
A: Annette Bening, because she is charismatic, funny, intelligent and sensitive, making her very relatable. But she has a strong presence and is capable of carrying a leading role. She seems like a multifaceted and interesting individual, thus choosing the same in characters/roles.