Twenty-three-year-old Shanice Ebanks, a real estate sales assistant with Provenance Properties, has been described by her colleagues as “tenacious.” When I met her for coffee one Saturday morning in October, that much was apparent.
Shanice was dressed for work, in a smart white blazer befitting Provenance Properties’ luxuriousness, and she greeted me enthusiastically, as though we were already acquainted. As her café mocha steamed on the table between us, we spoke at length about her achievements, sacrifices and goals and her vision for a flexible and rewarding career.
Born and raised on Grand Cayman, Shanice completed her associates degree locally while working full-time at HSBC. When the bank closed its doors in the Cayman Islands in 2014, she was directly scouted by Michael Treacy to join his then-young team at Avata Property Services as a property manager. During her time at Avata, she was encouraged to pursue her real estate licence, and though she’d never considered it previously, a career that offered autonomy was alluring.
“I love to be flexible and work on my own time,” she says. “That’s what intrigued me about real estate — you’re basically running your own show … you have a say in your income.”
In 2016 after a year at Avata, Shanice relocated to a different brokerage and completed her real estate licence.
“My first real estate job was at a brokerage where you’re your own contractor,” she says. “You pay your own fees, you work from home, you’re in charge of everything you do. I had to learn things the hard way. I would cold-call private sellers who had listed online — it was pretty hard. I started to do some rentals as well. I sold one property as a co-broke, funnily enough, with Fleur (Coleman) who I work with now — she was at RE/MAX at the time.”
As she began to build a professional name for herself at the age of 21, Shanice decided that it was time to earn her bachelor’s degree and enrolled at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida.
Her career at Provenance Properties started with an internship in the summer of 2018. She impressed her employer so much, she was offered a full-time position. Since September, Shanice has been travelling between Florida and Grand Cayman, departing on Monday mornings to attend classes before returning Tuesday evenings to work full-time from Wednesday
It’s easy to understand why Provenance Properties was willing to take the risk and generously cover her travel expenses — she speaks with remarkable self-assurance, and strikes me as having the resoluteness to accomplish anything she is inclined to do.
Describing her ultimate career goal, Shanice expresses the desire to emulate Ruth Gustafsson, Provenance’s dynamo sales executive.
“I love, love, love Ruth,” she says. “I’m so happy that I was placed under her because I look up to her and I’m learning a lot from her. I also love how personable she is — she can sit down and have a conversation with anyone, about anything. I’d love to be able to do that.”
In order to one day attain Ruth’s level of success, Shanice recognises that sacrifice is an inevitability. “People don’t realise how hectic my schedule is,” she says. “I really don’t have any days off. With traffic, I don’t get home until about 6:30 in the evenings and then I have to study. School can be a struggle, but it’s what I wanted, so I’m making it work.”
To centre herself during moments of academic and professional pressure, or the stress of frequent travel, she releases tension through early morning jogs on the beach, or leans on her spirituality.
“God has opened so many doors for me,” she says. “I’m very blessed.”
At her current pace, she will graduate after two more semesters, and will be the first in her family to do so. Eventually, she hopes to own property in the U.S., but has no intention of leaving the Cayman Islands permanently.
“This is home,” she says, “I’d love to have a place in the States that I can visit occasionally, but Cayman is home.”
It’s strange to think that this burgeoning real estate powerhouse almost pursued make-up artistry and a YouTube career.
“I love fashion and beauty,” she says. “I went to a seven-day course in New York with Priscilla Ono (celebrity makeup artist for Rihanna and Gabrielle Union, among others) and to a course in Houston with Kim Kardashian’s make-up artist, Mario. But, it was just a phase.”
What is evident, is Shanice’s drive for constant reinvention and innovation, and her deep need for the freedom to make her own rules. It’s a lifestyle that many strive for and impressively, at her young age, she’s making it happen.