Who's Who of Professional Women


Millie Ruiz-Wagner

A recipient of sales awards and featured in Top Agent Magazine, Millie Ruiz-Wagner is a respected mortgage advisor at Preferred Rate – Partnered with APM in Illinois. Joining the firm as an established expert in 2020, she educates and coaches a largely Hispanic clientele, including younger generations, on financial literacy and improving credit scores, works with first-time home buyers and realtors, and, as an in-house lender, keeps agents informed about new products. Having always possessed a passion for sales and working with people, caring about every client’s situation is at the forefront of Ruiz-Wagner’s work, custom tailoring services to individuals’ needs.

Ms. Ruiz-Wagner also often works with veterans, for whom she has a personal affinity, as military service runs in her family. Her husband was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, her son serves in the United States Navy, and one of her seven older brothers is in the United States Army. Ms. Ruiz-Wagner recalls a memorable moment while conducting business when a veteran expressed interest in making a purchase yet put it off for years. Eventually, he returned to Ms. Ruiz-Wagner, completed the transaction, and on the day of closing, presented her with a gift and sent a beautiful thank-you note. Even more than a decade later, the veteran and his family remain grateful to Ms. Ruiz-Wagner and have not forgotten her kindness. Another standout memory was when she met a homeless veteran trying to financially restart his life after serving in Iraq, and on Christmas, she surprised him with a monetary gift. Additionally, she sent care packages to enlisted persons serving in Iraq.

Ms. Ruiz-Wagner believes that her achievements stem from knowing how to connect with people by steadily building relationships, accurately advising consumers, empathizing with their desires and needs, and showing that she cares about people in general. She prioritizes doing the right thing over chasing money and knows that good deeds will be rewarded with referrals and continued success in her business. Her simple yet powerful motto is, ” Treat people how you want to be treated.” She also thanks her “outstanding” manager, Nick Castaldo, whom she says backs her up with marketing to help her more effectively move work forward and develop necessary relationships. Most notably, facing and overcoming personal challenges early on ultimately contributed to Ms. Ruiz-Wagner’s accomplishments after losing her husband and everything she owned while raising her son and daughter alone. She is thankful for the support of her family during those tough experiences, which she says made her stronger and more determined to ensure her children would become productive and self-sufficient. Today, as part of that legacy, she loves to visit her five grandchildren.

Starting out, Ms. Ruiz-Wagner completed coursework at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, and launched her career as a sales representative at Home Run Inn Pizza from 1990 to 1997 before becoming an account manager at Vitner’s Snack Co., from 1997 to 2000. From there, she worked at Peoples Home Equity in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, where she was a loan officer for five years. Later, after the mortgage industry recovered from the financial industry collapse of 2008, she joined Peoples Home Equity in Oak Brook, Illinois, as a mortgage consultant in 2012 and stayed until 2018, when she became a mortgage adviser for two years at nearby Parkside Lending.

Peering into the future, Ms. Ruiz-Wagner expects to continue excelling professionally while helping others. She strongly believes in education and contributing to society. Whenever she retires, she plans to resume her past involvement in photography. Further, she hopes to spend more time volunteering with organizations dedicated to helping veterans, people who are homeless, and young women who need mentors. Moreover, she is working on a proposal to buy and renovate abandoned buildings to eliminate homelessness and reduce crime in her community. Aside from working and volunteering, Ms. Ruiz-Wagner enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, traveling, dancing, and trying her hand at gourmet cooking.


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