Lindan Gill, Sr. Portfolio Manager, Real Estate Investments, Canada Post Pension Fund
What career direction might you have gone before you decided on a Real Estate Career?
Before real estate I worked for a company called IMG, founded by the sports marketing legend Mark McCormack. For me, this company was the perfect combination of my two passions, sports and business.
The company represented professional and amateur athletes like Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Serena Williams and Brian Stemmle. They created sporting events which showcased their athletes, selling sponsorships and packaging everything for television.
What got you first interested in pursuing a Real Estate Career?
IMG was an exciting and rewarding experience but I wanted to do something more analytical. So I tried the equities market, reading annual reports and researching public companies. I found this to be intellectually stimulating but too solitary or sterile of an environment for me. Most people kept their heads buried in research reports.
Real Estate for me is a complex industry, offering a combination of analytic rigor, social dynamics, political involvement and a creative mind set, complementary skills rarely found in unison in other industries. Real estate is a multi-faceted, exciting and rewarding business.
How did you find your first job in Real Estate?
My first job was with Cadillac Fairview and I replied to an ad I saw on Monster.ca, the job site. I went through four interviews and two tests and was successful. I worked for a terrific boss who taught me the building blocks and keys to real estate valuation and strategy.
I encourage people to network and take meetings but you still have to preform and come prepared to interviews and the job.
What networking opportunities have you found most valuable in becoming a real estate leader?
Industry associations and events are good opportunities to learn about the market, the business and discuss items of the day with colleagues. There are many different events tailored to different age groups, experience levels and asset class concentration.
What career advice would you have given yourself when you started your first real estate job?
I would encourage individuals new to the industry to work for a large company with a good reputation. There I’d suggest taking some time to really understand all elements of the real estate business and identify the areas which are most attractive to them. Then, armed with this knowledge, individuals can plot out a path to the future job they want. This would include gaining an understanding of what skills, education and capabilities are necessary to be successful in obtaining the future position.