A Tale of Dish Clearing to Director Real Estate Development

My first job out of University, was not at a large bank or consulting firm as I had hoped.  I landed a position working in a luxury hotel, where one of my many duties included clearing dishes from a VIP Executive lounge.  The irony of clearing tables was not lost on me or my family, as I moved back to my parent's basement. I had worked in a restaurant in high school clearing tables.  Graduating four years later, countless hours of study, bulging student debt, and with my newly minted Bachelor of Commerce degree,.... I was again clearing tables.  However, I am grateful for the lessons from my first years working in a hotel because they were critical to me choosing a commercial real estate development career path and were key to my future career progression to Director at a top development firm.  

 Back in 2007, Looking forward to new challenging real estate role!

Back in 2007, Looking forward to new challenging real estate role!

Working in an executive lounge, provided me a window to observe the lifestyles of our country’s various elite and see how they managed their careers.   When I saw the long term wealth and the tangible impact real estate developers had on creating change, I was no longer drawn to investment banking or any career involving dancing to the rhythm of a stock ticker.  However, it was difficult to find training to gain expertise in this field.  In fact, I spent nearly all of my twenties, without vacation, charging in many different directions, working towards designations, taking exams, and paying for seminars.  I was always pursuing some kind of continuing education, from consulting, to financial modelling, to business writing.  I have drawn upon that wide variety of knowledge and experience, which I utilized in designing courses for Beyond Proformas.  This will help others fast track and save time and effort in reaching their real estate career goals, so they can stand out in today’s competitive environment.  Teaching these courses has given me the opportunity to answer your questions with real world examples that cannot be found in any textbook.    

In my second job as a management consultant, I came into much closer contact with this tribe of entrepreneurs called Real Estate Developers.  They fought incredible adversity to create wealth, jobs, and lasting change in communities.  I know this tribe doesn't always enjoy the best reputation, but just like any other profession, a few bad apples can taint the incredible work of many.  The more I watched the accomplishments of these developers, the more I wanted to find out how they created such long term positive change.  It is hard to talk seriously about community development, without appreciating the role of developers in the community.

Andrew Garrett, Founder of Beyond Proformas

Andrew Garrett is a commercial real estate executive with one of the most successful real estate firms in North America, which is backed by one of the World's Top pension plans.  He is one of the few professionals in North America who has expertise in Office, Retail, & Hotel assets, combined with recent development experience in $4B worth of development opportunities.  Landmark real estate developments he has worked on include Nordstrom's entry into Western Canada, RBC Centre & Ritz Carlton Toronto, and Quad Windsor in Montreal.

As a hiring manager, he has screened, recruited, and mentored real estate professionals who have been promoted to management positions in Top commercial real estate firms including Bentall Kennedy, CBRE, Cadillac Fairview, InnVest REIT, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Oxford Properties.  As a Real Estate Executive, Andrew has overseen evaluation of over $8B in commercial real estate opportunities across Canada, on behalf of owners, developers, lenders, and pension funds.  He has a Global Executive MBA from Kellogg-Schulich.  He is an ICSC presenter and national conference planning committee member.  Andrew served as a Board Director of Delisle Youth Services for four years.

Professional Development Advisor

Belinda Longe is a Professional Development expert and PhD candidate with over two decades experience in school administration and teacher education.  She has developed and led workshops for teachers and administrators across Canada and internationally. She has also presented an international conferences in Canada, the United States, England. Belinda specializes in curriculum development, leadership development, conflict resolution, public speaking and presentation skills.  She has a Masters in Education from OISE/University of Toronto.  She was a Board Director of the Daily Bread Food Bank for eight years.