What career direction might you have gone before you decided on a Real Estate Career?
For me, I picked my career specialization first, which was Hospitality. I had a strong passion for the hotel industry and completed my degree at Ryerson University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. My interests also included law and business, so when an opportunity came up to work in hotel real estate, I felt the stars had aligned. If I wasn’t in real estate, I think I would have chosen development, asset management or a related field.
What got you first interested in pursuing a Real Estate Career?
My father was a real estate lawyer, so I grew up learning the legal side of the business as I was working in his office at a young age. In school, I always gravitated towards the courses that specialized in feasibility, market analysis and finance, all of which are skills that are beneficial for a career in real estate. I enjoyed learning about the different influences that affect the valuation of a property and what various investor expectations were when conducting a return analysis.
How did you find your first job in Real Estate?
I got my first job in real estate through a professor at Ryerson. I was being interviewed for an exchange program in New Zealand and before the interview had started, he told me about a part-time job opportunity that opened up, which was at a hotel estate real company. Long story short, 10 years later I am still with the same company! I’m very grateful for that introduction because I work with an incredible team and Colliers International is a company that has allowed me to grow over the years into various roles and positions.
What networking opportunities have you found most valuable in becoming a real estate leader?
I think a lot of us underestimate the importance of networking. Early in my career, it was as simple as creating a small list of industry experts and taking them out for coffee or lunch every 6-12 months in order to get career advice, improve my confidence and gain industry knowledge. One-on-one networking is extremely valuable, but also pairing that with industry conferences and social events is a great way to meet new people and expand your network.
What continuing education opportunities have you found most valuable in becoming a real estate leader?
Once I changed my role at Colliers International Hotels to a more transaction/due diligence/sales focus, I found it very valuable to take courses to accelerate my career. I completed the Advanced Certification in Hotel Real Estate and Hotel Investments at Cornell University in 2010, and also took mortgage courses through CAMP. I think it’s important to properly assess which continuing education courses would apply best for the individual depending on goals and interests so that you can maximize the benefits. Also it’s great to speak to the company you work for as they often have great options that are specialized to real estate. For instance, Colliers created “Colliers University” which provides several training sessions, courses, and resources which you can participate in for professional development. I’ve also taken public speaking courses which really helped me in my presentation skills – after all, public speaking is still the number 1 fear for most people!
What work experiences have you found most valuable in becoming a real estate leader?
For me, what was valuable was working in many different roles throughout my career. In order to be a sales agent today, it was critical for me to have worked as a financial and research analyst, transaction manager and due diligence specialist in order to understand how buyers look at assets and be able to properly articulate value and assist them in their underwriting. Having a strong foundation in various roles within the real estate field is critical for success in my opinion. But most importantly, it’s about having an amazing team with different strengths in order to provide great service to clients. Our team has a lot of fun together and we support each other on each and every file, which is so important given how much of our lives are spent at work.