How long have you been in the real estate industry and how did you come to join Colliers?
It has been 15 years! Previously based in London and covering EMEA and the Caribbean, I was with BDO/PKF, the accounting firm, within their Management Consulting team for almost 12 years. I was a real estate consulting and valuation specialist with specific focus on hotels and leisure. It was through this expertise that I first started working in Asia. Needless to say, I met a man in a bar, and before you know it, I was in Singapore, heading up the Asia hospitality and leisure business for Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).
Following the merger of C&W and DTZ, I was approached by Colliers to head up their new venture in growing their presence across Asia in the Hospitality sector. Seizing the moment, I leapt at the opportunity, knowing that I would have the support from the leadership to really build a successful business. Ironically, I had initially turned down an offer from Colliers for C&W as it came too late; but as the saying goes, you always end up where you are meant to be!
In your view, what are some key trends that will shape the hospitality and leisure real estate market?
Hospitality, and indeed leisure, has been with us perhaps since the time of modern man if not before. It has and continues to evolve as we do. From the advent of low-cost airlines to the impact technology has had on the industry, to the way a guest experiences a property, the way hotels operate have shifted significantly, particularly over the last decade. Moving forward, we can expect greater integration of tech and the ‘personal touch’ to enhance the guest experience and improve operational efficiency. Leisure (holidays) have become a must-have part of our lives, and hotels will continue to be an integral part of the leisure segment.
What do you think are the three most important attributes of a good real estate professional?
A good real estate professional must first-of-all be skilled. Other important attributes would be objectivity, honesty, and creativity.
What is your management style?
This has been an evolution and continues to evolve. There is no ‘one’ management style for everyone and each individual/team will require a different approach – something I have learned over time! Having said that, I firmly believe - as a leader – that it should be: do as I do, not as I say. Leading by example speaks volume.
What is the best career advice you have received and tell us how that has helped you?
Look, listen, learn, and be measured – I’ve been lucky to have a few good (and the odd not so good) bosses whose leadership style has been to nurture and mentor staff.
I remember being told, being smart is not all, it is good to slow down and get it right the first time than to rush and make mistakes. It is a lesson I have learnt in life which has paid dividends. By way of example, I have seen many an expert’s reports, which were great in the analysis but poorly presented, struck out, much to the chagrin and cost to their clients. Slow and steady wins the race sometimes.