New generational talent that is leading our industry into the future.
Senior Manager Kitty Zhang uses her excellent communication and organisational skills to bridge the gap between industrial landlords and tenants. Known among her colleagues and fans as a woman of action, she has turned the border restrictions which kept her from dealing with her mainland clients into an opportunity to grow locally.
This year, Kitty became a member of Colliers’ Young Leaders Committee, a platform for young staff to generate innovative ideas for the company or industry’s development, and to offer general education that members would not otherwise acquire.
“We’ve really just started,” Kitty says. “Recently, we had a wine tasting workshop and hosted a session for the entire business with Food Angel, a charity that focusses on reducing food waste,” added Zhang. The YLC will also lead Colliers involvement in the Walk Up Jardine House charity walk. “One of the projects I am working on this year is enhancing Gen Z’s exposure to the company. Colliers is very popular among forward-thinking young people because we feel respected and included. Management wants us to share our insights, and they listen to our ideas.
Kitty’s hobby puts her in a great position to talk to her peers. She is an influencer on a social media platform in her spare time. “I’ve lived on the mainland, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and I share my interpretation of local culture, which seems quite popular. I talk about working and studying and daily life, and I like showing off beautiful scenery,” she says.
Finding opportunity in a crisis
At her job, Kitty provides a full range of property services around leasing and selling industrial property. “I bridge the gap between landlords and tenants. I set up new projects and help companies during relocations and lease renewals. My main focus was on mainland companies, but COVID-19 changed that.
In fact, the pandemic was something of an opportunity for me.
“In fact, the pandemic was something of an opportunity for me,” Kitty says with a laugh. “Previously, I worked with cross-boundary clients. So, the travel restrictions forced me to turn my attention to Hong Kong clients,” she added.
Although cross-boundary businesses make up the lion’s share of Kitty’s portfolio, demand from local firms was robust, and she added them to her portfolio. “Unlike other property sectors that the pandemic has negatively impacted, industrial saw increased demand for cold storage, e-commerce and mini storage space. And demand exceeds supply. So yes, I’m taking advantage of the pandemic rather than fighting it. You know, exploring opportunities in a crisis.”
Going the extra mile
While Kitty exudes confidence and expertise, not all cases are as easy as she makes them look. A few years ago, an e-commerce company wanted to set up in Hong Kong but had never done business here. Kitty had to act as its representative to landlords while educating the decision-makers as fast as possible and coming up with solutions to fit its business model. The business model involves a lot of face-to-face interaction with clients, so management thought that warehousing on the ground floor would be best.
Unfortunately, ground-floor warehousing is premium, so management looked for the opportunity of ramp access warehouse. Kitty had to go back to the drawing board and find a new list of possible landlords. Then the company decided that this scenario did not meet its operating requirement for privacy, so management finally settled on a mid-level space with cargo-lift access.
“It might seem like a lot of initial work,” says Kitty, “but getting the right deal for the client was the most important thing. When we found the perfect space, I ironed out the details with the landlord, and the client was thrilled.
Getting the right deal for the client was the most important thing.
Owning the Blue
“Colliers places great emphasis on client satisfaction. The extra work was worth it because when the client was ready to expand, they came straight back to me – twice.”
It’s clear Kitty thoroughly enjoys working at Colliers. She likes the diversity, openness and inclusivity among the staff. She finds the flatter hierarchy making it easy to collaborate with others and find the exact expertise she needs when clients want something outside her field. “Oh, wait, did I mention the office?” she adds, “It’s so welcoming and lively, with so much energy. It is a real boost to my mood.”
Among Colliers’ core values, she has adopted “Be experts to lead our industry into the future” as her personal motto. “It encourages me to set higher standards for myself to accelerate our client’s success,” she says. Judging by her track record, it seems to be working as she has seen collaborative success with Office Services and the sale of a whole floor, and two leasing deals that have just been completed in August and September.
Like everyone, Kitty has a dream career. “I want to be a painter who makes beautiful art,” she confesses. Then, she reflects. “Actually, you know, what I do at Colliers is along those lines. I am an artist. I create the blueprint for my clients’ success. I always think our company logo is like a big, blue canvas just waiting for me to make my mark. I own the blue.”
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