How long have you been working in Colliers? And in the real estate industry?
I joined Colliers in April 2001, so I have been working at Colliers for 20 years. Prior to joining Colliers, I worked at a building management company for an apartment for four years. So, in total, I have been in this industry for 24 years.
How did you get started in this industry? What was the path that led you to where you are today?
I joined the first company without any property knowledge at all, because my background was in Biology, from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (MIPA). I thought when I graduated I would become a researcher in LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences). I did apply to LIPI, and when I was accepted I was placed in Papua, but my parents didn’t want me to move that far away since I am from Medan and I had already moved to Ambon for my bachelor’s degree. I decided to find another job even if it did not suit my education background.
I was accepted at a building management company managing an apartment in BSD for my first job. The company was taken over by KOLL Ipac, and the former REMS’ head of department asked me if I was interested in joining the company. I took up the offer and to this day I can say that I enjoy working in this industry, especially the building management sector. I started my career as an estate manager 20 years ago, and now I am a senior building manager.
What do you like about the industry?
What I like most about this industry is that I have learned a lot of things, especially related to buildings, that I could not have even imagined back then. At first, I had no idea about engineering. I also didn’t know much about finance, housekeeping, tenant relations, etc., and these are areas with which I am now really familiar. I also learned a lot about building types, such as malls, offices, retail and residential, and the differences in managing each type, depending on their characteristics.
Who inspires you?
I was really inspired by the former REMS HOD that I mentioned before. He introduced me to building management, and gave me a lot of first-hand knowledge about property at the beginning of my career. Another former REMS HOD also really inspired me to learn more about the property industry. He educated his team on how to professionally manage buildings, and what we should do to gain a client’s trust in our services as a building manager.
What has your greatest achievement been to date?
I have worked on a lot of different sites through these years. A couple years ago I was appointed to handle an office building project near Kuningan Area. We were appointed as the building management team when the project was in the finishing phase. The owner appointed us because of the stressful situation in needing to bring the building into operation as soon as possible. Long story short, we managed to handle their operational and building management, so they could start they operation in time, and even after one to two years the building gets awards as the best bank in Jakarta, in terms of cleanliness. The owner really appreciated our services, and my team and I were really proud of that achievement.
Another achievement while working here was when I was appointed to manage an office-residence in Surabaya. When we took over the project, the building was not in the best state due to some financial deficits. We fixed some systems, saving costs on electricity, water, and all aspects. After almost two years, we managed to solve all the problems, and turned the deficit into a surplus. The owner was quite happy with our services, and our contract was renewed. In total, I worked for the property for six years until I finally needed to move back to Jakarta, with my REMS colleague replacing me in managing the property. That was two projects that I can say I was quite proud of.
What advice would you give to someone starting and considering a role like yours?
From my own experience, since the beginning of my career until now, the most important advice that I can give is that we need to always be ready physically and mentally for every challenge that we might face. Once we are managing a property, we need to handle everything related to the property. For example, I am mostly appointed to manage apartments, and I often handle difficult problems, such as fighting, drug cases and homicide, and they require us to stand by on site until the problems are solved.
It is also time and mind consuming. I spent most of my days at the office, from the morning until night, so I have quite a short time to spend with my family, and to be honest it’s really hard, especially for a woman, considering I have a child.
We need to also try to understand a lot of different individuals. Every single day, we face a lot of different tenants with different characteristics. If the property has 1,000 units, it means we also need to face 1,000 individuals, plus their guests, drivers, helpers, etc. So we need to easily adapt to them. Based on my experience of more than 20 years, you will learn a lot of things needed for your career.
If you were not working in this industry, what do you think you would be?
As I mentioned before, because my background was from MIPA, I think if I didn’t have a career in the property industry, I would still be a researcher.
What do you do when you're not at work?
I spend almost all my weekdays and even some Saturdays at the office. So, at the weekend I usually spend my time with my family, where we usually eat out, go to Bandung, or anywhere near, etc. But these days, we usually spend time at home, and I’ve taken up gardening as a new hobby, which is kind of a trend right now.
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