Nurturing talent to shape the future of real estate. Experts choose experts like Kanchana.
Kanchana is a highly seasoned real estate professional and one of the senior-most industry leaders in Chennai. Kanchana has close to two decades of experience in the commercial real estate industry in Chennai.
How did you get into the real estate industry?
As cliché as it may sound, real estate happened by accident. I honestly never knew such a profession existed. I held a Master's degree in Human Resource (HR) management and was looking for an HR opening. I got an opportunity to meet an HR head of a prominent Indian conglomerate, and she interviewed me but said there were no immediate openings. However, after our interactions, she believed that I would suit a sales role better. She didn't stop with that; she referred me to her friend in a company named Chesterton Meghraj and suggested I explore the opportunity. There was no turning back after that. That's how real estate happened, and I have never regretted my decision even for day.
What drives you to achieve professional success?
Simple – I love what I do and am passionate about it. I realized my biggest strength was being able to connect with people instantly and hence decided to work on it. I am a big fan of this quote by Steve Jobs, and I remain true to it constantly.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."
What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your role?
If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for only money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood and sweat. One should remember that organisations and their success are built on their people. I firmly believe it's important to nurture talent, keep them engaged and motivated and create a sense of belonging.
Cultivating and nurturing talent is very rewarding; the fact is that we don't need to carve a career path for them if we can invest in nurturing their talent. As a leader, it is all about driving a sense of purpose into individuals you hold responsibility for, appreciating their aspirations, and helping them achieve them. I find these aspects of my career very fulfilling.
In addition, I find the long-term relationships I have established with key industry stakeholders and my role in their decision-making very rewarding. Over the years, I have also invested in cultivating these relationships to achieve my business goals.
What is your advice to people starting out in the industry?
My top 5 mantras that have helped me through my journey of 19 years are:
- Attitude is everything in life.
- It is ok not to have answers for everything. All of us will evolve eventually.
- Failure is a part of our life, don't get worked up. Failure makes you stronger!
- Patience and perseverance are critical to success; do not look for instant gratification.
Constant upskilling is essential to stay relevant irrespective of whichever industry you are in.
"Knowledge is power." Constantly cultivate this as a life skill because learning never stops.
The world is evolving at a rapid pace, and there are a plethora of opportunities for women team members and leaders. I am lucky to be part of an organisation like Colliers that values diversity and encourages varied opinions. These are critical for the growth of any professional to make a mark in the industry.
You are in a male-dominated industry, and how are you driving your business as a women leader? Any advice for young women professionals looking at the real estate industry as a career?
Do not try to work like a man. Women are fundamentally wired differently from men in their thought processes, and we possess many innate skills. I feel women are naturally empathetic and have great emotional intelligence. These qualities bring a different perspective and, in effect, can bolster the performance of an organization. My only advice to aspiring women leaders would be to create a healthy support system around them that can empower them to make career decisions. Continue to be bold, and don't shy away from asking what you need.