Millennials in the workplace: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read this? That they won’t stay there for too long? It’s only natural: young people tend to be bolder, more adventurous. But young people are ambitious, too. Their focus on “going from zero to hero” and building up their careers is perhaps stronger than anyone else’s. There are many ways in which they can develop professionally, and many choose to do so by sticking to one of their first – if not actually their first – employers. At Colliers, we’ve witnessed such accomplishments over the years. Most of our seniors joined the team when the real estate market was only budding, and our professionals grew together with it. Young professionals in a young market, it seemed only fitting. Today, however, is not about them. Even after the Romanian real estate market matured, we continued to attract young talents and established a tradition of nurturing their potential and guide it on the road from good to great.
Today, we take pride in our new generation of Young People in Real Estate.
Meet Silvia, our 31-year-old Senior Associate in the Real Estate Management department and one of the people that bring enthusiasm and happy vibes in our office.
Supportive, responsive and a good communicator, Silvia has gained the trust of the colleagues and collaborators she’s worked with during her almost 10 years in the team. She is quite a Colliers fan – with a clear goal in mind, Silvia joined the company during her last year in college and stayed here ever since:
I heard about Colliers from the professor who coordinated my bachelor’s thesis at Bucharest University of Economic Studies. I applied for the position of intern in the high-street retail department. During my third year of college I was involved in a POSDRU simulated enterprises project, where we simulated how a company run by us, a team composed of 4 colleagues, can grow and make profit based strictly on our economic decisions and calculations. During this project I really wanted to know how a company actually works, I was eager to learn a lot, to apply all that I have learned during the simulation project and to make a future for myself – this is the reason that later determined me to apply to the intern position.
We’ve seen different takes on the energy that the Colliers workplace awoke in those who first stepped inside the office: warmth, relaxation, hospitality. For Silvia, it was inspiration, motivation, willingness to do whatever it takes to grow, to develop both personally and professionally. And perhaps it wasn’t much about awakening, but more about a confirmation of what she already needed.
As I was waiting at the reception to be invited in the meeting room for my first interview – which was actually a GMAT test, I think I was really impressed about that corporate atmosphere in the office, with people walking around so confident in themselves, prepared to win all the pitches and make million dollar deals. And then I thought: I want to have that confidence, too. Well after I passed the GMAT test, I was invited to my first and last interview (because it was really only one interview). I talked with my future to be manager and I was pleasantly impressed by her kind and warm attitude (although I have to admit I expected to talk to someone tough, serious with many difficult questions at hand). The interview went very well, I wanted so much to learn and to have the possibility to help the company in everything that was needed that I think my motivation and openness to new things did the job – that is to convince my future manager that I deserve a chance.
Silvia’s adventure had a bit of a rough beginning and a big challenge could be seen at the horizon. Despite the initial ups and downs, an even bigger and continuous up was about to come. Silvia was courageous and persistent enough to place her trust in the Colliers team and, ultimately, her attitude won her biggest achievement so far.
I began as a high-street retail department intern up to what I am today, a Senior Associate in charge with Project Monitoring and Technical Due Diligence services within the Real Estate Management Services department. I believe my journey helped me a lot to become what I am today. After 3 months of internship I became assistant into the same department but, unfortunately, after another 3 months, the high-street retail department was forced to reduce its staff. At that moment I had to make a choice: either to leave the company or to accept the position of a Frontdesk receptionist. Eventually, I accepted the position of Frontdesk receptionist as I wanted to demonstrate that I can do so much more within the company, to grow, to come up with new ideas and to feel part of the big family. The Frontdesk receptionist position gave me the chance to really get to know my colleagues, the company’s departments, objectives, initiatives, real estate market, competition and so on. During my stay at the reception, I gained more courage and tried to figure out what’s the next level I can go to. Afterwards, I became assistant within the Property Management department, then Junior in the Building Surveying division – and I stayed there until today.
At a first glance, going from retail to the Frontdesk reception and then to a more technical field is not an easy task and even for the bold it can be a bit disheartening to make such sudden changes in a very short time span. Those who have gone through a similar process can relate, but they will also be the same ones to admit that looking back, this course of events was favorable to their current condition. Judging by her words, Silvia would agree. In her 10 years at Colliers, she was given the chance to grow in every way possible – and she took it, no questions asked.
My goal from the beginning was to be able to learn as much as I could to become a professional offering high quality service. I am so glad about the outcome as I appreciate every day my work, my colleagues, my clients, everything. My greatest challenges were the fact that I knew little about the services we offered, that I could not keep up with my colleagues. After some time has passed within this business, the following promotions felt rewarding and gave me the chance to show how much I learned and that I was ready to take high responsibilities. I think my perseverance to demonstrate and to do things at a very high level made me stay in Colliers. Moreover, what I like at Colliers the most is the ease with which we communicate with each other. Three things that I learned all this time would be to communicate with confidence, to establish very good client relationship, to be well organized. Now, I am less naïve, more mature, more confident, with more business know-how, just as friendly.
In both Colliers and real estate years, Silvia is 10 years old. She made her debut after some pretty fierce years for the industry and the economy, but she’s also been part of the evolution that happened afterwards – all of this makes the journey even more gripping and her training in the field the most reliable.
I think the real estate market is now more stable, more constant than it was 10 years ago. I feel it is more mature and that we all have learned important lessons from the past. However, we are still learning how to face new challenges, but I think now we adapt much easier, we are eager in trying new and innovative things and try to be one step ahead of the competition. With regards to real estate clients, I think they become more friendly, more open about their business needs, more interested in being aware about the latest industry news and trends.
A rich history like this confirms a successful present and foresees a bright future for Silvia. She is the kind of person that loves what she does, a person with a strong desire to do good for those around her. To put it shortly, the kind of person we’d like to have around in our team for a long, long time.
I love my job because it gives me the chance to help others make a difference in the real estate market, to see how projects are successfully completed, to be there from the first brick until the project’s inauguration. I really appreciate all my clients, although I think about them as being more like my collaborators or colleagues working together in fulfilling the same purpose. I think I still have many things to learn and to accomplish in the real estate industry and I am also looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
With so much experience to learn from and judging from all the appreciation she gets from her collaborators for a job well done, Silvia is a person to trust when giving advice about starting a career in real estate:
Let your actions speak more than your words. Have patience, be smart, be polite, learn a lot.
We’d add here “be just as friendly”, as Silvia never forgot herself and her goals along the way.
Inspired by her words, we’ll move on to our next young professional, Diana. Stay tuned for next week!