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 Smaranda, our 30-year-old Property Manager, the youngest talent in the Property Management team at Colliers and one of the best examples of followed and fulfilled ambition we have in our company.
As a former psychology student, she faced a few ups and downs before getting the title she wanted, but her goal was clearly set before she even thought of joining Colliers:
At first, I came to Colliers as Ilinca Paun’s Assistant, a position I held for three months, until she left the company. Almost four years after that moment, I am a Property Manager in the Real Estate Management Services Department, managing four office buildings in Bucharest. I came here with the clear goal of learning how to be a Property Manager and Colliers’ team and spirit did just that: they listened to my request, assessed my abilities, and nurtured my strong points. For a psychology student, learning how to be a Property Manager isn’t an easy road or one on which companies would take a risk, but I am very pleased that they did and grateful for what I ended up doing.
All roads lead to Colliers. At least that’s how it feels like, reading Smaranda’s thoughts. It comes as no surprise: Colliers has had a rich history in the Romanian real estate market, creating, throughout the years, a well-defined network of respected professionals working in the industry.
Previously to Colliers, I worked as an Administrative Officer for West Gate Park, also in Bucharest. It was my first contact with the real estate world and, although I didn’t know much about it, I found it very vast and interesting, with so many personal and professional skills to develop. After leaving West Gate, I stayed in contact with a former colleague, Ciprian, who already was at Colliers and who talked about it like it was the greatest job he ever had. That sparked my interest and when the position of Personal Assistant to Ilinca Paun, Colliers Romania’s CEO back then, was available, I knew I had to give it a try.
With a budding passion for real estate, Smaranda tried her luck with us. It would be safe to assume that a first contact with the Colliers office and team proved her that this would be a perfect match between what she wanted and what Colliers offered.
From the receptionist’s smile at the entrance of the office to the coffee me and Ilinca had in the office kitchen, I had a positive vibe and, although prior to the interview I wasn’t 100% sure about wanting to take the job, I found myself beginning to hope that I get it. What really convinced me to take the job was the interview I had with HR manager, Catalina Ilie, who made it clear to me from the very beginning that Colliers is the place where people at the start of their career can learn and develop into great professionals. She even asked what I would see myself doing, in Colliers, after the position I was being interviewed for. After that, two talks with Ilinca sealed the deal for me, making me sure that within Colliers I would find all the tools and experience needed for me to learn the business.
A lack of financial, economic, business or even specialized real estate background, as far as higher education is concerned, can be daunting for someone pursuing a career in this industry. For Smaranda, a transition from the humanistic area to a technical field seemed even more discouraging. She later discovered what we all discover, at some point in our lives: that you learn (better) by doing.
The greatest challenge for me at the very beginning was learning the technical skills required to manage office buildings. But through the trainings provided in-house and the collective knowledge and experience found within our team of Senior Property Managers and engineers, my greatest challenge and fear become a constant learning point. The lack of experience in the business with which I came four years ago made me frequently doubt myself and stopped me seeing my strong points. Now, after many experiences, a lot of mentoring provided by our managers, a lot of trainings, both on soft and technical skills, I can honestly say I am a much more determined and confident person, at work and at home.
Few people love what they do and even fewer do what they love. In Smaranda’s case, she does both. Her dream has become reality, her determination, a constant. She’s not the type to just go with it, she’s the kind of person with a strategy. Smaranda is aware that there’s still so much to learn, and Colliers is the best place for this.
I came for the people and the learning opportunities within Colliers, and staying for the same reasons, plus the spirit I found here, of friendship, family and general wellbeing which every individual supports and contributes to, beginning from top to bottom. The most difficult and the most rewarding part of my job, at the same time, is finding solutions to every problem that appears, while trying to take into account multiple perspectives. The real estate business is constantly evolving, with new technologies rising every day, new business models developing constantly, things that for a young millennial are crucial to maintain to give him a sense of purpose at the job. I see myself thriving in this industry for many years from now on, maybe even doing the same job. Four years into this business I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface with my knowledge of the industry, and hopefully, the market will keep evolving in the same rhythm, providing me with enough opportunities to grow.
Smaranda has a particular career experience. The way she fought with and for herself, pushing her limits every step of the way, is certainly an adventure we can all learn from. In the end, what really matters is to be sure of what you want and take advantage of every opportunity that helps you pursue your goal. Her words of advice are encouraging in this sense:
Take into consideration a career in real estate, even though your professional background doesn’t prepare you for this world. As long as there are companies such as Colliers which look at the individual when developing a business and builds on their strong points, the real estate business is definitely a market to think of growing a career in it.
We are curious to see what Smaranda’s next step in the real estate market will be. Wherever that step may take her, we will be there to support and advise her even further.
We’ll let one week for this story to sink in, and then it will be Roxana’s turn to share her own experience. Stay tuned!