Jason Kiselbach, CBRE’s Managing Director for British Columbia, has received a coveted Forty under 40 award from Business in Vancouver.
Kiselbach joined CBRE Vancouver in 2008 as an intern shortly after graduating from Western University. Thirteen years later, he oversees more than 140 sales professionals and staff in the firm’s second-largest Canadian office.
As a young professional, Kiselbach knows the value of a good mentor. As a leader, he ensures that the next generation of brokers don’t go unnoticed. We spoke to him about his new accolade, the importance of young leadership, and how he’s bridging the gap between generations.
What does receiving the 40 Under 40 award mean to you?
It’s a huge honour. It was a personal goal that I set out for myself early in my career, so I’m grateful to have accomplished that. It’s also a compliment to CBRE as an organization, and to all the people who have given me opportunities and taken an interest in my career. I would not have had this success without all the amazing people who have helped me along the way.
What opportunities do you have as a young leader in the commercial real estate industry?
The commercial real estate business, and most businesses, are evolving rapidly as a result of things like changes to corporate strategic plans, ESG intiatives and new technologies. I think it’s important to bring new perspectives to decision making, and I also think it’s important for the next generation to see someone that they connect with in a leadership position.
Why do you think mentorship is important in this industry?
Mentorship is critical because there is so much to learn and really no playbook for this business. There are business schools that have come out with new real estate programs recently—and those are great—but once you get into the industry, there’s so much to learn. I think mentorship is really the only way to accelerate that journey.
What’s an important lesson that a mentor taught you that has helped guide your career?
I’d say the most important thing is that if you truly want to grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone. When you find early success, it’s easy to get complacent or take your foot off the gas, even a little bit. Someone told me that every time you have success, it’s great to reward yourself and take the time to celebrate, but you always have to keep a growth mindset. Find things that make you a bit nervous to take on, and really commit to doing them. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.
What example do you hope to set for young professionals?
Take ownership of your career. There are big opportunities in the commercial real estate industry, but no one will hand those to you. Also, the importance of being a well-rounded community member and business partner. Giving back professionally and in the community, and how that will elevate you in the long-run.
You oversee more than 140 sales professionals and staff in BC – how do you ensure that younger staff have a voice and are finding their footing?
I try, as much as possible, to check in with our staff and brokers. Understanding what they’re working on and ideally where we can help and support them. Also, ask them what trends they’re seeing in the market to identify those and hopefully find opportunities to help clients or support our professionals in growing their business. And finally, to ask the question, ‘Do you have the tools and resources you need? Are we providing what you need to continue to grow your career?’
What benefit do you think elevating young talent brings to the company? To clients?
Internally, for the company, it’s about showing a commitment to growing future talent. When people join an organization, they want to know that the company is committed to personal and professional growth. They want to feel like they fit and have a purpose.
For clients, it’s all about adding fresh perspectives and new ideas to the processes that we already have. That will translate to providing the highest level of service possible.
"It’s important for the next generation to see someone that they connect with in a leadership position."
Do you see yourself as a bridge between generations?
I’m in a unique position because I started at this company when I was 22 years old as a summer intern. I spent over a decade on the brokerage side of the business and I’ve worked with a lot of the senior brokers and real estate decision makers across B.C., and that’s helped me build trust and relationships with them.
I think that background helps me. I understand the history of our organization and the perspective of sales professionals at various stages of their careers.
What advice do you have for sales reps who are just beginning their commercial real estate careers?
Have a plan, stay focused, and have fun.