Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Fresh Perspectives: CBRE’s Emerging Leaders

December 6, 2022 4 Minute Read

Ryan O'shaunghnessy

Ryan O’Shaughnessy took an unconventional road to commercial real estate.

Having worked in Edmonton’s service industry for nearly a decade – as a pizzeria part-owner and a salesman – his unique insight into the needs of business owners now helps him advise commercial tenants on finding the right spaces for them.

We spoke to O’Shaughnessy about how he broke into the industry, his first deal, and his love for Edmonton’s entrepreneurial spirit.

What inspires you about commercial real estate right now?

There are so many exciting things going on in Edmonton. It has a younger, highly educated population, and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. When you combine that with favourable costs of living and doing business, it lends itself very well to entrepreneurs and risk-takers.

I’m surrounded by people and businesses that are inspiring. Being able to advise and assist them as they grow in the city is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

What is the best advice you’ve received since you started your commercial real estate career?

Be strategic with your time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the start when you have all this energy but don’t know to harness it or where to direct it. When I started my career, I went all in and tried to meet as many people as possible by knocking on doors, but I eventually exhausted myself. Taking the time to develop your strategy and determine how you can provide the most value goes a long way.

If you could go back in time to your first day of work, what advice would you give yourself?

There are many ways to become successful in this business. There is no shortage of seasoned brokers and leaders to learn from. But ultimately, you’ll also find your own style.

Tell us about your first deal.

Believe it or not, my first deal came out of my very first cold call. I walked into an office tower, went straight to the top floor and walked into the first office, where I was asked to speak with the decision-maker. I was nervous and bumbled my way through the conversation, but eventually found out they were unhappy in the building and wanted to move, with a preference for buying a building.

Conveniently, my team had an office building for sale in the area. Long story short, they bought the building quickly and I took that as a good omen to kick off my commercial real estate career.

Advising Edmonton's entrepreneurs is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. - Ryan O'Shaughnessy

How is your perspective unique and helpful to clients?

I took a non-traditional path that led me to commercial real estate in my late twenties. Prior to that I was part-owner and manager of a pizzeria, then worked in sales. I learnt some valuable skills that still help me today. I pride myself on not simply facilitating transactions but thinking like a business owner and having a comprehensive understanding of my clients’ needs.

What’s your favourite thing about Edmonton?

Edmonton is like a small, big city, or a big, small city. Our region now is home to 1.4 million people but when you meet a fellow Edmontonian, you usually find out you have several mutual connections. It makes you feel like an individual rather than a number, and that drives a strong sense of community.

What’s your favorite indulgence or guilty pleasure?

I need one coffee a day from McDonald’s specifically, whether it’s in the morning or the afternoon. And I’m also susceptible to terrible reality television. The Real Housewives, Love Is Blind, Big Brother, you name it.

If you could invite any three people living or dead to a dinner party, who would they be?

I would invite Winston Churchill, Dave Chappelle and Bill Murray. And if I could throw in a fourth, I’d put Larry David right in the middle… I think he’d be a great “middler.”

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