Dean Mariani – Fresh Perspectives: CBRE's Emerging Leaders

May 25, 2022 3 Minute

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Dean Mariani is fascinated by people who excel in their field. From all-star athletes to the top CEOs, their collective passion and commitment to their craft is something he replicates in his own work as a Sales Representative at CBRE Waterloo.

An athlete himself, Mariani sees the skills he gained from sports – persistence, competitiveness, and a desire to improve – as being invaluable to his current career. The University of Guelph grad joined CBRE in 2017 at the suggestion of a developer friend who recognized his innate ability as a salesman.

Mariani remains well connected to his alma mater and takes every opportunity to mentor students in Guelph’s real estate program. We spoke to Mariani about his own mentors, the challenges facing young people in commercial real estate, and why he’s excited about the future of the industry.

What inspires you about commercial real estate in the Waterloo region?

Now more than ever all eyes are on the Waterloo Region. I think we have a long runway of opportunity ahead of us. Being early on in my career, I think there is a lot of opportunity ahead. That is very exciting.

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

How you do anything is how you do everything. That is to say, pay attention to the details. Put your best effort into everything, even the small tasks. I think going that extra mile is really what separates the good from the great.

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

You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s doing the extra work, that’s getting on the phone, that’s putting yourself out there and being vulnerable.

Can you talk about a mentor you’ve had and how they helped you?

My biggest mentor would be my partner, Todd Cooney. A lot of what I know about the business I owe to him. After I started at CBRE, he would sit down with me on a daily basis and show me all of his best practices and what has helped him through his career. That mentorship has continued to today. Every time I have a challenge, Todd is there to give advice and guidance. I can lean on him for anything.

What do you remember most about your first deal?

It was like walking through a dark room and trying to find the light switch. You’re just trying to get through it and do well by your client.

But then you start to learn the fundamentals, and it’s like walking through the same room but now you’ve got a flashlight. Then you really start to learn about the CBRE advantage and how strong the platform is. That’s when the spotlight comes on, you can see untapped potential in every property and it’s a whole different ballgame.

What deal have you been most proud of and why?

I’m going to be like Tom Brady and say the next one.

How important are relationships in the real estate business?

I believe that relationships come first. If you’re just looking at a deal from a business standpoint and you’re not being thoughtful and genuine about the relationship, that’s when you have issues. Always nurture the relationship first. Building strong relationships is the most important thing in this business.

Dean Mariani quote card

What are the biggest challenges facing young people looking to get started in commercial real estate?

It’s cliché, but I’m a big believer in trusting the process. A lot of young professionals want success right away, but you’ve got to be patient. When your commitment is stronger than your need be successful, that’s when success will come.

What excites you most about the future of commercial real estate?

The way that we use the office is changing. Time will tell exactly what that looks like. But I think change brings opportunity. So that’s what excites me – seeing what the landscape of office leasing is going to look like in the next two, three, five, or 10 years.

How do you support other young people in this business?

This is pretty important to me. I’m very well connected to the University of Guelph, specifically the real estate program. I give guest lectures to the real estate program once every semester. I really take any opportunity to be a conduit between CBRE and the University of Guelph. Whether it’s Zoom calls with students, or going for coffee, anything like that. I find young professionals, especially in the real estate program, have so may questions about this business. I just try to be a resource to help.

Do you have some tips for others who are just starting their CRE career?

Develop a specific and realistic plan, and then create a daily routine that aligns with that plan and with your goals. Follow that routine diligently. Being consistent with that over a long period of time will lead to success.

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