Sarah Henderson - Fresh Perspectives: CBRE's Emerging Leaders
February 22, 2022 3 Minute Read
This profile is part of a series highlighting CBRE’s Emerging Leaders. The company’s best and brightest young talents share insights and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that come with building a career in commercial real estate.
The next generation of real estate professionals are making a splash in markets across Canada. At CBRE Edmonton, Sarah Henderson is quickly making a name for herself on a team with more than 55 years of collective industry experience.
Henderson joined the firm in early 2018 as a Research Analyst and within a year had advanced to the role of Sales Representative. Just four years later, she holds the position of Senior Sales Associate on the Edmonton Office Advisors team.
Change and challenge embracing, Henderson’s position as a young leader is well-deserved. We spoke with her about the best career advice she’s received, what excites her about commercial real estate, and the tips she has for other young people getting their start in the industry.
What’s the most surprising thing that you learned early on in your career?
I learned that it takes a lot of patience to do well in this industry. There are so many deep-rooted relationships that already exist between clients and senior people in the industry. It takes some time to really get yourself known, recognized and respected. You need to have the patience, the passion, and the drive to keep going when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. Because eventually you will find that success.
What inspires you about office leasing in Edmonton?
The Edmonton market itself is a huge challenge, but that actually brings about a lot of opportunities.
It’s a tenant’s market, so that makes the tenant side very exciting. That also makes the landlord side more difficult. We have to be creative in how we advise in a market with more than 20% vacancy.
How is your perspective unique and helpful to clients?
My approach to my client’s needs is holistic and insightful. I get them to think about aspects of their office and their business in a way that they haven’t before. Some people don’t immediately see how real estate can change their processes and help them meet their business goals. Being transparent and realistic is a big part of it, too. If you’re not being genuine people can see right through you.
What is the best advice you’ve gotten since starting your career?
My Managing Director, Dave Young, has a lot of experience in this business and has given me great advice. He encourages me to nurture my existing relationships with clients.
The best advice he’s given me is to never to take relationships for granted. Even in times when you’re very close with a client, the relationship is going very well and you’re performing well, never take that for granted. Always show your value and never get comfortable.
What are the biggest challenges facing young people looking to get started in CRE?
The challenge of commercial real estate is to get your hands dirty as quickly as possible. You have to create opportunities for yourself. Whether that’s popping over to someone’s cubicle to ask if you can help out or just picking up the phone and calling landlords.
You may not even know what to say at first but taking that risk and getting out there as soon as possible will propel your career.
What excites you most about the future of commercial real estate?
I think what I’m most excited for is the digital age of commercial real estate. How we’re shifting from “old-school” processes to new, efficient forms of technology. Like 3D virtual tours, for example. Seeing more brokers and landlords being present on social media is exciting too. These forms of communication are the future.
How do you prioritize your mental and physical health?
It’s important to check in with yourself. Identify the things about work that you’re enjoying and the clients that you enjoy working with and then take the time to have gratitude for that.
It’s also really important to get outside. Whether you’re going for a walk or exercising in some capacity, carve out that time. You’ll feel way better.
Do you have some tips for others who are just starting out in CRE?
Figure out early on what you want your focus to be and what your strong skills are that you bring to your clients. Don’t hesitate to identify your goals and make sure that they’re known to your superiors and your mentors. It will help you so much. Making it known what success looks like to you is important for them to know, because they want to see you succeed.
Also, just absorb as much information as possible and ask a lot of questions. Information is gold in our business.
Be open to opportunities and know what your goals are, you’ll do well. Just put your head down and work hard. Be true to your self and you’ll find what works for you.
Stephanie Garant considers real estate to be a critical component of economic growth and social development. After several years in marketing and sales, she joined CBRE Montreal’s capital markets team in 2018.
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