Article

Stephanie Garant – Fresh Perspectives: CBRE's Emerging Leaders

November 23, 2022 4 Minute Read

Montreal building skyline

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.

We spoke to Stephanie about her passion for real estate, her involvement in the business community and her take on the future of the Montreal capital market.

Why commercial real estate?

Commercial real estate is a broad field that affects everything from our economy to our way of life. In investment and capital markets, our work lets us to visualize what the city might look like in the next 5 to 10 years. In leasing, it’s a very concrete pulse on the current mores and the imminent trends of a population. I love how our work intertwines with macroeconomics, politics, and sociology.

What is your role within the team?

I’m mainly focused on the transactional side of things: the negotiation, the drafting of offers and the prospecting. Since our team often works on large-scale transactions, where we average 1 to 2 years before closing, my work leads me to think a lot about the future of our team. We anticipate how to stabilize or increase revenues while mitigating the risks that a transaction succeeds or falls.

How does your previous experience help you in your commercial real estate career?

It’s common for people to find themselves in real estate without having studied in the field. My degree in international commerce gave me a good foundation in business while my work in sales, marketing and production allowed us to properly structure the team as soon as I arrived. But what helped me the most in understanding the intricacies of my work was the purchase of my first investment property. There's nothing like putting yourself in a buyer's shoes to appreciate the psychology of a sale, the stress of a short lead time, the importance of positioning a location and the risk associated with projecting potential income.

Tell us about your mentors and how have they helped you in the early stages of your career.

I have the privilege of working alongside my dad, Daniel Garant, Executive Vice President at CBRE. We have a great working relationship and his experience in architecture and in construction have been extremely beneficial to my learning. I have also surrounded myself with two external mentors, Marie-France Benoit and Anthony Arquin, through the CREW M (Commercial Real Estate Women Montreal) mentoring program. These relationships are invaluable and continue to grow beyond the one-year program. They have helped me expand my professional network and are still often a gateway to new projects.

How have you seen opportunities for women in the workplace and industry evolve in recent years?

It’s no secret that we are still in a male-dominated industry. That said, thanks to hybrid work, family and work can be balanced more easily. Videoconferencing allows us to reach our customers from anywhere and emphasize our content rather than our appearance. That said, there's still a lot of work to be done to level the playing field. That's why I'm involved with CREW M, where I'm currently working on developing a directory of female real estate experts who will feature women who want to speak in public or publish articles.

In this new era of hybrid work, how do you develop and maintain your network?

I try to stay very active in my social involvement by participating in networking events and major real estate conferences. I have been a member of the Young Philanthropists’ Circle (YPC) of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for 4 years. My work as president of YPC’s event committee allows me to meet young professionals from all backgrounds and participate in various activities on contemporary art and exhibition openings.

There's nothing like putting yourself in a buyer's shoes to appreciate the psychology of a sale. - Stephanie Garant

What does the future hold for Montreal’s capital markets?

It will be interesting to see how the market adjusts to very low real estate inventory, given current supply chain challenges, limited labor, and high construction costs. In the medium term, the increase in the overnight and prime rates can be expected to help reduce the money supply in circulation and control inflation. We are starting to see a stabilization and even a decline in real estate values in Montreal and its surroundings. However, this does not necessarily translate into an increase in transactions. There is therefore a risk of recession or stagflation until the market readjusts. In the long term, Montreal will manage very well; we have so much to offer, and our city has always kept up with the economic growth of Canadian cities.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career in commercial real estate?

Daniel always tells me, “It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. " And he's right. The world of commercial real estate is complex and requires a transfer of knowledge that can take several years. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and with the industry. Rome was not built in a day, nor did the towers that outline our Montreal skyline.

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