Lauren White and CBRE’s Land Services Group: A Team for Changing Times
January 30, 2023 5 Minute Read
Lauren White’s initiation into CBRE was a trial by fire.
It was 2008, and she was working with Mike Czestochowski’s Land Services Group in CBRE’s Toronto North office, learning the ropes of commercial real estate.
White had first come to CBRE two years earlier, as a summer student while studying at University of Guelph, eventually parlaying this into a full-time job on Czestochowski’s team. “She was so smart I didn’t want to let her leave,” he says.
When Czestochowski fell ill in 2008 and went on leave, White suddenly was thrust into the centre of the action to run the team. Before she knew it, she was jetting off to Detroit to assist CBRE Chairman John O’Bryan on a pitch. “I remember thinking, ‘How did I get here?’”
“It was a nerve-wracking experience running things all of a sudden,” she adds. “But it taught me perseverance and to not give up”
White and O’Bryan prevailed in winning the business in Detroit. And she set out on an impressive career trajectory over the next decade and a half that culminated in her becoming the second woman to earn the title of Executive Vice President in CBRE Canada’s history.
The Future is Female
White co-leads a team of 11 with Czestochowski, and nine of the 11 are women. The team’s diversity has proven to be its strength, helping it to produce results for clients. And it could increase the group’s resilience in a down market.
“Clients want ideas,” says White, “and women have provided the fresh perspectives and innovations that have allowed us to outcompete and exceed expectations.”
The Land Services Group had its best year ever in 2021, logging $1.3 billion in sales. For White’s part, she ranked #2 in the CBRE Toronto North Office for top sales representatives in 2021, the same year she ranked #20 on CBRE Canada’s sales leader list nationally.
“It has been a long and winding road to this point, with no shortage of challenges, including the Financial Crisis of 2008,” says White. “But today I co-lead a team that I’m proud of and wish had existed when I started in the business. We have the expertise, diversity and innovative thinking that helps our clients navigate the ups and downs of the post-pandemic land market.”
The Women of the Land Services Group: Millie Ye, Marina Lonska, Chloe Pereira, Laura Malaka, Lauren White, Emelie Rowe, Amanah Rahal, Fariya Ali and Alina Politika.
Odd Woman Out
White studied real estate at Guelph University, where her program included 12 men and just two women in her graduating year.
She might have been the odd woman out, but found she loved learning about real estate. Plus, she wanted to create her own path and career and couldn’t see that happening in any other industry as quickly.
White hopes she can offer inspiration to women contemplating a career in real estate and has done significant outreach, including working with Grade 12 women students at TCREW, the ULI Mentorship program, and CBRE’s Women’s Network mentorship program.
“We’re proving that women offer incredible advantages to clients and partners,” says White. “Brokerage is a great career for women. It provides the flexibility to set your own schedule and run your own business and should allow them to succeed through various life stages.
“As a mother of two, I’ve navigated a few of those life stages and this industry and career allowed me to keep pace, keep building and keep leading.”
Diversity Delivers Results
If the Land Services Group’s list of recent deals serves as any indication, diversity of thought and innovative spirit is translating into concrete successes.
In April 2022, the team completed the largest residential land transaction in Ottawa’s history: 212 acres of land in Kanata for $245 million. The plan calls for a significant mixed-use development with 2,755 residential units and retail space along a new LRT line.
In January 2022 the Land Services Group ran the sale of Grand Park Village in Toronto to Minto Communities for $129 million. The 5.5 acre site, near Mimico GO Station, will include three residential towers connected with an eight-storey podium.
Months before that the Land Services Group closed on a 7-acre deal at Bloor Street West and Dufferin Street, where they represented the Toronto District School Board in the disposition of an excess school site that sold for $151.4 million.
“We’ve had a good run in the past few years,” says Czestochowski, “and looking ahead, I believe this team is uniquely positioned for whatever the economy has in store. I’ve never had so much confidence in the team as I do right now.”
“We work well because we are constantly collaborative, where every team member has a say and brings something unique to the table,” White adds. “We have strong communication and we believe in being proactive, sharing good ideas and strategies to strengthen our foresight.”
“When times get tough, this is exactly the kind of team you need on your side.”
LSG sold 212 acres of land in Kanata for $245 million.
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