Ralf Carcani – Fresh Perspectives: CBRE’s Emerging Leaders
November 9, 2023 3 Minute Read
Ralf Carcani strategically guides his office and lab clients with the deft hands of a chess player, which he is in his spare time.
Carcani’s skill, passion, character and commitment to making a positive impact on the Montreal office helped to earn him CBRE’s Eastern Canada Emerging Leader Award for 2022.
We spoke to Carcani about building his commercial real estate career and how he helps office tenants navigate these uncertain times.
What does receiving the Emerging Leader award mean to you?
It’s a great honour, of course, but I see it as the start of something else. It’s a reminder that I have to one day become a full-fledged leader and that I have to put in the work to achieve that objective. So it’s a motivation to do that every day.
Tell us about your career path.
I joined CBRE in 2019 as part of the Montreal office leasing tenant representation group with Jeremy Kenemy and Veronik Bastien. Although I started as team coordinator, I was soon given the opportunity to work on transactions in a more direct way. That made for a steep learning curve. The following month brought the onset of the pandemic. Office leasing became very challenging, and tenants didn’t know what to do with their space. The learning curve got even steeper. My main objectives were to develop business for the team, help close transactions and assist tenants reassessing their office strategy.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of my job originates from my least favourite part of my job, which is doing cold calls and contacting people who don’t have time and are not planning to speak to me. But when I’m successful in securing a meeting and eventually creating a relationship with someone I cold called, it’s incredibly gratifying.
Which deal are you most proud of?
It resulted from one of the first cold calls I ever made, less than a year after joining CBRE. I had tried to reach a particular company by calling and sending them information. One day the woman in charge decided that it might be worth talking to me. She passed me to the right person, after which our team obtained the mandate to relocate their space. The transaction closed recently, almost two and a half years later. It taught me that it’s important to deliver value for people because they’ll eventually see what you can do for them and want to work with you.
What are the current challenges and opportunities in the Montreal office market?
In Montreal we’re faced with a tale of two worlds where some tenants are taking back space that they had put on the sublease market, while others are getting rid of their offices entirely. It’s a real art to try to understand why tenants go one way while others go the other. I believe that my role as a broker is more important than ever because tenants need to meet their business objectives and measure their productivity. The office is a great tool for that. As brokers, we need to be the best resource for companies trying to determine what to do with their office space.
Who has been an impactful mentor?
Hands down that would be my colleague Jeremy Kenemy. I started my career at CBRE with him and am still working by his side. From the beginning, he involved me in client communications and activities, calls, meetings and visits. That helped me understand how brokerage works and what clients need. As a result, I feel like I’m a more effective advisor.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
Always be vulnerable and always listen. I have a lot of years ahead of me, so for now I have to listen to those who have been there for longer and absorb everything that I can. I also need to be consistent with my work. A great broker once told me: “Keep your head down, listen, and keep doing your work.”
How are you helping the next generation of real estate leaders?
I try to identify the up-and-coming people in the company and in the industry and create groups to work together to achieve our goals. Recently I’ve done business development with various people who are starting their careers at CBRE. I’ve also worked with the Research team to find creative ways to bring value to our clients.
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