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This weekend, students return to the university. For a returning student, it is a chance to see friends after a summer of recharging the batteries. For a new student, it is a big step on their way to becoming an adult with all of its challenges and opportunities.

For the faculty, this weekend marks the end of a summer spent doing research and other things which are hard to fit in between the other activities needed during a regular term. Part of GREG’s summer was spent teaching some bank managers about the real estate industry; Laurentian Bank and GREG organized a small conference with a mix of classes and invited speakers.

The speakers had many interesting things to say, including some thoughts that are specifically relevant to the next generation of leaders in the real estate industry:

Paul Hurtubise Senior Vice President (retired), Laurentian Bank

  • Be yourself, avoid being political.
  • Work hard.
  • Be sincere.
  • Trust others.
  • Check your facts.
  • Under promise and over deliver.
  • The more you learn, the more you will realize you need to learn more. Real Estate is consistently evolving; so, stay abreast of current conditions.

Eli Swirsky, President, The Torgan Group

  • The most important thing you will ever acquire is your reputation; real estate, money and material possessions will surely come and go but your reputation will stay with you forever (for better or worse).
  • The key to success is to find a niche; study it, develop it, analyse it and work it. Your specialized experience will enable you to outperform and outlast your competitors.
    • In addition, learn to implement Plan B (since something always stops Plan A).

Richard Diamond, Senior Vice-President, Canderal Management Inc.

  • Real estate is a business which serves a diverse array of people and businesses. So, you need to be diverse, have varied interests and read from various perspectives.
  • Be involved in the community.
  • Understand that the fundamentals are always fundamentals; they do not change.
  • Secret to success: create value as an integrator for all of your partners (e.g. bank, neighbours, business partners, tenants, profits and the organization)

Robert Sabato, CEO, Craft Development Corporation

  • Mitigate the risks, know the risks.
  • Recognize that you don’t have all of the answers: everybody needs help, challenge assumptions
  • Profit is important but, more importantly, keep everybody happy

If some of this advice sounds obvious then consider that the reason why these people offer this advice may be a reminder that, sometimes, implementing this advice is not be as easy as you hope.

Good luck during the new year.