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Member Spotlight: Rodrigo Silva, Associate Vice-President, Lee & Associates

Meet Rodrigo, the Associate Vice President at Lee & Associates Toronto, whose journey in commercial real estate began with an unexpected internship and flourished into a full-blown passion, leading him to make waves in the industry. From his first eye-opening experience at an SIOR Broker of the Year event to closing deals that shape communities, Rodrigo's journey is a testament to the power of ambition, mentorship, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Discover how a summer position transformed into a thriving career and how his roots and relationships fuel his success in commercial real estate by reading Rodrigo's story.

What’s your story?  What inspired you to pursue a career in commercial real estate?

My journey into commercial real estate began unexpectedly during my search for a summer internship going into my last year of university. At the time, I didn't have much insight into the various opportunities within the industry but I managed to land a position as a research analyst when Lee & Associates opened their Toronto office. From there I was exposed to so many aspects of the business and I decided to pursue it full time after graduating.


What motivated you to join the SIOR: Canada Central Chapter?

When I first started in commercial real estate, my first industry event was the "SIOR Broker of the Year" awards. Seeing the success’ of professionals across the local market motivated me to want to learn and absorb as much knowledge from my colleagues so that I could gain the experience and qualifications to become an SIOR member.


What do you enjoy most about being a part of SIOR?

Having access to top producing and top performing broker colleagues around the world. It’s great to be able to pick up the phone and call a Broker you’ve never met in another market and be to refer deals and collaborate to service your local clients across the world.


Do you remember your first transaction?

Of course! My first transaction was land sale in Oakville. It was a property that I drive-by on my way to and from work every day. For as long as I’ve lived in this neighbourhood, this property had been a vacant lot in the middle of a very fast-growing community. I saw that it had potential for high-density residential development, so I decided to call the owner. I think it was one of the very first calls that I ever made, and I managed to catch one of the owners on a good day and had a productive conversation. Being so green to the industry at the time, I’m very grateful for my partners and mentors Mark and Luis for being able to guide the strategy and I was able to watch the deal materialise and learned a tonne through it.


What is the most challenging deal you have worked on in your career so far, and what did you learn from that experience?

Every deal has its own set of challenges and obstacles to overcome. Right now, I’m just about to close a deal that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years and it’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. I’m thankful for it because you quickly learn the importance of staying focused on servicing your clients as best as you can and not to stress about the factors that are out your control.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments in the commercial real estate industry, and what resources do you find most valuable for your professional growth and development?

Reading industry publications and economic news are obviously great to learn, but something that’s worked well for me is having strong relationships with other brokers not only my own firm, but outside of my firm. I find those relationships have been extremely valuable for staying up to date on the market and overall for my professional growth.". Being able to share and trade deal comps, market intel and news helps you become a better service provider and professional for your own clients.


Who are your greatest inspirations and helpers?

Being raised in a first-generation Canadian household has been the spark to my determination and work ethic. My parents both immigrated to Canada from Brazil alone in their early twenties with practically nothing to their name. Seeing the sacrifices they had to make to put me and my sister in a position to succeed, I’m eternally grateful. It motivates and inspires me to work as hard as I can so that I can put myself in a position to re-pay them for all their sacrifices.


What advice do you have for young professionals in the CRE industry?

Be open minded to learn from as many people as you can. Whether it’s an analyst, broker, landlord, investor, developer, banker, etc., - you would be surprised where the connections you make will take you. Commercial real estate is a relationship business, and you only get what you put in so if you are willing to work hard, you will learn so much so quickly.

Rodrigo's story is an inspiring blueprint for navigating the complexities of commercial real estate with determination and vision. If you're inspired by Rodrigo's journey and would like to explore more stories like his, visit our blog for a treasure trove of motivational career paths.


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