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What It's Like to Be a YP in Commercial Real Estate

SIOR CCC provides scholarships to deserving students who study commercial real estate and adjacent fields. Earlier this month, we were honoured to invite Felicia DeGasperis, a 2019 recipient of the scholarship, to give a speech at the Broker of the Year Awards.

Keep reading for an update on Felicia's career as well as a window into what commercial real estate is like for Young Professionals getting into the industry.

1. How did your friends and family react to your scholarship win?

My friends and family were extremely proud when I won the SIOR scholarship in 2019. They recognized the hard work and commitment I demonstrated during my undergraduate degree, and always encouraged me to push myself academically. They knew I was interested in the CRE industry and saw this award as a stepping stone to my professional growth. Additionally, my brother Julian DeGasperis also completed an Honours Specialization in Urban Development at Western and won this exact scholarship a few years prior. Needless to say he was very proud of this achievement.

2. What are some challenges that students in CRE face today?

The entry into the CRE industry has become quite competitive with current student internships and new grads. It is incredible to see the young talent entering the industry, but also challenging for students to find job placements. It is important for students to not only build connections in the industry, but also maintain these relationships and find a mentor who can provide guidance during the recruitment process. There are many different avenues in the CRE industry, and speaking to as many professionals as possible to learn about the different types of roles/functions will be beneficial. Hard work and commitment to the process will pay off. Young talent and a fresh perspective from post-graduates has the power to shape the future of the industry.

3. Did winning the SIOR scholarship impact the trajectory of your career?

Winning the SIOR Scholarship in my 4th year of university encouraged me to continue pursing my interest in real estate and explore the passion further. Receiving the SIOR scholarship not only solidified that real estate was the right path for me, but also pushed me to continue exploring the Commercial side, specifically the Industrial asset-class. In the summer of 2019 after receiving the award, I decided to pursue an internship at Dream Unlimited on the Strategic Finance team. I enjoyed the summer and returned full-time, where I have been growing my real estate career since.

4. If you would isolate a single most important skill needed for success in this industry, what would it be?

The most important skill needed for success in this industry is confidence. Having confidence in the CRE industry is about asking intelligent questions, making connections, building business relationships and persevering through each decision. Of course, the numbers and spreadsheets are the backbone to the financial decisions, but confidence will open the door to many new opportunities that would not otherwise be presented. Building strong relationships and being a curious thinker will lead to many opportunities in the industry. Finding a deal, running the numbers, pitching, and negotiating are all a result of confidence in yourself, teammates, and professional abilities.

5. What habits and rituals help you get ahead with your work?

In my personal and professional life, I have always been organized and proactive in my planning. Adhering to deadlines and showing up prepared are the most critical skills to have in the workplace. I plan my week ahead, prioritize tasks, schedule reminders, and ensure I am prepared to meet deadlines earlier than what is expected. I find these habits build trust and credibility with your team and leadership.



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