Creating Space for Abilities
Edgar, a Hong Kong country director and Chair for CBRE’s APAC Abilities Group, shares his fervent belief in creating inclusive workplace culture.
May 15, 2023 3 Minute Read
You’re the Chair for CBRE’s Asia Pacific Abilities Group. Can you speak to what diversity, equity and inclusion mean to you?Growing up, my mother used to run a kindergarten. I remember she hired a teacher with a disability, even though other teachers and parents had concerns about the teacher's ability to take care of the kids and do her job properly. My mother saw the greatness in this individual and made a decision against the odds. It turned out that all the parents and kids loved the teacher. I remember asking my mum why she hired the teacher. Her response remains with me to this day—you need to seek people's ability and drive beyond surface, sometimes they just need the opportunity to let them shine.
As a dyslexic individual, I have first-hand experience on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is extremely close to my heart. I believe leaders should create equal opportunity for every individual and value them for their unique skills and perspectives. When a workplace or community prioritizes diversity and inclusion, it creates an environment where individuals with different abilities and backgrounds are valued and respected, allowing everyone to thrive and contribute to their fullest potential.
How do you personally contribute to creating a more inclusive workplace culture at CBRE?
Having lived and worked in the UK for several years, I am aware of cultural differences, but ultimately, we are all not so different. Building relationships with your team and clients is crucial to developing empathy and understanding. It is important to never make assumptions and to be mindful of others. If you notice someone is not acting like their normal self, start with a simple, "Are you okay?”
Tell us about your career journey at CBREI have been with CBRE for 15 years. The latter part of my tenure, I spent 7 years in Project Management which led to my current role as Country Director, which I have held for the last 2 years.
During my time in Project Management, I oversaw several key projects in Hong Kong, most memorably the relocation of a global financial institution’s flagship office. In 2019, I took on a business leadership role for Hong Kong Project Management. In June 2021, I made the transition from Project Management to Country Leadership, becoming the Country Director for Hong Kong. I am thrilled to build the country's capabilities, functional teams, and business resilience to drive sustainable and profitable growth. Although I have changed my career focus, projects are still close to my heart.
Who has inspired you the most?My mother. She raised two kids as a single parent and never gave up on me, even though I was not academically inclined and often got into trouble when I was young. That belief led me to be the man I am today with so many things to be proud of—having a career at a company with amazing people, a wife, Vivien and our three children—Katelyn, Joshua, and Abigail.
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