Thomas Lasalle – Fresh Perspectives: CBRE's Emerging Leaders
11 Aug 2022 3 Minute
Thomas Lasalle could have continued down the career path he was destined for, running his family’s medical clinic in Terrebonne, a Montreal suburb.
After two years on the job, however, he came to realize he was missing a passion for his work.
A discussion with a young CBRE broker changed all that; hearing her story got Lasalle interested in real estate, and a few months later, in March 2020, he had joined CBRE as a sales trainee on the research team in Montreal.
Just over a year later, owing to his ability to learn quickly, attention to detail and collaborative nature, Lasalle was invited to join Ryan Cymet and Jean-Philippe Daunais’ Industrial and Logistics team, one of the country’s top performers.
We spoke to Lasalle about Montreal’s evolving industrial market, the best advice he’s received, and the challenges facing young people wanting to build a career in commercial real estate.
What inspires you about Montreal’s industrial segment?
I am fascinated by the complexity of today’s market, with availability rates close to 1.0%, and the momentum that comes with that. The dynamic between the high demand and limited supply is pushing us to find creative and innovative out-of-the-box solutions. And I really enjoy it, since all the players in the Montreal commercial real estate sector, whether they are developers, brokers or owners, are working together to meet the needs of tenants.
What’s the best advice someone gave you when you started your career in commercial real estate?
The most important thing is to get out of your comfort zone and be available and consistent. Then you must be on the lookout for what’s going on in the market, stay current, and do your research, so you can seize every opportunity and give your clients the confidence that they can count on your expertise. And you can’t overlook the importance of networking. You need to participate in market events and create connections by hosting business lunches. I am living proof of this: my network and my conversations with commercial real estate stakeholders are a big reason why I’m in the business today.
Who have your mentors been?
My most valued mentors are the senior brokers on my team. I still have so much to learn and I wanted to join a team that could provide me with the proper structure and guidance I need to succeed. The old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” perfectly describes the professional guidance I’ve received from Ryan Cymet and Jean-Philippe. They make sure I understand the importance of each action.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in commercial real estate?
Patience is golden and success only comes with time and sustained efforts. Surround yourself with good mentors, stay informed about the market, spend time understanding the fundamentals of commercial real estate and get out of your comfort zone. You must prepare for any contingencies, keep an open mind, be creative and find a way to stand out. Those who enter the commercial real estate business to make a quick buck need to review their goals. Success in this industry is not immediate. It’s a long learning curve, fuelled by a passion for real estate.
How are you supporting younger people in the industry?
Few young people know about the commercial real estate business. So I try to introduce as many people as possible to the opportunities that this industry offers. There is nothing as gratifying for me as receiving a call from a young graduate considering a career in commercial real estate. I hope my passion is contagious.
What excites you about the future of commercial real estate?
I feel fortunate to have started my career in the midst of the major upheavals of the past few years. The market is shifting and requires new solutions. Montreal is attracting businesses, mostly because of the competitive rents and operating costs compared to other major Canadian cities. I’m excited about seeing which large companies decide to locate or expand their operations here in the coming years. There promises to be plenty of momentum in the years ahead.
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