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The BOMA Mentorship program for property management professionals is now in its third year. We checked in with a few of the participants who have recently completed the 2013-2014 program to find out more!
Today, we’re speaking with Mentor and Protege pair Rod Olsen, Director of Property Management  Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP, and Melissa Heer, Property Manager, Enright Management Ltd.
BOMA Calgary (B): How did you get into commercial real estate? Was there a defining moment or key person in your life that influenced you most in your career path?
Protege Melissa Heer (MH): I was placed by a placement agency to work as an admin assistant at Avison Young. My boss at Avison Young, Steve Vesuwalla influenced me. It was during my time at AY that I decided what I wanted to do with my life and how I was going to do it.
Mentor Rod Olsen (RO): I got into commercial real estate through the mortgage business, underwriting mortgage insurance and mortgage lending. That’s where I got to understand commercial real estate. There was an economic downturn in Alberta in the 80’s and our company foreclosed on many properties. We ended up managing the buildings we lent on, by “default”. That’s how I fell into commercial real estate.
B: Why do you feel mentorship is important?
RO: Mentorship is important especially in property management because property managers face a wide variety of issues every day. We can learn from other experienced individuals, and share best practices.
MH: We can learn a lot from each others experiences. Having a mentor to encourage and support you helps you to be the best you can be.
B: What would you advise or suggest for the future leaders of the industry?
MH: Opportunities are not going to be handed to you. You need to work hard and learn as much as you can.
RO: Be prepared. Do your research. Work closely with your client/owner and find out what their long term expectations are. Estimate capital and operating programs to reflect your clients’ vision. When you’re not in sync with your client, you won’t be able to achieve anything meaningful.
–  The 2014/2015 Mentorship program will begin this fall; applications are now available.
– Submitted on behalf of the BOMA Communications Committee