The most difficult life lesson that I have had to learn is that it does not matter how hard you want it—you still have to convince someone to believe in you and your ability to perform. Thankfully, I have always been open to change, and I have always enjoyed tackling complicated projects—looking at complex issues, analyzing them, and pushing people toward the end goal.
In 2005, I was given the opportunity to tackle a special project for CBRE on a national level. After receiving accolades from management for a job well-done, that project helped lead me to other projects for our senior leadership team, and later to management positions of our U.S. operations.
In my current role, I oversee our worldwide HR operations for 37,000 employees. It’s a full-service operation that involves recruiting and staffing; employee relations; training, learning and development; diversity; payroll and compensation; and benefits. There is a large amount of work just in daily operations and there is tremendous activity around our first priority, talent acquisition and development.
Additionally, I lead our company’s corporate real estate function, which includes the workplace strategy we call Workplace360. Being a true servant leader, our Workplace360 initiative is very important to me as it involves studying what we can do as a company to help our employees be as happy, healthy, efficient, and successful as possible in the workplace. This means we are examining how we use our office space for individuals and teamwork collaboration and support technologies for more personal productivity and collaboration. We are also investigating how we can enhance wellness and health in the workplace and become more sustainable, mobile, and flexible as a company. While there are many facets to this project and it is time intensive, the research is fascinating. It’s amazing the progress within a few years, particularly with the new technologies available and how it has impacted the way that we work as a society.
The best advice I could give to others who are looking to tackle a big project or move up in their position would be to create a plan and continue with it. It’s important to conduct research, ask questions to colleagues and business associates, and continue working your hardest.
How has education affected your career?
It took me nine years of night school to complete my degrees, but I am proud to say that I graduated summa cum laude from both my undergrad and MBA programs. I was working full-time as a commercial real estate broker during most of my undergrad work and during all of my MBA program. Often, it was difficult to keep going, but I’m so glad that I did. I count my MBA as one of the most important things I did to ensure my success as a broker and in my current role. An MBA program forces you to think critically and to apply your book-learned knowledge so that it stays with you.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
My mother influenced me more than anyone I know. She is the president of the Chamber of Commerce in Toluca Lake, California, where I live. She is also our town mayor. At seventy-six, she still works full-time and is the hardest working person I know.