A dynamic Liezel Conradie combines beauty, intelligence and grit to slay in her role as Regional Director (Western and Eastern Cape) at Excellerate Real Estate Services (t/a JHI Properties).
We were honoured to ask her 5 Questions.
You have been with JHI/ Excellerate at the helm of the Western Cape’s property management division for 5 years now, congratulations! What would you say are the 3 major industry changes that you have experienced during this time?
Thank you so much. It has been a hard road, but what an incredible journey it has been thus far. In my experience, I have seen:
The integration of women in top managerial and executive positions has been a key change that we have seen, not only in Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate or the industry, but in the country in general. There is still a glass ceiling to some extent, but it is consistently challenged and shattered.
There has also been a change in the way that companies offer services to their clients. Companies are becoming less insular and are incorporating “add-on” services to their clients. For example, Property Management companies will now also offer cleaning and security services as add-on in-house services.
In the last few years there has been a big move to restructure, renovate and re-let previously commercial office space to residential apartments. The Safmarine Triangle House is a prime example of this. Built in 1990, this exclusively commercial building has now been converted to a five-star hotel and 166 sectional title apartments and penthouses. This reformation has created a unique real estate opportunity for the developer and for investors and urbanites looking for luxury Cape Town CBD living spaces.
Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate have established offices in Kenya, have just opened an office in Tanzania and planning an office in Uganda. That is quite an expansion strategy. What are the key differentiators CWE will be introducing to those markets?
It absolutely is. Most importantly C&WE is introducing property platforms and cutting edge infrastructures that are not presently available in Central Africa.
Our unique property management strategies are also a new introduction into these countries and we are very excited to be a part of the growth and progression of these emerging property markets.
You have done so well in the last few years with various nominations including the Women’s Property Network’s Professional of the year in 2016 and being chosen recently as a finalist for Women’s Business Association of South Africa in the corporate category. Could you give us 3 of your secrets to achieve excellence?
I have been so blessed over the years and these nominations and awards, together with winning the regional winner for Women’s Property Women and national finalist, as well as Business Woman of the Year Award from P.O.W.E.R last year, make all the hard work and dedication totally worth it.
Hard work. Hard work. Hard work. Without this, anything that you achieve is simply not work valuing. When you have put your heart and soul into something, the lessons that you learn and the rewards that you receive are so satisfying and invaluable.
Always be fair. As a women in the tough business world, one needs to be a lot harder than we are fundamentally programmed to be. However, in order to succeed, you need to be fair in your judgements and decisions. If you let our emotions dictate your choices, your staff and colleagues lose faith in your ability to objectively run your departments and/or businesses.
Networking is an essential tool in any business. The saying “it is not what you know but who you know” is so accurate. Without firm, honest business relationships with colleagues and peers, growing your career and reputation, or getting anything done successfully, is near to impossible.
Property management is a tough job, as it is essentially a juggling act with multiple role players – tenants, suppliers, landlords, shoppers and all kinds of unexpected eventualities thrown into the mix. How do you find and retain excellent staff and what advice do you have for young aspiring property managers who want to be successful in the industry?
I live the by the credo of “my vibe attracts my tribe” – work hard and lead by example. I have found that ensuring that my team are praised and rewarded for work well done is vitally import to motivation and retention of staff.
My preference is to grow members of my team into property management roles. This way they know how each department works and the amount of work necessary in order for a team to run efficiently. There are a number of property managers in my team who started off as interns and have worked through the ranks to their current positions.
If I had to give advice to aspiring property managers, it would be to work hard, know your client, your industry and network. Never take your position for granted and never ever let your success go to your head.
If you do not remain humble with your team, you will never gain their respect.
As a high powered corporate role player, chair of the Western Cape’s Women’s Property Network chapter, being a mom, etc. How do you achieve balance and what keeps you sane?
My faith, my family and weekly yoga.
Balance is not easy to achieve and it takes a lot of self discipline. I give 100% to my career during the day and then I switch into family mode and give my all to them. I have found that if you do not force yourself switch off completely at the end of the day, the guilt for not spending quality time with your family eats away at you and ultimately affects both your performance at work and your relationships at home.
I am a proud mother of four boys, two of my own and two “instant” family additions. We love spending time at our holiday house on the Berg River, skiing and quad biking.
Work, love, family, friends, an amazing man and walking our dog…. that’s the secret of my life.
Copyright © 2017 by Natalie du Preez.
This interview was conceptualised, conducted and authored by Natalie du Preez and is original content, which is property of the author, all rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be copied, shared or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner.