Aubrey Englund | Executive Vice President

Aubrey Van Reken-Englund

Why did you decide to go into commercial real estate?

My cousin Ben Cremer, a successful industrial broker at NAI, introduced me to CRE. I was intrigued by commercial real estate brokerage, knowing it was a niche sales industry with opportunity to earn a great living if you were motivated and a self starter.

What was the toughest challenge you faced when you were starting out?

In the first few years I quickly found out how difficult it was to maintain a stong pipeline and the daily grind that was required to be successful. I decided at that time I was going to take charge of my destiny and push out of my comfort zone to find business. I did not rely on anyone to bring me new business, I knew I had to find it on my own.

What resources have been invaluable to you?

Every lease and purchase transaction has unique aspects and there are many factors at play. It took many years of hands-on experience and transaction knowledge to understand how to approach different scenarios. Having support from fellow brokers to ask questions and be a sounding board was so helpful to my career growth.

Tell a story about a time in your career when you had to advocate for yourself.

I’ve had to advocate for myself every single day of my career, I have tough competition and scrutinizing prospective clients. I am constantly learning how to articulate my passion for what I do, and how my process and skill set differentiate me from others.

Tell a story about a time in your career where you did things differently than how a colleague or mentor did or advised.

I was always told to use lease expiration dates as time frame for when to call a prospect, but about 5 years into my career I realized that I was often late or just missed an opportunity because tenants were expanding or negotiating early. Now I do not wait to reach out to tenants with long term leases, I start building the relationship as soon as possible and stay in front of them for the next opportunity.

Tell a story about a time you were inspired by the story or words of a woman in CRE.

I have a handful of female mentors in CRE that have inspired me to push myself up the corporate ladder. Some advice I was given was to never back down to competition, maintain strong confidence and embrace feminine qualities and use them to my advantage, such as listening skills, creative thinking, attention to detail and empathy.

Who have been your mentors and how have they impacted you?

Diana Riekse (CBRE, retired) she was a tenant advisor who always encouraged me and gave me advice when I asked for it even though she was technically my competition.

Laura Collins (Westmount) and Jen Sweeny (Milbrook Properties) both are landlord asset managers who always work on the other side of the transaction from me, but always has supported me in my career growth over the years. Having their support has encouraged me to fight hard to achieve more business wins.

Why do you think it is important for women to be active in CRE, especially CRE leadership?

The most successful individuals in CRE are confident, passionate, tough-minded with thick skin; and on the other side, they are great listeners, tend to think ‘outside the box’ and posses creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Most women I know in the industry embody these attributes, whether it is brokerage, project management or property management.

What advice do you have for women pursuing a career in CRE?

It’s an amazing career that allows women to showcase their unique attributes, skill sets and talent to advance if you put your mind to it. It always provides great flexibility for females who want to balance home work life, with work schedule flexibility to raise a family without sacrificing your career in many cases.

Return to Women in Real Estate main page >>