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From England with Love

Naomi began her real estate career back in England at the young age of 17 when she started working for a budding architecture firm. As someone who is incredibly detail oriented, she helped keep the company organized and made sure the ship was always sailing as smoothly as possible. Naomi’s path led her across the pond from England and when arriving in Ottawa, she brought her detail-oriented approach to the law offices of Kelly Santini. Naomi’s wealth of experience saw her taking on multiple roles with a variety of responsibilities over a two-year period.

Question 1: Looking back, what did you learn from your time in the architectural and legal spaces that has helped shaped your career path?

“I learned how to be inclusive and collaborative, looking ahead and getting work done before it was asked and learning that all work and no play can make for a dull day. I have been lucky in my career that I have been able to work with great companies who value their employees.”

Transitioning to Real Estate Brokerage

After taking time to start a family, Naomi took up another position at Royal LePage. What started as a summer job and segue back into the office world, quickly turned into a full-time position where Naomi was responsible for accounting and “everything else” in a very fast-paced environment. With her “fingers in all the pies”, Naomi spent two and a half years making sure the numbers added up, contracts were on point, and that her part of the office was operating at peak efficiency. Having already thrived in other go-go-go-type environments, Naomi’s time at Royal LePage was her gateway into the real estate brokerage world where she’d eventually begin working alongside commercial tenants as well.

Question 2: What was it about real estate that interested you and spurred this transition from the other sectors you had previously been a part of?

“People don’t realize that it’s the organization of the paperwork that makes or breaks a deal and that was exciting to me. I had gotten interested in personal real estate investing as well. When you have your own rental properties, there’s the personal aspect of trying to find tenants who will make make it more than just a property… who’ll make it a home! It was always personally rewarding to experience this point and so venturing into the real estate space professionally just made sense.”

The ABCs of Acquisitions, Business Management, and Communications

After Royal LePage, Naomi spent the next five years in acquisitions for PRNC Enterprise Inc. out of Florida before starting at Cresa Ottawa. Naomi was hired as their Business Manager where she handled everything from admin through to payroll. Having always worked with numbers, now Naomi was learning the ropes of closing deals. It was also there that Naomi first met Darren Fleming. Over the seven years she worked with Darren, Naomi got to observe him and others working hard for their clients. She learned to take clients’ needs seriously, and discuss everything from optimal site selection and lease financing to project management and relocation services.

Question 3: What was the most rewarding aspect of working in commercial real estate having been on the residential side previously?

“When I got into the commercial side of things, I actually found it to be far more interesting than residential. It’s the same rewarding ethos of helping people find a home but now it was for companies — in other words, many people! It was very satisfying to be a part of that team, making things happen for our clients, and watching their businesses thrive as a result.”

Leasing is Life!

Next, Naomi worked for Uniform Developments as a Lease Administrator which provided a different perspective on commercial real estate. Getting to see this business from the developer’s side provided understanding and a truly holistic perspective when it comes to the commercial tenant and landlord relationship. Shortly after, Naomi joined the team at Real Strategy Advisors in the latter half of 2019. Her role as Senior Lease Administrator and licensed real estate practitioner keeps her constantly engaged with clients and requires familiarity with their leasing needs and all the details therein. All her previous experience makes Naomi the perfect team member to see deals through from start to finish while creating trusting bonds with clients predicated on competence and care.

Question 4: What about the team at Real Strategy convinced you to join forces with Darren again to help manage their commercial real estate portfolio?

“Darren, and everyone here at Real Strategy, take clients seriously but also know how to have fun. A productive work ethic is important but balance is also key. Darren and I had always stayed in touch because we have so many similar interests and we work really well together! I’m able to anticipate what’s needed because of our history and dynamic. I’m at Real Strategy because I love what we do and the team we have. It also helps that Darren and I don’t typically forget the same things so we complement each other in that way too!”

New Challenges, New Solutions

For over a year now, work hasn’t been business as usual, and the pandemic has taken a toll on so many aspects of our lives and businesses. Naomi loves that the people at Real Strategy are as close-knit as they are and still find ways to put the “team” in teamwork. From simple reminders to lunchtime check-ins, it’s important to be aware of how COVID-19 impacts each individual and find creative/compassionate ways to accommodate whatever they’re dealing with. Even though deals have become more complicated over the past year and a half, Naomi has been an integral part of helping our clients navigate the pandemic, and in some ways, as much of a face of the business as our CEO himself.

Question 5: What are some of your professional takeaways from COVID-19?

“Looking forward in my career, I’m super excited and know that I’m in the right place and company. I have flexibility/freedom and I’ve recently upgraded my skills, having finished getting my real estate license as well. COVID-19 has brought a lot of us closer despite physical distancing and I find that there are more people touching base and empathy as a result. I’ve had my own personal struggles and we’ve all had to endure changes throughout this time, but it only makes us more resilient.”