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Knowing little about real estate might have seemed like a problem when the Americas managing director of the world’s largest flexible workspace provider landed his first job at IWG.

But Wayne Berger wasn’t a freshman out of school — he had 17 years of experience and was vice president at retailer Staples Canada in 2014 when he was lured by IWG to become its division’s executive vice president. Regus in the country.

“I don’t come from a real estate background,” said Berger, who had a long background in sales. “I got a call from an executive recruiter [from IWG]and that was literally the 16th call asking me to listen to them because they thought it would be such a good fit.”

Berger challenged himself to go through a “deep level of induction” into the world of real estate. He eventually became CEO of the Americas Group of IWG, the UK-based company. largest and most profitable region with over 1,250 locations in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

“I literally spent weeks in our centers, answering the phone, delivering mail, working on photocopiers, talking to customers, doing sales rounds, working on purchases,” Berger said. , adding that he thanks the firm’s broker, Colliers, for teaching him about the industry. “They taught me what I needed to know.”

An avid runner who has completed 30 marathons, Berger immersed himself in the industry in other ways.

“I love being able to walk through a city and reflect on the heritage of the building, what’s behind the architecture, and what the building does today,” Berger said. “Shorts and shoes in a suitcase have always been all I needed.

Berger said coming to IWG would have been a lot harder if he had pretended he knew everything.

“I had my skills, my knowledge and my expertise around developing people and building great teams and companies,” Berger said. “You are given a level of respect because people respect that you were selected for a reason. But it’s easy to lose people incredibly quickly. But it’s also easy to earn respect. I came to focus on listening and being a fierce learner.”

He took the information he learned in those first six months, passed it on to employees, and talked about how important it was to grow the Canadian business based on that feedback.

The executive said what he’s learned from growing a business is that it’s important to take the time to ask questions and remember the steps it took to get there.

Today, Berger said the experience leaves him open to hiring people who don’t have traditional real estate experience.

“What I’ve learned is that you really want to find great people who are aligned with a vision and who not only have the experience and background for the role they’re applying for, but also the attributes and strengths intangibles that can help and uplift and support team members,” Berger said.

resume

Wayne Berger | Americas CEO for IWG PLC
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Current City: Toronto, Ontario
Years in the industry: Eight.
Education: Degrees in Public Relations from Algonquin College and Information Management from Ryerson University.
Hobby: “Chasing my 18 month old baby boy and spending time with my partner and my teenage girls.”
Tips for those new to the industry: “Adopt the three essential rules of treatment: 1. Treat everyone you meet as you would like to be treated. Understand their values ​​and perspectives, goals and backgrounds. 2. Treat your career as an adventure in life. I am a strong believer in taking big, calculated risks and challenging myself to take on the challenge few want and to constantly learn, grow and change.everyone understands the important role they play in the mission and the company’s pursuit, game-changing results and culture are created.”

Everyone in commercial real estate had to start somewhere. First Job explores where careers began.