May 11, 2015
We often bring to you inspiring stories of our members or budding entrepreneurs, who in many ways have shared their wisdom and encouraged us to never stop dreaming high. Today, we bring you a very relatable life journey of one of our partners – Mr. Shaju Thomas.
Our partners/ agents have been our external support systems, and we are glad to have them as a part of the journey, which brings us to our next Humans of iKeva story.
They say that one of the basic rules of happiness is to either love what you do or to do what you love. Shaju Thomas chose to adopt the latter principle and today he is the Director of the Commercial Brokerage Department at Colliers International – one of the best global commercial real estate services organizations in the world.
What was Thomas’ path to discovering what he wanted to do? What factors helped him attain his goal? How does a Director of an organization still manage to maintain a perfect work-life balance? What was his career strategy? Or rather, was there any strategy at all? Let’s find out.
As a child, Shaju Thomas, like any other typical student wasn’t very clear about what he wanted to become in life. Despite the fact that his siblings were ambitious and in fields like medicine and linguistics, Thomas never felt intimidated or overshadowed by their goals. Thomas, boldly, went on to pursue Masters in English Literature from Madras University, MBA from Anna University and finally Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology fromIHM (Institute of Hotel Management).
With such a diverse academic background, Thomas eventually began his career with the hotel and hospitality industry. The hospitality world may not have been his dream sector, but this did not make him disinclined to learn from his experience there.
“I adapted the art of multi-tasking and the knack forgetting things always right”, recollects Thomas.
Moreover, it was in this field that he learnt a vital trick of any communication/ negotiation related to the trade. His time in the Hospitality industry showed him the importance of valuing and empathizing with your customer.
With new lessons learned, Thomas went on to join CBRE Group, world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm that has a legacy of over 110 years. From 2002 to 2008, he climbed the corporate ladder with various posts in the Facilities Management Department only to realize that he wanted to do something more creative and enterprising. This was when the turning point came in his career.
Thomas decided to speak to his boss about his dilemma and was grateful to him for understanding his state of mind.
“My boss made amends by transferring me to the Consulting and Commercial Brokerage Service Department. He was truly my mentor for he was the only one who understood me and my capabilities so well.”
Thomas was finally into his field of interest but in 2015 a new adventure was waiting for him.
Only to prove Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy of Needs right, by 2015 Thomas began to feel the need for a more demanding and stimulating work.“That’s why I moved to Colliers International where I actually had to try and build the team as Colliers needed to build its existence in India, in terms of visibility, brand value and market share”, comments Thomas.
“My primary job is to work with clients who need office space. My team and I try to work with various office providers like iKeva. We promote their spaces and act as a tenant representative. We are like an extended marketing arm for folks like iKevaand we add value to their real estate. This is how I got connected withiKeva”, Thomas remarks as he explains about his work.
Commenting on how it all works and what he loves the most about his work, Thomas continues to say, “We build such relationships with the clients that eventually we become the one stop shop for all their real estate requirements. Also, we just don’t act as a negotiator; we partner with the client and help them take important and informed decisions. To accomplish this, the first thing that I have to do is build my client’s trust and I think that gives me a bigger high than just getting the business.”
Seeing his involvement and dedication towards his work, it’s hard to imagine that Thomas still has the stamina and scope to maintain a perfect work-life balance. This is what Thomas had to say when asked about the secret behind this, “See, real estate business is absolutely striking, what happens is that you may have a fantastic year this time and you might have a lousy one the next year. Sometimes, I have already built a rapport, a connection with a client over a period but all of a sudden due to certain reasons the deal is canceled. Just like that, in a snap.
I think this is the moment that calls for a lot of emotional & mental strength to be able to handle and not get it into your system. I don’t let all these things get into me after I get back home. Because if you let all this get into your head, you will not be at peace.”
Apart from following this philosophy, Thomas also believes that spending ample time with his 6-year-old daughter is not only important but also a great stress buster. When he is not playing the role of a director or a father he is found in studios fulfilling his lesser-known hobby – lending his voice for recording narrations and voice-overs.
His journey so far has been quite interesting as it teaches us the three Cs of life: Choices. Chances. Changes. You must make a CHOICE to take a CHANCE or your life shall never CHANGE!