Meet Vanessa Barbini.

Commercial Real Estate Advisor

Toronto, ON


I'm a Commercial Real Estate Advisor, with a specialization in Tenant Representation in Office Leasing. I help organizations solve problems in their business through choosing the right real estate; they can be HR problems, brand/image problems or simply saving money for other budget items.

I am really passionate about mentorship and hope to be a useful contact for anyone who feels I could be helpful to them and their career aspirations.

What inspired you to enter and pursue this field?

I enjoy sales and client management, and wanted to pursue that in a way that I was helping clients to make large-scale, impactful decisions. It's cool to know that some of the businesses that people use, or certain noticeable parts of a neighbourhood, I helped place there. Having grown up in Toronto, I think it's a really exciting way to help shape the city for people who live and work there.

How did you come to be in this position?

As with many people, I had some twists and turns in my pathway to discovering what I wanted to do. While doing my undergrad at U of Guelph (go Gryphons!!) I applied for a summer job in a business management program that teaches students to run a business through starting a student painting business. Through client and employee management, I realized that I really enjoyed the dynamic aspects of business, and after doing that for two years I accepted a fulltime job as a business coach.

For the next three years I had a blast, learned a lot and had never worked so hard. I think those years were the most formative in terms of my work ethic, my organization skills and my emotional intelligence. It also taught me about burnout, and after three years of burning the candle at both ends, I realized that I had to make a sustainable life choice and I needed to find a new career.

Easier said than done however; it took me about two years to find the industry that was right for me, and was actually a really stressful experience. To deal with the looming decision, I started making a list of the aspects I had enjoyed about previous jobs (or school) in the past and started thinking about what industry I could join that would "feel" similar. In the meantime I was bouncing around just paying the bills through house painting, working retail and managing construction. At times I felt like I was taking a big step back, and even questioned if I was as capable as I have previously believed. After a lot of deliberation, I settled on Commercial Real Estate (CRE), got my license and worked to get into a great Brokerage.

I now LOVE my job, and enjoy specific aspects of it immensely; the flexible scheduled, the fully commissioned paycheck, the opportunity to solve problems for others. I'm very thankful for all the opportunities I've been blessed with, and also thankful that I've been through those specific set of challenges, because they allowed me to find my place doing something fulfilling that never stops challenging me.

What advice would you give young women looking to enter your current line of work?

Advice I would give to a young woman entering CRE - or any results-driven business role - would be to actually write out and define your 'personal brand'. Your personal brand is your values, your strengths and your preferences, and knowing it will help you stay focused and confident while you're learning to be great at what you do.

But most importantly, across all industries, take care of your mental, physical and emotional health. No matter what you feel needs to get done, taking care of you is the most important thing!


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