After graduating with a degree in accounting from the University of Alberta in 2015, Caitlyn knew that spending the rest of her career in that field wasn’t for her. “I had a clerical accounting job while I was a student in university. It was a lot of the same thing, and became tremendously monotonous,” Caitlyn explains. “I knew I needed to go down a different path, and to seek out an opportunity and industry that I’m truly passionate about.”
In spite of this, when presented with an opportunity to apply for an accounting position at Canada ICI, Caitlyn says that it sparked her interest. “I figured I would apply to the accounting department to see if I could get a foot in the door,” she says, “to learn about the company and what they were doing, and see if there was room to move once I was inside.”
After just a few months working in the accounting department, others took notice that Caitlyn was developing an aptitude for the commercial real estate industry. At that point, Dale Klein and Samuel Khan — the portfolio manager of mortgage investment services at Sector Mortgage Management, one of Canada ICI’s investor clients — saw an opportunity for Caitlyn to apply her considerable talents to a mortgage analyst role. “Accounting wasn’t my number one choice,” she explains, “and it sounded like an interesting opportunity, and something totally new.”
After proving herself as a mortgage analyst for just over a year, in December of 2017, Caitlyn made another major career transition — this time to a brokerage role with Canada ICI. “Toward the end of my time at Sector, I was doing a lot of the underwriting and analysis for Dale’s existing brokerage clients,” Caitlyn says. “I had previous discussions with him about potentially moving to that side of the business, and what that would look like.”
One major advantage Caitlyn had while making her transition from analyst to broker was the opportunity to work closely with Dale. Even during her time with Sector, Caitlyn worked in Dale’s office, which allowed her to accelerate her understanding of the industry. “The biggest thing I’ve taken from being in Dale’s office is that anything is possible in this industry. When I first started, everything was new to me, especially not having a background in commercial real estate at all,” she recalls.
“Whenever a new problem or a new deal comes up, Dale has an answer or a solution that I never would’ve thought of at first. I think learning to apply his style of questioning and his style of reasoning has been such a valuable lesson to me.”
One of the most important lessons Caitlyn has learned through Dale’s mentorship is how to solve problems by focusing on the greater good, rather than simply finding a path for herself to navigate an issue. “I know that when I have a problem, my first thought should be, how do I approach this so that it makes sense for everyone?” Caitlyn says. “How do I approach this so that I find the best solution for Canada ICI? That’s something I picked up from working closely with Dale.”
When reflecting on her own journey so far, Caitlyn says she’s grateful for the opportunities she’s earned, and has no doubt that ICI will continue to develop the next generation of brokers. “The management team here has a good eye for people that might do well on the brokerage side,” she explains. “If someone approaches them and says ‘I think I’m a good fit for this,’ they’re open to giving it a shot.”