Stars to Watch 2015: Georgia Collins

CPE0215_stars_Collins_GeorgiaSenior Managing Director, Workplace Strategy, CBRE Group Inc.

What Others Say About Her: “She’s really good at what she does, she’s passionate about what she does and she’s effective,” said Whitley Collins, CBRE’s Americas president of occupier advisory and transaction services. “In the services business, it’s critical that people like you and trust you, and you like her instantaneously and you trust her quicker than you trust anybody else. What we’ve done (with Workplace360) is so much more than just moved into new space; we have changed how people work, we have changed the way clients view us. That’s why I say it’s the most important, transformational thing we’ve ever done—and she’s absolutely been at the tip of the spear.”

Most Proud Of: Playing a key role in CBRE’s implementation of Workspace360, an internal initiative designed to transform the firm’s offices into spaces that promote a collaborative atmosphere and accommodate changing needs. Kicked off in 2012, Workspace360 incorporates such features as office-for-a-day setups and open floor plans in an effort to optimize space, provide flexibility, support mobility and promote interaction.

This high-performing workplace program—CBRE’s way of leading by example for its workplace clients—has been introduced in more than 20 locations worldwide, from the firm’s corporate headquarters in Los Angeles to its Hong Kong office. “We’re getting really good feedback from our people, and I’m certainly proud of that,” Collins said. Additionally, she has been at the forefront as CBRE assists clients in designing work environments and work programs that support them, although she insists it’s a team effort.

Secrets to Success: Part of developing solutions for clients is telling them the story, she says, and doing so in a compelling way. “I think it’s actually probably an underrated skill, not just in real estate but in general: the ability to really succinctly tell a story about where did we start, how did we diagnose the problem, what are the potential solutions that we’ve developed, what are we recommending and why is it the right (recommendation).”

Greatest Challenges: “I think the biggest challenge I face—and it’s pretty much one that everyone faces—is being the kind of professional I want to be while also being the kind of parent I want to be.”

Best Advice Received: Listen. “I was taught early on in my career that listening was probably more important than anything else, so I’ve always tried to hone that skill.”

Advice to Others: The advice that was given to her: Listen.

—Barbra Murray

CPE selected 17 individuals and teams as the 2015 Stars to Watch. Details on their accomplishments appear in the February 2015 issue.