By Diana Pan, Altus Group
Judy Farhat is a new member of CREW Vancouver, who has just joined us in 2019! We would like to welcome Judy to CREW Vancouver by learning and sharing a few of her insights on her role within the commercial real estate industry.
Judy works in the development world as a Project Manager at Westbank. Read on to learn more about Judy’s background and how she got to her current role with Westbank…
Judy Farhat, Project Manager at Westbank
You recently joined Westbank in Real Estate Development. How did you get to your current role? You have worked in cities all over the world from Beirut, to Tokyo, and now to Vancouver.
I have spent the majority of my life in Lebanon, a small country holding 18 different religions, more than 20 political sects, and where everyone has something to say. I gradually became immersed in social and political activism, freedom of expression, and human rights. My voice was heard through my creativity and design - I was loudest through my architecture. I felt freedom in design that I still feel every day.
It was really my curiosity leading the course of my life by taking me to the places and into the roles that it wanted to explore. It eventually took me to Japan, China, Thailand, and now Vancouver, to experience and expand my understanding of the different cultures and lifestyles.
Today my curiosity has evolved to an interest in the future of real estate development and in what cities could become. I chose Vancouver because there’s something about living in this city today and imagining what it could one day become that keeps me very excited to be here.
You have a background in architecture. How do you leverage your architecture education and skills in a developer’s world? What’s something you wish that those in development who don’t come from architecture backgrounds understand better?
Architecture and development are incredibly intertwined with one another. Creating truly exceptional developments in my opinion requires a deep understanding of the different components that come into play – relationship between man and form, space, light, material, texture, function, form, scale and sense.
I do wish all developers had those foundations in their work, as then we wouldn’t have to accommodate buildings that are hastily designed or constructed. Understanding architecture gives you this power of being able to not only assess development weaknesses, but also create efficient and beautiful solutions.
What’s something that sets Westbank apart from the other developers in this city?
Westbank recognizes the importance of beauty as one of those things that quietly impacts our lives, slowly and surreptitiously. I don’t mean aesthetics, I am just talking about beauty - this poetic quality that I think life has been built upon. I see it in everything – animals, objects, nature, the way the sun rises from the east and sets in the west.
At Westbank, I work on projects that have developed into an understanding of how elements work with one another, like how choosing the layout of a home can impact the lifestyle of its household – the little things…the way your door opens when you come into your place, or how the light shines through your bedroom window in the morning. I have a deep appreciation for that, and I think it is what sets apart great work from exceptional.
You recently joined CREW this year. What inspired you to join CREW and what have you gained since joining?
I owe it to a few wonderful ladies who I had the pleasure of meeting last year. Separately, each one of them recommended CREW as a great way to network with like-minded individuals. So far it has been great, I have met many members who have inspired me in many ways and I look forward for many more to come…
And to finish off, what’s your favourite quote and what does it mean to you?
“Take a deep breath, look far ahead, and keep going.”
Fulfilling your passion comes with patience, vision and perseverance. Those who share an inexorable drive that wakes them up in the morning and fights with them over sleep in the night will understand what I am talking about.
So for those people, I will say: Don’t ever slow down, ride the wave, learn how to surf. Keep on going.
On behalf of CREW Vancouver, we would like to thank Judy for such a thoughtful and beautifully articulated interview. We are looking forward to having Judy as a new member of CREW Vancouver this year and hope that you all will have a chance to connect with her at some point this year.