Jessica Brummell, Director, Commercial Real Estate Finance at HSBC
Intro: Jessica Brummell has a distinguished career in Commercial Real Estate Lending and has worked with HSBC for over 13 years. In her current role as Director, Commercial Real Estate Finance at HSBC, Jessica manages a large portfolio of BC’s best real estate developers assisting them with large scale construction financing and investments. In this Membership Spotlight, Jessica provides insight into her role, career growth, tips, and advice she has learnt along the way.
Q: Jessica, thank you for being our Member Spotlight! As a new member, what originally drew you to join CREW? Can you share with us a few things you are hoping to or have gained since joining?
CREW presents a great opportunity to simply meet more people in the industry in a friendly atmosphere. Knowing a diverse group of people within both real estate and banking is such an important resource for success on the job --and simply put these relationships make the day to day a lot more fun!
Q: You have had a very successful career at HSBC with continuous growth within the company, what originally drew you to their commercial real estate sector and what advice do you have for other professionals looking to work their way up?
What appealed to me about real estate finance was the calibre of customers that HSBC has fostered over the years within this industry. They are diverse, dynamic and care about their banking relationships. The role also enables a unique front row perspective on the changing landscapes of the neighborhoods and cities we live in. We get to be involved with the some of the largest residential and commercial transactions in the region financing these projects from land acquisition through to construction and sale.
My advice to someone new to the industry is to ask questions and be curious because in real estate there are so many aspects and moving pieces and it’s ok to not know it all right away. You will always be learning and this will make the day to day more enjoyable and may take your career in trajectories you didn’t expect. Secondly develop solid communication skills. Emails are often someone’s first impression of you professionally. Double check your writing always. Take a business writing course if you need it. You want someone to trust and understand you so keep it concise. If something needs more context or discussion, then make sure it’s a conversation over the phone or in person and that you are prepared and know what you want to say and then of course make sure you listen!
Q: What are your favourite aspects of your job/ what motivates your success and drive?
My favourite aspect of my job are the people I get to work with: the diverse customers, colleagues and related professionals at all levels. I want people to know I care about the outcome so striving to be good at my job, to be counted upon, reliable and honest are my main drivers.
Q: Due to the ongoing COVID crisis, our industry has seen a big shift… do you have any tips for staying engaged with clients & colleagues during these times?
Make an effort to reach out to contacts even just to have a 10 minute chat- even if you don’t have a specific agenda or issue to discuss. Everyone is busy and dealing with new and different challenges but I think everyone is missing the connections. People appreciate the call and you will likely learn something too.
Q: What is the best piece of career and/or life advice you have received that stuck with you?
Advice I try to remember: Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know and if you are feeling misunderstood or are having trouble solving a problem, pick up the phone and have a conversation. It’s usually the best and quickest way to come to an agreement or solution.
Q: Outside of work, what are your hobbies/passions and what advice do you have for maintaining a good work/life balance to be able to enjoy them?
I’m an avid international traveller. If I’m not on a trip I’m planning one so the current travel restrictions have been a real challenge this year. That being said I’ve been able to satisfy some of my cravings for new experiences, adventure, food and drink that travel brings me by getting out to different parts of BC and it’s been wonderful. I think it is important to remember that time off from work and email is so important and it may feel like you’re going to miss out on something but you’ll be so much better when you are back if you’ve had a break. Trusting someone to cover you, even just for a few days is good for both you and that person’s career development too.
Q: When international travel is safe again, what is the first destination on your bucket list?
I had planned to go to Copenhagen and Berlin this May but obviously that was postponed so that may be one of my first trips overseas. I also dream of getting back to Japan as I haven’t been since 2009 and Northern Spain and Portugal have also been on my list for some time.