Discussing scope of work details over dinner is never a bad thing, particularly when the setting is Newport Beach. In doing so last week I also enjoyed a very good lesson on leveraging change as a catalyst for career growth and brand transformation, even amid brutal economic uncertainty.
Aleya Chattopadhay is a Change Agent who also happens to be the Chief Marketing Officer for Brookfield Residential Property Services. That means brand strategy supporting over 50,000 real estate professionals who process over $80 billion of real estate annually out of more than 1,600 locations. Big job with a brand portfolio that has grown significantly through strategic acquisition during the last few years. Bold moves that align with her own approach to business perfectly.
During the great recession her career arc resembled “a hockey stick.” No sitting on the sidelines playing it safe. Today, she is perfectly positioned to put her stamp on the reinvention of this new kind of Real Estate company. How did she get there so fast (as in warp speed fast)? Her success story includes sound advice for anyone excited about the opportunity that exists when thinking differently about a business, brand, strategy or career.
In her own words she is “addicted to change.” We laughed about that but the lesson includes adopting a mental framework that confronts and conquers fear, consistently. Constantly stretching, she acknowledged that being uncomfortable means growth is happening. In the last three years alone she has worked (and lived) in India, London and just recently relocated to Newport Beach. Her career ascent continued with each stop. She is uniquely qualified to deal with the accelerated pace of change because she embraces it as the next opportunity. Aggressively. That has included plenty of personal sacrifice and a bit of professional fearlessness. That is the hard work that gets rewarded in a time where talent and global experience trumps tenure (or title).
We talked about the realities of the great recession. She acknowledged the challenges of growth in a time of global decline. However, she made a resolute decision not to participate in the “recession in her own mind”. Essentially, she decided to sit this one out. For her that meant focusing on the things she could control and the opportunity to accelerate her own growth even if the path meant going around the world and back. That might seem easy sitting in Newport Beach now. It wasn’t. But it was worth it. Not just for the next job but for the opportunity to go places, meet people, collect meaningful experiences and pass another test.
We also talked about the importance of fit. “Fit for purpose. Fit for people.” Contributing to a work effort that you believe in, that makes a difference, that has significance beyond your own self interests matters. That is when and where you’ll most likely do your best work. It isn’t just the work but often how you are doing the work and who you are doing the work with that makes the experience meaningful.
The who part has a pretty profound impact. The opportunity to work with (and for) people like Aleya challenge our own approach to change and transformation. That is a gift we could all benefit from receiving. Who is challenging your approach to transformation, change and growth in this new world of work?
Her approach may sound like common sense. It is far from common practice. Most people prefer to play it safe, settle in and work in the confines of the comfort zone. That is why the Change Agent has an advantage. Adaptation skills are highly coveted by progressive organizations looking to advance. I have every confidence that Aleya and the team are just getting started.
Should be fun to watch.