The company Brasswater, previously known as Groupe Quint is synonymous with real estate acquisition in Quebec. What started as a vision from Founder Ian Quint and his assistant Melissa Boyer, quickly turned into reality as an established real estate empire. With @Brasswater_Inc growing exponentially over the last year, we got to catch up with the team on how they’re developing internally as well. Having acquiredthousands millions of square feet of industrial and commercial real estate in Canada to now entering the US markets, lots of changes are happening to maintain its quality and reputation. Quint realizes that the growth of his company comes from the quality of the people working on the inside. He invests in people, and they prove to be an asset in their success formula. A place that promotes gender equality by actively placing women in leadership positions it is the perfect example that when women thrive, business thrive!
Meet Melissa Boyer, co-founder of the brand and now Executive Director. She has been Quint’s right hand woman before the company was even established. She remembers it vividly, as being a time when Quint had a vision and clear execution plan. “It was exciting to be part of something so big. [at the time] it was just us two in our office, working on everything from acquisition, finance, to dealing with tenants and managing our real estate portfolio. Now it’s completely different – I hardly speak to Ian about work anymore”.
How long ago was that now?
We’ve been on our own for the last seven years.
How has your experience been working in the development industry as a woman?
I love what I do, it hardly even feels like work. We have a lot of people in our team that are involved and passionate about the entire process. You’ll learn on the way, you’ll ask questions and you’ll move forward. Unlike big corporations where there is a hierarchy element, our firm allows us to speak to each other directly and move faster.
What is the hardest part to manage in your day to day operation?
Hiring good people, as we’re growing so fast! We need more people, new people that can help us with our mission. We have four postings for job positions at the moment, if we could we would hire more people! The biggest criteria is giving 110%, and finding people who work hard. The ones we have are so precious and hard working, they have a good sense of humour, they’re smart they have it all! Finding other talent to recruit to our team is essential to our growth.
Where do you see the company growing to next?
The sky is the limit, I knew it from day one when I met Ian. He will always say “I won’t do a deal if I’m not having fun. It has to be worth it”. He has this vision that he knows right away, what changes he would make to the building, what tenant he would put in there and he has so many contacts he’s just able to make it happen so quickly. His head is running so fast so it’s very inspiring to work with someone like that. Most of us are pretty quick with stuff like that too. Then we also have others who slow us down and make sure we think of all the details, so it’s a perfect balance in our team.
We got to speak with Head of Legal, Claudia DeMinico who is a member of the law Society of Ontario and the Florida bar.
How has Groupe Quint empowered you to lead in your own role?
Groupe Quint has empowered me by giving me autonomy over my duties, encouraging me to present ideas and engaging in open dialogue not only about legal affairs, but various other matters pertaining to the company. I am acknowledged, appreciated and respected, as are the other employees, and this creates a sense of belonging which makes for an incredibly positive work-environment.
An important element of empowerment is that it be continuous in order for it to be effective. It’s also a process which takes time to achieve and from my discussions with various colleagues, the president has been fostering this atmosphere of employee empowerment for years. By simply looking at our track record, this year alone we’ve acquired over ten properties and we aren’t slowing down. This wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of each dedicated employee.
What does success represent to you?
People often try to chase down the idea of being successful, which, in today’s society, is usually measured by your education, your popularity and your net worth. I measure success in two aspects: success you bring to yourself and success you bring to others. For the former, success is gained when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and realize your capabilities. Working at Groupe Quint has brought me out of my comfort zone, and it has enabled me to excel in my role as the head of the legal department. For the latter, success is measured by the positive impact I can make on others, whether in my personal or professional life.
A great example of grit and resilience comes from Terri Sauro, CFO. She joined Groupe Quint at the end of 2016.
“The company was still very much in start-up phase, she comments. I originally joined them as a consultant to assist the president to set up the foundation for the company’s rapid growth. After a few months, I accepted the full time position of CFO of the company.”
How do you see your work environment in terms of helping you grow personally and professionally?
Our president’s collaborative leadership style creates a work environment that empowers every employee to work closely together with an entrepreneurial spirt. His enthusiasm and passion for what we do is infectious, and it motivates all of us to contribute to the success of the company and to the success of our individual careers.
As a woman in the industry, do you find it is an inclusive place to work?
Yes, I do. Group Quint is very multi-cultural, and we have many men and women with interdependent skills working together in various positions at every level of the organization. As a member of the senior management team, I feel the respect and acceptance of my role and my leadership within the group and within the organization. We have strong, talented women in various senior roles in operations, legal, leasing and accounting.
What does success represent to you?
Being a “goal oriented” person and a “problem solver”, achieving corporate, professional, and personal goals represents success to me. Success is also the ability to evaluate and correct my course of action when things may derail the achievement of my goals.
We’re looking forward to watching Groupe Quint dominate the US market, and to continuously expand all over Canada. To find more out more information about working with the Group,
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