WE ARE IN IT FOR THE LONG TERMAlbert Lee, Head of Property and Asset Management, South China
Albert is, in many ways, a man of commitment. He has been with JLL since the first day of embarking on his career 30 years ago. When he chats about his work, he does it with the familiarity and pride that comes with growing with the firm.
He even remembers his first day at the property management office in Hong Kong. “The team had a welcome lunch for me. We didn’t even have a dozen members in the office then,” he recalls.
Today, that same business line has grown to a size of about 200 employees.
“It is well-known that JLL now has the biggest property management team in Hong Kong. It is a leader in the real estate industry today,” he beams.
Staying in one firm for 30 years may sound daunting – and impossible – for some, but for Albert, he puts it down to one simple reason: He loves it at JLL.
In a business that can be seen as aggressive, Albert appreciates the warm and open company culture. “The company has always had a strong emphasis on human touch and people-to-people relationships,” he adds.
Another reason: The company provides plenty of opportunities for employees to develop themselves.
“Our Hong Kong office is often described as the Shaolin monastery,” he says, referring to the well-known icon in the martial arts world. “You can learn anything you want. The opportunity is there – but of course you have to reach out to grab it, like Shaolin disciples lunging outwards in their moves.”
Albert himself took the challenge to move to Guangzhou to oversee the property and asset management business for South China in 2008. By then, he had been with JLL’s Hong Kong office for some 20 years.
Heading to Guangzhou meant starting from scratch to work with a new set of clients, building new relationships and getting acquainted with a new culture. “Over here in China, you really have to connect with your clients. It is important to develop a personal relationship with them,” he says.
But some things remain the same, such as Albert’s ambitions to build and strengthen his team. In the last nine years in Guangzhou, he has seen his team grow from 10 members to well over 40 today.
And he’s hardly about to slow down. If anything, he’s all the more determined to keep pushing ahead.
“There are still busy days ahead,” he concludes. “I hope to expand the department further and raise JLL’s profile in the southern China region.”