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Meet Janelle Zhang, Managing Director of our Chinatown Office


8 March 2017

This International Women's Day we place the focus on a respected female Senior Manager from our team at CBRE Residential Projects.


1. What sparked your interest in property and how did you start your career in the industry?


About 20 years ago, my first job was as a Paralegal in a lawyers office. Because of my Chinese background, I started attracting more and more Chinese clients to the business, mostly property buyers. Soon afterwards I was invited to work in a real estate agency and pretty quickly became the top sales agent. Unfortunately it was a short time later that the owner decided to close the agency to retire. It was a coincidence and pure luck that I met David Milton, Managing Director of CBRE Residential Projects, who then asked me to join his team. I have been working with him ever since!
2. What do you enjoy most about your job? What drives you?
I feel a strong sense of accomplishment every time I close a deal. I've made many lifelong friends through real estate. Actually, it's what I've enjoyed most about the job. I feel like this type of role really suits me. I know what people are looking for and I'm very happy to help them find the right property. It's very rewarding working with them.
3. What is your Role at CBRE Residential Projects and what does a typical day involve?
This year I was promoted within CBRE Residential Projects to Managing Director of the Chinatown office. My daily activities involve managing and coaching the sales team and reporting sales progress to our clients (developers). I report to and work closely with David Milton in relation to project sales and all things related to team development. This is a really busy role, however, I do manage to spend time with family and always make time to catch up with my friends, some of whom are developers and clients. 
4. When did CBRE Residential Projects open its Chinatown office and why?
CBRE Residential Projects opened the Chinatown office in the heart of Sydneys Chinatown about four and a half years ago. It was a smart move, at the right time and the right place. I started when the office opened, recruiting around 10 sales agents. Very quickly the Chinatown sales team became an integral part of CBRE Residential Projects sales force working across many large projects within Sydney and achieving outstanding results.
5. During your career have you seen women becoming more involved in senior roles in the property industry?
During my career, most of my days have been very busy. I will work 7 days if I have to, to get the job done. I rarely think I've been disadvantaged by being a female sales agent or manager in the property industry. I am a very direct person and I have always worked hard. I think every individual, regardless of gender, has equal opportunity to move up into senior roles within the industry.
6. What advice would you give to women wanting to enter the property industry?
To enter the industry, you will need to work hard and smart. You must work with a real passion for what you do. The industry moves at a fast pace, you must learn quickly from your mistakes to prosper. You need ambition and drive to be successful, to be a top achiever within this industry. Then you will have a lot to enjoy.
7. Do you see the growth of the Real Estate industry continuing in 2017?
Yes, I do believe the property market in Australia will grow in the next few years, especially in 2017. Australia is more and more attractive for people from China who are considering emigrating because of the quality of life, education, safety and stability.
8. What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a project called Prime at Macquarie Park. I have found this to be the perfect example of a project Chinese buyers are looking for. It's located right next door to a large shopping centre, a short walk to the train station and a large university. It's also situated within a large business park where tens of thousands of people work. All of this is attractive to the Chinese buyer. The location, the quality, the whole package really makes me think it is a repeat of what happened in Chatswood around 10 years ago.
9. What are your interests outside of work?
My life is quite simple. I enjoy spending time with my family, watching my kids grow up. I have two dogs at home, they are always around me. I also have many long-term friends. We all enjoy cooking simple Chinese food at home and dine out together from time to time. I love travelling with family and friends but my phone never stops!