Ciaran Bird, CBRE

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It's the beginning of another February week and we have the perfect antidote to the Monday blues: our interview with Ciaran Bird, the UK Managing Director of CBRE! For those that may not know, CBRE Group, Inc. is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, that has been included in the Fortune 500 since 2008, ranking #214 in 2017. It also has been voted the industry’s top brand by the Lipsey Company for 16 consecutive years, and has been named one of Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” in the real estate sector for five years in a row.

Read on to find out the importance of networking in person (the heart of the CREation ethos) and what career aspirations he had before entering the property industry, bonus points if you guess before reading.

Hi Ciaran, a huge thank you for speaking us today. To start off, could you briefly detail your career journey from the start to where you are today.

Well, having decided to leave school at the age of 16 to become a professional rugby player in a sport that at the time, wasn’t professional(!), I decided to apply to Estate Agents, as I thought I would be good at selling big houses! 

Having started my career as an office junior at ‘Fletcher King’, I very quickly convinced my employers that I could be a good retail agent and joined the retail department.

After a year and a half, my boss at the time tapped me on the shoulder and said:

“We won’t be able to give you a salary increase this year. However, I have managed to get you a job at ‘Clive Lewis & Partners’ who are in the building next door”. 

Having worked for the legend Clive Lewis for approximately 2 years and met a number of characters that are still in the retail business today, I then decided to join the very small business known as ‘Dalgleish & Co’. 

13 years later, Malcolm Dalgleish decided to sell us to a big green corporate business and within 6 months I had taken on the challenge of becoming the Managing Director of the retail business, and in 2013, I became the UK Managing Director of CBRE. 

Amazing. So, as a leader in the property industry, what do you think will be an important theme that will shape the future of the industry?

Embrace innovation and technology and the rapid pace of change. 

Looking back on your career, if you could go back to the beginning what advice would you give to your younger self?

Physically meet as many people as you possibly can at the earliest opportunity.  Whatever anyone asks you to do, do it better and quicker than they could possibly have asked for!  You can achieve whatever you want in your career!

Thank you again for speaking to us and lending some much needed inspiration on this rainy day! We hope that all our readers enjoyed this interview as much as we did and feel ready to take ont the week, forging your own special path in the industry. Remember to keep up to date with everything CREation by signing up to our mailing list.

Harri John