Inside the Industry – An Interview with Melissa Heer & Dolly Munga

BOMA Calgary offers a mentorship program for its property management members. This month, we interview the 2014-15 mentorship pairs to discuss their experiences and thoughts on mentorship. Today, we catch up with Melissa Heer, Sr. Property Manager at Enright Management & Dolly Munga, Staff Assistant at Hines Canada.

How did you get into commercial real estate? Was there a defining moment or key person in your life that influenced you most in your career path?

Mentor (Melissa Heer): Like most people in our industry, I got in by chance. It was after I graduated high school, I was looking online for oil & gas jobs. I ended up getting a job as an administrative assistant at Avison Young and I fell in love with it. The rest is history!

Protégé (Dolly Munga): I worked for a financial institution prior and I felt unsatisfied with my position and my skills underutilized. I came for my first interview and they called it the “sniff test” which was followed by a few more thereafter. I liked the atmosphere of the company and the individuals from the first interview. Falling in love with the industry and my job was by stroke of luck. I guess I struck gold to some extent.

A handful of people continue to be influential in my learning curve. From the security guard at the lobby to the General Manager, more often than not, there are those “HUH …..I didn’t know that” moments when I talk to people I surround myself with at work. 

Why do you feel mentorship is important?

MH: As a property manager there really are no wrong ways of doing things. There are efficient ways and creative ways and almost everyone has a different experience. If we can pass on our experience to help make the industry better, everyone wins. The industry is filled with experienced professionals and passing on their experience really highlights their passion for what they do. I wouldn’t be where I am today without mentors.

DM: I think mentorship programs/ having a mentor it’s very influential to a young professional or someone starting off in a new industry. I think people often think that just because a person is training you for a position that makes them a mentor. To some extent…. it can be one in the same. In my option, I think a mentor is a career counselor. Someone who is ripe in experience and is also passionate in what they do and aspire to pass on their knowledge and experiences to younger or new generations in the industry.

What is the most significant thing you’ve learned from this experience?

MH: I learned how to be an effective listener and provide advice rather than instructions. It is helping me in my current role as a manager and leader as well.

DM: Perception is key.

Did this program provide value to you?

MH: Absolutely.

DM: I walk away appreciating this program and its objective.

What would you advise or suggest for the future participants of BOMA Mentorship program?

MH: Make the time to meet regularly. Whether it is a set day monthly or semi monthly, put it in your calendar and treat it as any other meeting. Getting together or speaking on the phone regularly is key.

DM: Definitely make more time to meet and touch base.

Your experience can help a professional find success in their career, and you might just find you learn from them as well. Apply for the program, encourage your staff to do so, or refer us to your colleagues! The program begins in November and only requires a few hours of time per month! Learn more and sign up for the 2015/2016 program!

Submitted on behalf of the BOMA Communications Committee

Aydan Aslan