Ayesha Shafiq’s career at Dream started when she launched into a monologue explaining why she is a good fit for the company. It was during one of her interviews; she received an offer about an hour later.
“It was my first job offer ever, and I was sold,” Ayesha remembers. “I was completely surprised by having so many interviews for an analyst position, but it really showed me that they were thorough and that they invest in people.”
Ayesha’s determination paid off: she is now Vice President of Investments, focusing on Canadian commercial properties, and has had incredible opportunities and support along the way. Her current role is hard to define, “which is why I love my job,” she says. “There is nothing standard about it.” Her days usually include managing her team to make sure that deals keep moving forward, talking to brokers and people in the industry to find out about potential deals, and assess possible strategic partnerships that Dream can take advantage of.
“When I was writing a job description to hire an analyst for my team, I wanted to write ‘be able to do everything and roll with the punches,” laughs Ayesha.
One of her biggest challenges in her time at Dream was building an entirely new team. The team she put together is more junior than the previous, but “they learn what they need to learn, they work hard, I trust them and they trust me.”
A trusting and safe environment is something Ayesha highly values, and one of the things she loves about working at Dream. After her first two years with the company, she left to work at Whiterock REIT to gain investment experience. She had just done her first acquisition, and was completely hooked. “Michael Cooper was very supportive. He said ‘You’re young; you need to go try things. Come home when you’re ready.’”
As it turns out, that homecoming occurred sooner than Ayesha had anticipated when, two years later, Dream acquired Whiterock. The company she came back to was already much larger than when she had left, which was unsettling at first. “I was a little taken aback by so many unfamiliar faces, but everyone was really awesome,” says Ayesha. “It’s something we do really well: we hone in on people who fit our culture. Over the years, we’ve done an amazing job of making sure that people who fit our culture are recognized for it.”
Ayesha describes Dream’s culture as one of openness. “It’s having the freedom and confidence to speak about what you want to speak about, and to who you want to speak to about it, without having to filter yourself to avoid any negative repercussions.”
“I always equate coming to work with going to school,” she continues. “I come to work with my friends, have lunch and meetings with my friends, see my friends after work and make plans with them on weekends. No one in the industry gets it.”
There is no denying that Ayesha’s determination and attitude led her to seize unique opportunities during her time at Dream, including the chance to lead investments for Dream Industrial when it first launched – an endeavour that entailed doubling the size of the REIT within six months of its inception. But through it all, she is proud to work for a company that brings together so many great people.
“For me, building communities starts here, in our offices. We spend so much time together that we have to make sure it’s a safe place for everyone.”