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Bay Area Power Women: 5 Questions With CBRE's Georgia Collins

This limited series profiles Bay Area Power Women who have helped shape Bay Area cities, neighborhoods, businesses and lifestyles. These women will be honored at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event in San Francisco on May 30.

Georgia Collins is the global co-lead for CBRE Host, the brokerage's service offering that brings together concierge-quality services and a technology platform aimed at the employee workplace experience. Collins previously led CBRE's Workplace practice in the Americas, where she helped companies create office environments that could land and keep top talent. Before she joined CBRE, she led strategic business consultancy for DEGW's North American practice and worked as an urban planner for Sasaki Associates.

CBRE Host Global co-Lead Georgia Collins with her husband, Chris, and son, August (and a special guest at a friend's birthday party)

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Collins: CBRE Host is creating for the office what we’ve had for some time outside of it: great in-person customer experiences, enabled by easy-to-use technology. Things that should be simple at the office, aren’t. We are training dedicated workplace experience teams to make you feel as welcome in the office as you do in a well-serviced restaurant or hotel. We are building technology that makes it as easy for you to find a colleague or an available conference room as it is to summon a car or a four-course meal. Host is designed to help you spend your time at work more productively.

Bisnow: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career and how did you achieve it?

Collins: I am most proud of finding and mentoring great talent and building strong teams. For me, this isn’t an achievement so much as it is a constant work in progress. The path of least resistance too often leads to teams with people who are similar, but so much good comes from assembling people who bring different perspectives. This requires taking the time to figure out people’s superpowers, nurturing and protecting their creativity and allowing them the space to try new things and reimagine old things in new ways. I know I’ve succeeded when a team hits or exceeds a milestone and/or when a particular individual gets tapped to step up and take on a new challenge. There is no better feeling.

Bisnow: How have you seen companies change the way they address wage and gender inequality in recent years?

Collins: The topic of wage and gender inequality are considerably more front and center today than they ever have been. We’re having this conversation inside organizations and in public. The increased awareness is good — I feel like we’re finally moving beyond “does this exist?” and onto more constructive debate about why it exists, what we can do about it and the fact that we all have roles to play in solving for it.

Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?

Collins: Have an opinion and don’t be afraid to share it! Our clients hire us for a reason — they seek us out precisely because our expertise gives us a point of view they don’t have. By and large, they are not asking us to reaffirm what they already know; they are asking us to challenge their status quo. We do our best work when we listen closely to their business needs and then respond thoughtfully with an informed perspective on how those needs translate to real estate.

Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?

Collins: I’m not sure I’d call it unwinding, but when I’m not working, I usually try to spend as much time with my 8-year-old as possible. He is a constant source of joy, inspiration and energy. Oh, and my husband — he is pretty awesome too. The three of us have a lot of fun together. When I’m alone (which isn’t very often), I love to escape into a good book, preferably fiction.

Meet CBRE Host Global co-Lead Georgia Collins at Bisnow's Bay Area Power Women event May 30 at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.