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Can you explain a time where you faced adversity or had struggles early on in your career? How did these experiences mold and shape you into the leader you are today?
After college, I worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York. After a few years, I was offered the opportunity to work in the firm’s in Melbourne, Australia office. This was the first time I lived abroad in a country where I didn’t know anyone. I left my comfort zone, advanced my career and fell in love with the country. I lived in the area outside Melbourne called ‘Toorak,’ which is incredibly beautiful.
What did you do in the beginning of starting your business? What risks did you have to take and how did you have the courage to continue to push forward?
After I left B2R, I decided I wanted to create a new company and fund. Naturally, the first step was to go out and raise money. So, I developed a pitch-book with my 10 best investment ideas. When I presented the ideas before potential investors and didn’t find success, I wasn’t dissuaded.
I actually realized that I didn’t need 10 ideas, I only needed one great idea. Four years later, the best of those initial ten ideas that of introducing institutional capital to the bridge lending industry has proven successful. The moral of the story here is that, you only have to pick one unique thing and become the best at it. This strategy focuses your attention and sets you up to be an expert.
What habits, mindset, or perspective have helped you succeed as a business owner?
It is important to understand your customer. I’ve found that the best question to ask is ‘what can we do better?’ Seeking real feedback is critical.
What excites you about your role as CEO currently today?
I am proud to lead my team of more than 50 colleagues who are committed to upholding the highest lending standards, while providing the capital necessary to address American’s housing shortage. As the firm grows, the construction we fund reinvigorates low-income communities by providing new housing stock and additional employment opportunities. It is exciting to play an important part to address the nation’s housing crisis.
What has been your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur over the years?
Starting my own firm two-times over has been incredibly rewarding. Today, I am grateful to the investors who entrust Toorak to serve as responsible stewards of their capital.
What piece of advice do you have to share with other entrepreneurs and CEO’s that are in the early stages of building their company?
Echoing what I said earlier, the key is to find something that’s you’re the best at and differentiated on. You can’t follow the herd and do what 100 other people would do, or else you won’t be able to scale and be successful.
What activities or resources would you recommend other entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Invest in your company.
How do you make sure your company stays ahead in this industry?
The pandemic had a massive impact on our industry and demonstrated that industry-leading companies needed to be adaptable to stay ahead. For example, at Toorak, we temporarily increased our focus on asset management so that we could best serve our customer and our borrowers. Ultimately, we remain focused on credit, customers and delivering for our customers.
Who is someone that has had a significant effect on your career and why?
Dan Pieterzak and I worked together at Deutsche Bank earlier in our careers. We have a great working relationship and I appreciate that as he selected to support Toorak in 2016. Today he sits on the Board of Directors at Toorak.
Is there anything that you wish you could go back and tell yourself at the inception of your company?
The market opportunity is bigger than we expected.
What tools do you use to aid you in your role as CEO to be most efficient, organized, and focused?
Technology keeps me hyper-connected with my team internally and externally with Toorak’s stakeholder network that includes borrowers, lenders, originators and investors.