Alia Jamal: Properties, Power and Possibilities
Coco Chanel once said, “Keep your heels, head, and standards high.” This piece of advice from one of the world’s most iconic, powerful and influential women, perhaps, defines best the work attitude and approaches of Alia Jamal, Head of commercial and Leasing at Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty.
Assertiveness that inspires. Confidence and dominance that drive business’ growth and retention. Opinions that matter. Ethics that exceed expectations. And potentialities that defy what’s impossible and get things done. Beyond those leopard stilettos, Alia is a real estate expert who walks high with visions, ambition, optimism, fresh business perspectives, and unceasing passion for doing more and being more.
Alia began her real estate career 10 years ago in London’s renowned estate agency, Foxtons. Her experience at Foxtons brought her success within the London property market and her consistent performance led her into management. In 2012, Alia decided to take her career further by taking a new challenge and joining the Dubai real estate industry.
From being a leasing agent who consistently met her targets to spearheading a specialised division of the GCC affiliate of the prestigious Sotheby’s International Realty®, Alia shares her experiences, advice and philosophy for a successful working life.
With a thriving career in London’s real estate, what made you decide to move to Dubai?
AJ: Upon a short holiday visit in 2011, I witnessed the drastic changes in the Dubai property market, and that’s when I decided to move to Dubai in 2012 to take advantage of a growing and innovative market. I started with ERE HOMES and eventually became an asset to the company, working initially in residential leasing. Within 18 months, I was advanced to Leasing Director.
What were the key factors behind your rapid success, considering that back then you were new to the Dubai real estate industry?
AJ: I believe that being consistent with reaching targets and maintaining a top-performer status on multiple occasions played a significant role in my rapid success in the industry. With these successes, I became an integral part not only of the growth of the employer’s Leasing Division but also in implementing my expertise to all the divisions and aiding the expansion.
I believe that pushing past your comfort zone and continuing to challenge yourself are critical career success moves. From helming the Leasing Division of the organization, I then went on to challenging myself once again by establishing the commercial Division with a strong team of individuals, aiming to provide all business clients with a one-stop-shop solution.
In 2016, when Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty acquired ERE HOMES, the company appointed you as its Head of Commercial and Leasing Division. Tell us more about this division.
AJ: Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty’s Commercial and Leasing Division is composed of 30 global property consultants. Our services encompass residential leasing and commercial sales and leasing. Since the merger with Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty, our team has expanded and we have a very strong presence in all the prime areas of Dubai.
Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty’s Commercial and Leasing Division – what sets it apart from the competition?
AJ: We have about 30 global property consultants – all of whom are trained by professionals who have had a proven track record and successful careers in leasing. A two-week training course commences – learning about the step-by-step process of leasing with a thorough knowledge research of their designated areas. This is expected from our global property consultants so that they can present their designated area in detail to their peers/networks.
What interests you about the commercial and leasing division over residential sales?
AJ: The increase of foreign investment in lieu of global brands relocating allows me to be at the forefront of current market trends, along with the satisfaction of working in a fast paced environment.
How would you compare the real estate market of Dubai to that of London?
AJ: London’s property market has tax implications for investors with lower yields, as well as with uncertainty in lieu of Brexit and monetary exchange rates. The property market in the UK has dropped as a whole around 25 percent. This in turn rules in favour of Dubai where the investors’ confidence is positive in light of the dirham being pegged to the dollar, together with various events such as the Dubai Expo 2020, and the investments in the expansion of Al Maktoum Airport with an excess of USD 5 billion. In addition, numerous new projects, such as theme parks and travel and tourism initiatives attract foreign investment, new employment and industry growth as a whole which translates to higher demand.
What do you like most about working with the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand?
AJ: The brand speaks volumes. Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to network with the real estate world and offer an international service to all clients with commercial and residential requirements.
“Dubai is a city of vast opportunity” – what’s your take on that?
AJ: Working and living in Dubai offers so many opportunities. Along with the weather and the eclectic lifestyle, what I like most is the spearheading environment, constantly evolving with innovative developments, which motivates me to consistently grow as a better individual and working professional. Simply put, in Dubai, the possibilities are endless and it’s all up to you to utilise it to your advantage.