Cristina Dumitrache, Chief Business Development Officer at Rustler Property Services Romania, spoke to Property Forum about the launch of two new business lines, Brokerage & Consultancy and Project Management, that help the company offer integrated services to real estate companies, but also the role of a manager in mobilizing teams and innovative solutions for the industry.
This interview was first published in Property Forum’s annual listing of "The 50 most influential people on Romania’s real estate market”.
How did Rustler Property Services Romania’s operations evolve during 2022 and what is your outlook for 2023?
2022 was a year of growth for Rustler both in terms of business and professional development within the team. We opened two new business lines – Brokerage & Consultancy and Project Management – which allowed us to diversify our services to our clients alongside our existing ones – Property and Facility Management. For 2023 we are looking forward to continuing the projects in the company’s portfolio from previous years, and at the same time we have already started new collaborations. Thus, we hope that this year will continue to bring us healthy and steady growth at all levels.
What is the structure of Rustler Property Services Romania’s client portfolio today and which are the most profitable segments?
Our client structure is diverse, covering a wide range of activities specific to the Romanian real estate market. The fact that we operate nationwide has enabled us to be able to offer services to some of the most important developers in the logistics, industrial, office, retail and private healthcare sectors. Currently, the Facility Management activity is the one that generates the highest profit of the company’s turnover – Rustler Romania being one of the leading players in this sector. Alongside Facility Management, Property Management and Project Management services have contributed to our business growth in 2022.
What are your main management objectives within the company?
I will start with the development part of our teams – both at team and personal levels. For this we are investing in developing the professional skills of our colleagues by offering them the opportunity to participate in internal and external training initiatives, as well as in the mentoring and coaching programs we started in 2022. The organic and sustainable growth of Rustler Romania’s business is still in our focus and that is why we have also decided to introduce a new segment – Brokerage & Consultancy – on the market that will support this growth.
How did you decide to launch the Brokerage & Consultancy operations? How does it fit into the vision of Rustler Property Services Romania?
Within Rustler Gruppe, the Brokerage & Consultancy service is successfully delivered in Austria. The organic development in the 10 years of local business naturally led us to the need to cover this sector as well, so that we can offer our clients the most diversified One Stop Shop services possible.
My experience of over 25 years in the real estate sector both nationally and internationally was also a factor in helping to define the development strategy of this new department.
Once the decision was made to set up the Brokerage & Consultancy department, we focused our attention on building a team of professionals who shared our company’s values and had enough experience to be trailblazers for this new business. I am very happy to say that in a relatively short time we have managed to recruit what we wanted – I am grateful to my colleagues in the Brokerage department for the trust they have placed in both the company and me for this start.
What are your expectations for the Brokerage & Consultancy department and how will you serve your real estate clients?
It has been very important for me to have chemistry with each of the colleagues I work with because together we are building a department that provides a very good quality service to our clients. Expectations turned into reality when the team was formed and started to work, with the first transactions already happening.
One of the priorities was to develop a portfolio of properties as attractive as possible in order to meet the real estate needs of our clients both in Bucharest and in the country, properties that can be found by visiting the website rustlerproperties.ro. It naturally followed our emergence into the market as a united team offering complex and comprehensive real estate services – from consultancy and real estate transactions to project management, property and facility management.
We place great emphasis on inter-departmental cooperation and collaboration between us and colleagues in other countries where Rustler Gruppe has subsidiaries. This enables us to work to the same quality standards in each market, in some cases with common clients.
In which segments are you looking to expand your presence in the medium and long term?
We have carefully analyzed the market situation and thus decided to operate in the office rental, industrial-logistics and land sales sectors precisely because of the synergy created with the profile of the activities carried out so far in Facility and Property Management.
In the medium and long term, we want to increase our team and grow together so as to ensure a greater coverage of the Romanian real estate market, evaluating step by step the diversification of our activity in other sectors such as retail and residential.
How many employees does Rustler Property Services Romania have and in which segments are you constantly looking for specialists?
At present our company has 150 employees, and we are always looking for new talent. The labour market in Romania is challenging and that is why we focus both on attracting experienced professionals and young people at the beginning of their careers, whom we are eager to help build their careers.
How do you motivate the teams you manage and what do you think are the most important managerial qualities through which you implement the vision of Rustler Property Services Romania?
I am an optimistic and empathetic person and I think these are some of the qualities that motivate those I work with. I see the full side of the glass in different situations and the potential of people. Thus, we focus together on solutions, finding creative, effective and impactful ideas for our clients’ needs.
A big focus in Rustler is on the professional and individual growth of our colleagues, which is one of our main management goals. Over the last 4 years I have worked on a personal level attending two coaching schools and this year I was certified as a Practitioner Level in the European Mentoring & Coaching Council, which has helped me to be able to work at a higher level of connection with the people in the teams I manage, sharing both my experience gained in the real estate industry where I have been working since 1998, as well as talking closely with each of them, listening and supporting them in their growth and development.
Because I have had the opportunity to work in several Central European markets and have had the opportunity to experience economic crises in real-time, it is my duty and joy as a professional and leader to share my knowledge further. And I am very happy when we go further together.
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