Growing up in Canada, 2015 NAIOP Developing Leaders Award winner Max Vo always knew that he would dedicate his career to commercial real estate. He drew inspiration from his family’s story of emigrating as refugees from Vietnam and building successful careers in commercial real estate in their new country.
Today, Vo is the chief investment officer for R2CROWD, a Canadian national real estate debt and equity crowdfunding platform. In his current role, he oversees the due diligence of the company’s investment opportunities and manages relationships with institutional investors. Previously, Vo worked as vice president, asset and portfolio management, for Barnhart Asset Management, a boutique real estate private equity firm. He has directly managed $2.5 billion in properties totaling 30 million square feet located in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico over the course of his career.
Vo joined NAIOP Greater Toronto in 2008, has served on the chapter’s Developing Leaders Committee and Suburban Toronto Sub-committee, and was honored with the 2008 REX Developing Leader Award for his achievements. Vo also makes a difference in his community; he has served in leadership roles of several non-profit organizations over more than a dozen years. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 in recognition of his extensive philanthropy and volunteering. We sat down with this industrious young professional to find out what motivates him and what advice he would offer to other rising stars of the industry.
NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?
Vo: In our business, a strong network is a vital component of success. NAIOP is the best organization bringing together real estate professionals in Toronto, and it has allowed me to make great connections across Canada and throughout the U.S.
NAIOP: What advice would you offer to other young professionals in commercial real estate?
Vo: I would suggest getting a job with a large, reputable firm to gain experience and learn best practices. While there, work hard, meet as many people in as you can, and find your passion. Once you know what you want and have the skills to execute it, don’t be afraid to try something more entrepreneurial.
NAIOP: Who has been an inspiring or influential figure in your life?
Vo: An inspiring figure I look to preached about the importance of engagement with the outer world while being aware of your inner self. Only then can you “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I’m speaking of Mahatma Gandhi.
NAIOP: What is your dream vacation destination?
Vo: Either a combination of Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, or New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Conference 2015 in Toronto. Read about all of the honorees in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Development Magazine.
The recipients of the 2016 Developing Leaders Award will be recognized at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program.
Marie Ruff is Communications Senior Manager at NAIOP.