Board Member Spotlight: Larissa Svekla

Thursday, Oct 1, 2020

 Larissa Svekla

Larissa Svekla is the current President Elect for CREW Calgary, carrying out the role of Board Liaison with the Events and Education Committee.  Over the past 11 years, Larissa has been a commercial real estate and infrastructure lawyer for a leading national law firm, whose practice encompassed a wide range of CRE matters, including acquisition and disposition transactions of office, industrial, retail and multi-family properties, mortgage financing, leasing, and construction and development matters.  In this role, she acted for a broad range of real estate clients, including pension funds, life insurance companies, realty advisors, major landlords and tenants, and institutional lenders.  Larissa also provided advice on complex private as well as public infrastructure projects, including public-private partnership projects in the areas of light-rail transit, roadways, schools and waste-water treatment facilities.  Recently, Larissa has embarked on the journey to find new opportunities to explore her passion for real estate.

1. What do you enjoy most about working in the Commercial Real Estate Industry?
One word: tangibility. As a “dirt” lawyer, I have always loved being able to see the projects I’m working on, whether it is touring existing properties to gain greater understanding of amenities or features, seeing a client’s project come to life through the development and construction process, or simply walking or driving past projects I have been involved with.  Being able to see the difference a real estate development can make in a community, shaping the lives of those in or surrounding it, brings great joy to me.

2. How has CREW brought value to your career?
When I first drank the “CREW” water and got involved in this amazing organization, I’m not sure I knew what a ride I was in for and just how much CREW Calgary, and the larger CREW Network, would touch and shape me both professionally and personally.   On the professional side, I have been able to expand my business network to include empowering professionals from all sectors of the commercial real estate industry, not only locally, but internationally as well.  CREW has been a platform to showcase my talents as well as a supportive environment to learn and develop skills that will advance my career.  For example, I am a member of the 2020 Cohort of the CREW Network Leadership Certificate Program and can attest to the valuable skills I have acquired and continue to develop due to this program.  CREW has also introduced me to fabulous mentors within the industry who I can always turn to and ask questions of.  And the best part of all these professional benefits: I have gained invaluable friendships along the way!

3. What are three reasons you would encourage a colleague to join CREW?
Community, Collaboration, Confidence. 

Community – CREW Calgary is a community of like-minded individuals who want to see you succeed and are always willing to lend a hand or an ear when needed.  The support I have received from my CREW Calgary and CREW Network colleagues, particularly over the past few months, has been unwavering and humbling.  CREW always has your back!

Collaboration – Whether you are collaborating to promote the values of CREW Calgary or collaborating on business deals, CREW Calgary gives us the platform to work together to achieve common goals.

Confidence – For anyone like me who has seen confidence wane, CREW Calgary is a supportive environment that can help you build confidence through development of skills and support of colleagues. 

4. How are you positively adapting to the work-from-home and work/life challenges presented by COVID-19 measures?
COVID-19 has certainly transformed the way we work – and well, just the way we live! Throughout this time, I have tried to focus on the opportunity in each challenge presented – to be resilient, creative and overcome each obstacle.  I, like some others in our membership, faced a layoff in these times, and I look forward to the opportunities that are ahead of me.  Meditation, visualization and yoga have been some tools that have kept me grounded, grateful and optimistic.

5. Share an interesting or little-known fact about yourself
Hmmm…a little-known fact…I’m pretty much an open book, but I guess one thing that some people may not know about me is that I enjoy creating abstract paintings.  There is something very calming and relaxing when it is just me, a paintbrush, paint and canvas - and perhaps some great music in the background too!