‘Roll up your sleeves, and you’ll find the way’
Nicholas Brooke, chairman of Professional Property Services, spent his childhood in Brazil.
When he was 14, his father, who worked in Sao Paulo, decided to return to Britain so Brooke did his early schooling in the UK before proceeding to the University of London, where he qualified as a chartered surveyor.
“I was very fortunate that I met an Arabian gentleman at work. He turned out to be the son of the ruler of Dubai,” recalls Brooke, adding that the gentleman wanted to buy a house in London, so he offered his help.
The Arabian then wanted to buy some offices and a hotel, so Brooke and his colleagues helped him to build up a property portfolio in London.
Eventually, Brooke went to Dubai to help the ruler there manage his properties in the emirate, as well as his property investments around the world.
Brooke worked in Abu Dhabi for three years during his eight-year stay in the Middle East before moving to Hong Kong in 1980 at the behest of Swire Properties.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the built environment. As a chartered surveyor, if you get involved in big developments, you’ll have the chance to shape and influence the built environment, and the built environment is all about cities, and I think the future is all about cities which will be the driver of growth for the future,” he says.
Brooke believes that seizing the opportunity is very important if someone wants to be successful.
“I had several opportunities in my life, like meeting the prince (of Dubai), like being asked to come here with Swire Properties, and seize the opportunity.”
To be successful, he argues, one must have the passion for what he or she is doing. Brooke says he’s very passionate about what he does for a living, and he believes that passion is the best drive and motivation for anybody.
Apart from passion, Brooke is very quick on his feet.
“I don’t take a long time to make decision. One problem I had with my young colleagues is that they are very cautious and afraid of making any mistake, as they don’t want to be criticized, they shouldn’t be, as you can always learn from your mistakes.”
As a leader, Brooke says he always leads from the front — it’s very important that a leader should never expect someone else to do something that he or she can’t do it.
It’s also very important to admit it when you don’t know. There’s nothing wrong to say “this is something I’m not familiar with”. A leader should never bluff.
“I love Hong Kong. Hong Kong provides the opportunity, the platform to do all the things I’ve been talking about. It’s a wonderful opportunity, particularly for young people, to shape things to influence things in a positive way,” Brooke says.
Hong Kong youngsters must roll up their sleeves and contribute to Hong Kong, as there’s so much that the city requires them to do. This place needs young talent, particularly in innovation and technology.
“Although each and every individual can only do so much, but if everyone pulls in the same direction, it would make a huge difference.”
Nicholas Brooke says affordability is a key issue for Hong Kong’s housing sector, and people are reluctant to wait to enter the market. Nicholas Brooke, chairman of Professional Property Services