‘Roll up your sleeves, and you’ll find the way’

China Daily (USA) - - HONG KONG - BySOPHIEHE in Hong Kong so­phiehe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

Ni­cholas Brooke,

chair­man of Pro­fes­sional Prop­erty Ser­vices

It’s very im­por­tant that a leader should never ex­pect some­one else to do some­thing that he or she can’t do it.”

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.

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