Best Women Inspiring Leaders of the Year 2022
In the highly fast-paced world we live real estate is evolving at a dizzying pace. Digitization and technology are now forcing many players in the segment to quickly adapt and keep up with the trends. For investors in the real estate segment, it is highly advisable to have a skilled real estate developer by their side to be successful. Real estate developers tend to rebuild, update, and develop new project ideas for an existing entity to make it highly profitable. Globally there are various companies delivering excellent real estate development services, but XAG Group stands out from the rest.
XAG Group’s strategy has always been built on creating value for its investors by building in upcoming neighborhoods providing service oriented retail centers.
In conversation with Nathaliah Naipaul, CEO & Partner of XAG Group
Q. In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
My first role model growing up was my father, who grew his company from a simple neighborhood shop to one of the largest supermarket chains in my home country. Working alongside my family, I was exposed to every single aspect of being business oriented further cementing my drive to run my own business one day. I truly enjoy the challenge of putting my own spin on existing business models, uplifting and growing it beyond set expectations. While this is still my core focus, I am equally involved in mentoring the younger generations, allowing them to create opportunities and gain exposure as I did while growing up.
Q. How do you balance personal life and business concomitantly?
I simply love what I do, which can easily result in my work duties taking precedence over the other aspects of my life. My experience and upbringing have taught me that in order to continue delivering at the pace I am accustomed to, my mind, body and soul needs to be nurtured and healthy. I create the space to feed each of these aspects, knowing that with it, I can climb the mountains that arise in front of me. I enjoy these moments immensely, whether it is a spa appointment, eating at a nice restaurant, having a relaxing and laughter filled session with my girlfriends or just taking time alone to pray.
Q. What entrepreneurial hacks have you developed to stay focused and productive?
What kept me focused and productive is developing and adhering to my daily and weekly schedules. This allows me to sum up what lies ahead, what preparations are needed in advance and allows me to be proactive instead of reactionary.
Navigating the world with Covid-19 restrictions made me rethink how we operated, and the changes we made encourage more inclusivity and empowerment. Implementation of systems has really helped our productivity and understanding amongst our project stakeholders. As a result, meetings are now more focused and of a shorter duration. More importantly, my leadership style is now firmly entrenched in the ‘Servant Leader’ philosophy, where I support the development and growth of my team with the knowledge that these are the future leaders of my organization or any other that would be lucky to have them.
Q. How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?
Any preconceptions I might have had about running a successful business were quickly forgotten, as I saw the hard work and sacrifices my father made to build his business. He ensured that his children learned every aspect of the business, from sorting produce in the warehouse to managing different aspects of the business. In hindsight (even with this background), it was still a step-change with the responsibility of directly being responsible for the company’s growth, revenue, employees and morale. I have learned to approach everything with humility and a willingness to learn as much as I can. Lessons present themselves every day, and my team and I digest these and incorporate them into our workflow in an effort to continuously improve both from a company’s standpoint as well as personally.
Q. You are a leader in the management of retail and commercial properties. What made you choose this arena of business?
This focal point was a natural extension of my childhood exposure. With the development of our family’s business, we ventured into expanding our storefronts, building out commercial centers with our grocery store as an anchor tenant. I witnessed my father’s passion for growth and how much he enjoyed providing opportunities for others to set up and own a business. Similarly, I strive to build those close relationships with our clients because to me they are not just clients, they are partners in the future of our company.
Q. What did you learn from years of experience in the industry?
The most important thing I have learnt from my time in the industry is the importance of teamwork. Our vision, achievements and growth are enabled by a supportive, hard-working close-knit team. Investing time and energy into continuously developing and supporting my team ensures a solid foundation to leverage our future ambitions.
Minority representation of women in this industry and misconceptions about their level of knowledge are some of the pitfalls I have come across. One of my goals within my company is to change that perception, to empower and promote women and minorities and lead by example.
Risk management is the last aspect I would like to highlight. I approach our projects by initiating competent and extensive research, to ensure that I understand risks I can encounter and what I can employ to minimize or mitigate them.
Q. What systems have you set up in your business to help it grow?
I have seen the benefits of implementing an ever-evolving structure and systems within our company, to aid our vision and productivity. These range from software systems to agile work styles.
Our systems help us manage the multiple intricacies of our business, allows us to stay abreast of managing our tenants (Yardi), leasing leads (Trello), documentation (Monday) construction management (Kanban boards/Trello) and marketing (CoStar/Crexi) as well as adapting to the daily changes that come our way. Our systems also facilitate ensuring that the team are on the same wavelength with regards to project schedules, deadlines, deliverables and accountabilities and clearly highlight inter-dependencies in an effort to boost understanding and clarity.
Q. How do you think being an entrepreneur has turned you into a better person?
My love and compassion for people is something that I have brought into my business and has made me a better listener when it comes to the needs of my team. It has also taught me the benefits of building and nurturing relationships, working with my team members to capitalize on their strengths while supporting their development.
Short bio of Rachel Teykl
Rachel Teykl is XAG Group’s Property Manager. Rachel first joined Hines in 2005 and was involved in property management directly and indirectly for over 15 years.
Before rejoining Transwestern in 2019, her role as Business Manager of Administration and Operations for BMO Capital Markets and Scotia Bank allowed her to expand her experience in comprehensive facility management, including space planning, as well as tenant improvements.