Creatively Disciplined. Disciplined Creativity.
To stay at the forefront of Canada’s commercial mortgage industry, it’s clear that complacency is never an option. At Canada ICI, part of the company’s successful formula is its ability to attract talent, and how it nurtures the development of that talent to eventually take on important roles throughout ICI. There is no better example than Jonah Brown, who, in his mid-20’s, is roughly the same age as the company itself, and is one of the organization’s rising leaders. “It’s odd to think that ICI was founded the same year I was born,” Jonah says. “If you think of the traditional Canadian commercial real estate professional, you think of older professionals working within a very rigid set of constraints. It’s regimented and restrictive. Our organization has done an exceptional job in developing a diverse group of leaders that takes an entrepreneurial but also disciplined approach to everything we do.”
It’s not unusual to hear sentiments like “Canada ICI is a youthful company,” but what does that really mean in a business sense? According to Jonah, it’s quite simple and has nothing to do with age. “We have some of the most seasoned real estate finance professionals in the country, but as a whole, everyone has a very youthful mindset,” he explains. “I think that’s the heartbeat of a company where it doesn’t matter what your age is. Everyone gets an opportunity, no matter your age, your background, as long as you can think creatively and embody our values. As our company ages, our attitude continues to stays fresh and creative.”
When it comes to attracting talent, Jonah understands exactly how Canada ICI appeals to a long list of applicants from some of Canada’s top universities. He first became interested in ICI through a connection in his hometown of Winnipeg. At the time, Jonah had set his sights on returning to Canada, after working in Los Angeles and Hong Kong upon graduating from the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario. Coincidentally, as Jonah was looking for opportunities back home, Canada ICI was expanding their footprint in Toronto.
“Toronto was the perfect balance of being in a dynamic, world-class environment, and it’s an hour flight from family,” Jonah says. “The timing couldn’t have worked out better. A large part of why I joined ICI was the fact that I got to help build the foundation of our office in Toronto. I was only the fourth employee at the Toronto branch.”
Given his educational background, Jonah had plenty of career prospects, both immediately after graduating from Ivey, and also upon returning to Canada from his time abroad. Still, ICI had some things to offer that Jonah just didn’t see in the competition. “The thing that stood out to me about Canada ICI is that it has all the support you need to succeed in a career, but at the same time you’re given autonomy to develop your own structure, and forge your own path,” he explains. “I thought that was an interesting opportunity. I was a new grad, and I saw other new grads going into roles that were very rigid, whereas ICI offered a really unique opportunity with flexibility.”
Even though he’s only been with ICI for about three years so far, Jonah is already seeing the fruits of his labor. “I’m early in my career, and the construction projects I was working on in the beginning of my time at ICI are finishing up now. I feel like these projects are actually coming to life,” he says with pride.
As I continue in my career, it’s going to be really interesting looking back and seeing projects that I’ve financed, whether it’s just refinancing or helping from the ground up.
Not only is Canada ICI a hotbed for talent in the real estate finance industry, its commitment to cultivating innovation and a fresh approach to the industry means that employees like Jonah Brown will have plenty of opportunity to forge a long, vibrant future.