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Forty Under 40 Award winner Q&A: Jordan Carlson

This year’s cohort of recipients will be celebrated at an event Feb. 7, 2024

BIV is recognizing Jordan Carlson, senior vice-president of investment at Anthem Properties Group, and 39 other exceptional business leaders as part of the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards cohort.

Longer Q&As with each recipient are included in BIV's annual Forty Under 40 Magazine (out in print Dec. 11). Award winners will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 7, 2024.

This profile may have been edited for length and clarity.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

There’s no one event. There have been pivotal moments I’m proud of, but I think most of my pride comes from the fact that our investment property group here has been able to grow significantly in both assets under management and in our abilities, and that we’ve done that through commitment to our objectives and values, a willingness to take chances and learn quickly from mistakes, and mutual respect. We’ve all come a long way and had a lot of fun together doing it. That means a lot to me.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

For a guy who worries too much, I do not tend to fret over decisions. I much prefer action to inaction: So long as the concept is consistent with your desired direction and can be supported by some analysis, let’s get on with it. That said, I hate when we love a piece of real estate but just can’t make it work and have to walk away, and I really hate letting people down even when it’s a result of doing the right thing overall.

How do you lead?

You’d have to ask someone I work with for an unbiased opinion but I’d like to think I can communicate our objectives and the plan for accomplishing them clearly, and that people buy in because I’ve earned their trust through both my work and abilities, but just as importantly because they know I’m honest, mostly self-aware and that they’re seen and understood by me and that I want them to succeed. Finally, I try to make sure we’re getting things done and people are seeing their hard work and talent yield real results.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in business?

That I much prefer a low-interest-rate environment to its opposite. I am kidding, kind of. I think it’s probably that highs and lows will come and go (particularly in this hyper-volatile world) and that it’s all about sticking to your values, being clear about your direction (but being able to pivot as needed), pushing your comfort zone regularly, responding to setbacks quickly and intelligently, listening and learning as much as you can, and doing all of that with people you care about and them you. If that happens, ideally the rest takes care of itself. Oh, and capital is precious.

Best piece of advice ever received?

When I first started at CBRE, I worried far too much and viewed any obstacle as reason to panic. I would immediately bug this one guy for help. He would only say “engage brain” before turning his back to me. It was maddening but it forced me to calm down and figure it out myself, which eventually became a good habit because it turns out the problems don’t stop coming and you better get used to staying calm and solving them (not to mention that it’s a very effective way to learn). That guy is now president of CBRE Canada.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Probably to calm down and use my brain.

What's left to accomplish?

Lots. We need to continue to establish Anthem as a first-class, entrepreneurial investor, developer and manager. That means more diversification across asset classes and markets, more knowledge, more creativity, great partnerships and constant investment in systems and culture. I try to finish every year feeling like we and I know a lot more than we or I did the year before, while remaining humbled and motivated by the fact that there’s still a lot we and I don’t know, and that challenges will definitely pop up. Personally, being a great husband and father and friend will always require constant evolution as well.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

There are a ton of family members, friends, colleagues, mentors, partners and industry peers who have been critical in allowing me to live a very fulfilling life both professionally and personally. I am grateful to all of them. Nothing happens in a silo; those people have been everything.

Read Q&As with all 40 award recipients here. Tickets to the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 7 are now available.