Ottawa’s Mike McGahan Attributes People as Key Pillar of Effective Leadership

Real estate isn’t an easy business for many to excel in, especially when markets can be volatile, but Ottawa’s Mike McGahan is a real estate expert who has guided others to success during his 30-plus years in the industry, leading not one, but eventually two major organizations.

As CEO and trustee of the InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust (InterRent REIT), Mike McGahan leads a growth-oriented real estate investment trust that increases unitholder value through the acquisition, ownership, management and repositioning of income-producing, multi-residential properties in Ontario and Quebec. He’s also president of CLV Group, one of Ottawa’s largest private property management firms. A graduate of the University of Ottawa who has bought, sold, financed, and managed over 300 properties valued in excess of $3 billion, Mike has earned a reputation as one of the top property managers in Canada. He’s also a philanthropist who believes strongly in giving back.

What would you describe as your management style?

Mike McGahan: I think people-friendly accurately describes me. I make a point of getting to know everyone I work with and treating everyone with respect. I want all of our employees to know they’re valued and appreciated, and that we value their ideas, opinions and input. Everyone’s role has an impact on our company.

What qualities does one need to be a successful business owner?

Mike McGahan: There are many of them. Dreaming big is important, because most if not all entrepreneurial efforts begin with an idea. Having ideas and dreams, then taking action to bring them to fruition is how many successful companies have been created and grown. I think it’s also important to have strong role models to provide guidance, especially in the beginning.

What practical advice would you offer people who aspire to be entrepreneurs?

Mike McGahan: Hire smart. Look for leaders and team players. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s imperative to surround yourself with the best people you can find. As your company starts growing and you become increasingly busy, you’ll need to have people you can rely on every day.

How important is it for business leaders to give back once you become successful?

Mike McGahan: It’s our responsibility to help others. CLV Group has been active in our local communities, and I’ve personally been involved with a number of local and national charities over the years.

How does this work in a smaller company?

Mike McGahan: There are always community events in which even a small business can get involved. Actually, doing this can also be helpful to your emerging business or start-up. It’s been reported that informal professional networks and communities are more beneficial to entrepreneurial success than formal structures.

How did you develop your altruistic nature?