Name: Manu Wendum
Company: Winick Realty Group
Education: Brandeis University
Which project, deal, or transaction was the “game-changer” in the advancement of your career?
Two months into the start of my career, I got my first property exclusive from the landlord at 284 Third Ave. That deal is what opened me up to the retail world. It created my initial platform for meeting and building relationships with clients, and gave me the opportunity to meet with prospective tenants. I was able to parlay those meetings into multiple additional deals with tenants I met who weren’t right for this particular space but were a better fit elsewhere. My passion for this business arose as a result of that experience.
What do you like most about your job?
Unlike most people, I actually enjoy cold calling. I love the idea of starting a relationship with the mindset of having nothing to lose. This business also drives me because I thrive on the competition and I like the fact that this is a creative industry. There is no one set way of reaching out to a new client or building a relationship or getting a deal done. Having the opportunity to work with and cross paths with some of the most successful people in real estate is also a thrill.
What led you to your current profession?
I was born and raised in Belgium, where I grew up with many families—my own included—who were originally in the diamond business and later moved into real estate when the diamond business became less profitable. My father and brothers are all in the real estate business. For me, there is no place for real estate like New York City and my international background gives me an edge with the foreign tenants this city attracts. I am drawn to retail specifically because I enjoy working with tenants as they open and expand their businesses, and I like the street-level visibility that a retail property can bring.
Who or what inspires you?
My grandfather is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. He faced incredible adversity in his life and lost everything in the process, and yet he was able to work hard and build a successful life for himself. I try to maintain that same mentality in my daily life and especially in my career, where it is necessary to be resilient, disciplined and thick-skinned when things inevitably don’t go your way. I learned not to take anything for granted and I carry those lessons with me in everything I do.