At Berkadia, our success is built upon the talent and hard work of a broad, diversely skilled team. From analysts to loan closing specialists, each of our people brings a unique background, perspective, and expertise. Their work allows Berkadia to remain a leader in the commercial real estate industry.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Mike Borrelli, Director – Emerging Talent Program to learn more about his role at Berkadia, what makes a candidate stand out, and advice he’d give the younger version of himself.
Describe your role at Berkadia.
I’m in a newly formed role at Berkadia as part of our Talent Acquisition leadership team. In the simplest of terms, I have the privilege of leading the team and the efforts that are thinking about the future of Berkadia’s talent pipelines and the diversification of those pipelines. Our small but mighty team is thinking about ways to attract and engage early career talent, the ways in which we’ll build relationships with candidates who have been historically underrepresented within the Commercial Real Estate industry, and how we’ll more broadly tell Berkadia’s employer value proposition (EVP) to prospective candidates using more inclusive language. I came into the role in May 2022, and I’m so impressed by the work our team has accomplished in such a short period of time and all the fun we’ve had along the way.
What part of your role are you most passionate about?
For better or worse, I feel quite passionate about all aspects of this role! I see passion as “table stakes” for success in roles like Talent Acquisition because a lot of unexpected challenges can come your way. If I had to pick one area, I’m most passionate about supporting and developing my team. If I can set my team up for success and make sure they feel cared for, they’ll pay that forward to their internal business partners and external candidates. I relate that to the client relationship management principle of taking great care of your employees so that that they take great care of your clients.
What makes a candidate standout? What do you look for?
I’m a total empath, so candidates that stand out to me are the ones who are vulnerable in sharing the obstacles they’ve faced to get to where they are today. I’m drawn to candidates who didn’t take “no” for an answer when the odds were not in their favor. I’ve heard so many stories about folks who’ve put themselves, financially and emotionally, through school while working a full-time job, caring for family members and more. To me, that demonstration of grit and persistence is something you can’t teach, but that you have to learn through the experiences of life. On that note, I hope that candidates who’ve had those types of experiences aren’t deterred from applying to Berkadia because of a low GPA, no Commercial Real Estate experience, or any industry connections. We recognize the CRE industry hasn’t always been an inclusive one, but our team exists to present and open opportunities for all. Berkadia has a culture that cares for everyone as a person first and foremost, and we hope our candidates feel that from the moment they engage with us.
What advice would you give a candidate going through the interview process? Or a candidate trying to get an interview?
Where to start!? I’ve gotten great feedback over the years as I’ve been applying for roles internally and externally. I’m sure candidates reading this have also gotten so many tips and tricks and it can be overwhelming. I’ve started to consistently flip the script and challenge candidates to also be interviewing the organization, hiring manager and team they’re meeting with. Your assessment of the organization is just as important as their assessment of you. Your skills and experiences have gotten you the interview, so there’s at least a little interest out of the gate. Show up as your best authentic self and see if this is somewhere you will feel respected, at minimum, but more importantly, valued and included. We spend so much time at work, and I know there’s a financial element of needing to land a job at times, but being happy where and with whom you work is so important to your mental health.
I challenge candidates to see your interviewers as people – just as they’ll see you as a person on the other side of the screen.
What advice would you give to a younger version of yourself coming into the commercial real estate industry? What is the best advice you have received?
I still consider myself a young version of myself! Jokes aside, I’d encourage myself to take risks. I spent about seven years with my prior employer and had a fantastic experience. I loved my manager, I felt included and I felt like I’ve benefitted from rich development opportunities. I had this itch to challenge myself by trying something new and seeing how things were done elsewhere, though. The opportunity at Berkadia presented itself and I had a former leader who made the connection. The risk of leaving somewhere that I knew and trusted to venture somewhere unknown and unfamiliar was a significant one. I met so many kind folks along the way that helped to make that risk feel so much more comfortable.
Where do you envision your career going?
Great question! Candidly, I’m still figuring some of that out. I started in a client-facing relationship management role out of college and had no idea I’d find my way to recruiting. Then, I thought I’d spend my entire career in recruiting. Since then, I’ve moved around to a few other areas of talent-focused work and have even spent some time as an HR Business Partner. Part of what I like about my current role is that I get exposure to a little bit of everything, and it ties into all areas of our “People” strategy. I’m at a point in my life and career where I’m chasing work that fulfills and inspires me, versus chasing the title and “appeal” of a role.
When you’re not helping Berkadia move the industry forward, how do you spend your time?
Most of my time (for now) is consumed by my 11-month-old puppy, Priscilla. She’s full of energy and loves her time at the dog park, which makes me even more thankful that Berkadia offers discounted pet insurance through our Total Rewards package. I joke that she thinks she’s an MMA fighter – she’s 40 pounds and takes down dogs twice her size. I’m sure I’ll need that pet insurance someday, but I have been fortunate to not have a reason to use it just yet.
While the pandemic and working remotely has surfaced so many challenges for so many, one of the blessings out of it for me was a refocused commitment to my mental and psychical wellness. I love strength training, HIIT classes, and distance running. I’ve run two marathons to date (both in Philly) and have my 10th Philadelphia Broad Street 10-miler coming up in May. Working primarily remote at Berkadia has allowed me to maintain my morning workout routine, which I’m thankful for.
Another favorite way to spend time is giving back to my alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University, by spending time with current students. I serve as Co-Chair of our National Alumni Board’s Career Connections Program which focuses on student to alumni and alumni to alumni career connections.
How has your time at Berkadia helped to accelerate your personal or professional development?
I’m enrolled in the “HR Transformation” Certificate program through Cornell online (eCornell). Berkadia’s covering the expense through our tuition reimbursement program upon completion of the course! I’m excited to learn more about aligning human capital strategy with business strategy, and how talent teams must evolve to continue meeting the evolving needs of their people. Berkadia’s “People Matter” value is a theme in all the work we do, so I’ve been happy to see a similar focus on people through this program.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I invite you to connect with our team, Talent Acquisition, and the broader Berkadia People team if you want to join us. If we don’t have a relevant opportunity available now, it’s likely we will have something for you in the future. One of my colleagues, Alison De Souza, serves as our BELONG Program Manager which focuses on the DEIB platform at Berkadia. Alison has started to coin a great phrase of “You Belong, I Belong, We Belong” and I find that so powerful. I’d extend that to our external candidates reading this from another life, education, industry, or career background – you, too, belong here at Berkadia. Learn more about Berkadia’s Culture and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
-Mike Borelli, Director – Emerging Talent Program