Balancing the 2 pivots of deep focus and strong prioritization seems to be the work style mantra of this 42-year young head honcho of real estate company Hoysala Projects. From not knowing the local language or the local by-laws to creating and delivering large projects, Monica Matthias has come a long way. For this dynamic leader, traveling is a great leveler. Having spent a decade plus in the real estate industry now, Monica foresees this industry becoming far more tech-sophisticated with adoption of IoT and block-chain enabled provenance tracking becoming the norm. Her future area of interest according to her will include the application of tech in touching consumer lives
Excerpts of the exclusive interview:
Fox Interviewer: Tell us about your journey so far. What are the milestones that you feel proud about?
Monica Matthias: Having started my professional journey as a typical premier-B school graduate, I worked with some of the most reputed MNC banks in India in their capital advisory businesses for under a decade. I then joined Hoysala Projects in 2010 as I found the call of growing a smaller, boot strapped company to be a siren call. The challenges were real (not knowing the local bylaws, local language and required industry network) but the opportunity to ‘create’ and deliver a project was too big and exciting to be overlooked.
FI: What inspires you to be a good leader?
MM: To me, being a leader is primarily about 2 things: Imagining and selling a shared vision for the organization and working with team members to their strengths. Once these qualities are in place for a leader, other complementary strengths like resilience and the ability to take calibrated risks add more heft.
FI: Your work style mantra
MM: Despite the many changes that COVID has wrought in our daily schedules, my work mantra continues to balance on the 2 pivots of deep focus and strong prioritization. I find that a couple of focused hours/ day can deliver impact, provided that my prioritization is on point. After many years of practice, a day without prioritized tasks, usually feels flat!
FI: What exotic locales across the world have you travelled? How does travel shape up your experiences?
MM: Travel is a great leveler and also, a wonderful teacher if one is not rigid about scheduled itineraries! I enjoy long road trips as it allows me to truly slow down and appreciate the passing world. Having said that, I enjoy trips across the world and my 3- week trip to Jamaica and a few other Caribbean islands was exceptional.
FI: A day in the life of Monica.
MM: As an early riser, I like to get my exercise done right away. An hour of exercise energizes me and gives me the right start to the day. After spending some precious time with family, I am ready to start the day with the 1st 30 mins, always kept blank to allow me to plan/ prioritize tasks for the day. After that, the hours can get packed with a combination of meetings, physical visits and those ubiquitous zoom calls! I make sure to take small breaks during the day however. My downtime often is with my young kids, whose days always seem more exciting than mine!
FI : What according to you will be the next game changer in real estate industry?
MM: I think, the real estate industry is ripe for multiple disruptions, be it via technology, capital market interventions, democratization of asset class ownership etc. In the past 6-7 years, foreign funds inflow to this sector has already enabled several global best practices. In the coming decade, I foresee this industry becoming far more tech-sophisticated with adoption of IoT and block-chain enabled provenance tracking becoming the norm.
As far as residential realty is concerned, COVID’s future impact will mostly include flexible work policies and more online learning tools for children. Residential properties that design/offer updated and relevant offerings for such a future lifestyle will have early mover advantage and will set the bar. Other expectations will include inbuilt, customer-facing technology conveniences on parameters such as health, safety, logistics management and environmental upkeep.
FI: What are the other sectors that excite you which you would like to explore in future?
MM: Technology has such an outlier effect on society and culture today that prediction seems almost like an exercise in futility! But having made 2 changes in my career already from banking to real estate development, my future interests will definitely include the application of tech in touching consumer lives. I thrive on growing businesses to scale and I am certain, the way ahead for this will be a cornerstone of technology, customer -centricity and social relevance.
FI: What are your other interests?
MM: I have always enjoyed spending time in nature and have wanted to give back. For the past year, I am actively involved in the rejuvenation of a major river that flows through 3 states in South India. We are working on multiple themes around sustainable rejuvenation- such as afforestation of the river basin, development of the village communities and their economic livelihood linked to the environment.