Episode 15 : A Passion-Driven Success Story



Founder and president of Aurora Realty Consultants, Jeffrey Berkowitz became an entrepreneur without really trying… Like many before him, Jeff’s business started in his parent’s basement. What he first perceived as enthusiasm for commercial real estate was really the foundation of a career he would be passionate about, and of a company that would one day serve the biggest retail chains in the World. Positive that passion is really the number one guarantee for success, Jeff tells us how he found his and made a living out of it.

Jeff’s Growth Story Book Title: 

A Story of Passion

My cheeky answer would be, “Success is more than a full head of hair”, because, for those you can’t see me at the moment, I’m a little bit follically challenged! I’m in between hairs as they say… But in all seriousness, I would use again my favorite word… passion! 

What you’ll learn:

  • Jeff’s father was a lawyer who had his own firm. He was very supportive towards him choosing a career he would love, but that law wasn’t it. Jeff’s dad is also the one who introduced him to his first employer working in real estate.
  • The name Aurora was picked with the same way Jeff learned how to do cold calls: by alphabetical order (but this time from the dictionary, not the phone book).
  • Jeff suggests two indissociable principles to guide career decisions. First one is the ability to support your life and lifestyle. Second is getting a feeling of excitement and passion from the activity. If the second part isn’t respected, the first one isn’t worth it.
  • Jeffrey suggests two ways to be a strong entrepreneur and business person: A, learning how to well manage your time. B, making sure that you understand work is only part of what you’re about: there’s family, community, friends, they’re all part of who you are as a business person.

Notable quotes:

  • “I went to meet with this gentleman, who showed up in a Ferrari, so my 21-year-old-self thought, you know what, maybe there’s something there with that real-estate thing!” – Jeff on the first time he met his first employer in real estate.
  • “I was too dumb to know better.” – Jeff about going on his own with his real estate business idea in one of the worst time commercial real estate.
  • “If you have that passion… you WILL be successful. If you don’t have a passion for what you do you, I am convinced you will NOT succeed.” – Jeff on how important he believes passion is to succeed professionally.
  • Do things the right way, and you might not win all the time, but at the end of the day, you will win.” – Jeffrey on being fair and transparent and keeping good karma in all his business relationships, particularly when competing with a former employee who started their own firm.
  • “I myself designed the first logo which I am happy to say nobody will ever see again!Jeff on his humble beginnings and the many hats a young entrepreneur has to wear.

Show notes: 

02:45 – Jeffrey Berkowitz is president of the company Aurora Realty Consultants.

02: 55 – Jeff is a past winner of the Federation CJA award for young leadership.

03:00 – Jeff has been quoted in many publications such as The Toronto Star, Retailer Insider.

03:08 – His company is well known for bringing retail chains to Canada, Starbucks being one of their greatest hits. Another recent brand they worked with is Woolrich.

04:55 – Aurora started in 1989. They specialize in commercial real estate, retail. They also now work with the landlords, helping them develop new retail projects and seize opportunities. They started in Montreal only and now operate in four countries.

06:20 – Jeff grew up in Dollard-des-Ormeaux in the West-Island of Montreal.

08:17 – Jeff attended McGill University. He was accepted to law school but decided to defer the application to try other avenues such as accounting. He chose to pursue commerce at McGill.

32:50 – One of his first client as a business a big Quebec chain of video clubs. They wanted new locations in Chateauguay.