The world is slowly getting used to women in leadership positions, who lead teams, build new partnerships and fulfill their visions with wonderful naturalness and humility as well as sincerity. With life-giving female energy, they change structures in companies and societies.
Monaco is a small country with its own specifics. The small and wealthy state is a haven for successful and influential individuals there is a small reward for perseverance in the business world and confirmation of success and hard work.
Irene Luke is an amazing woman with incredible intelligence, leadership skills and a sense for business. She graduated from Oxford and built a legal career in London. She represented famous names such as Elton John, the Beatles and Apple. However, life and love motivated her to move to Monaco, where she started all over again. Together with two partners, she has built a successful real estate business and continues to pursue her ambitions.
Le Globless: Thank you for the meeting Irene, I would like to know how this whole connection of law and real estate business actually started. Why did you actually decide to leave a stable career in London and take a risk with the new rules and new life style in Monaco?
Irene: She smiles and answer, “After leaving Scotland, where I come from, I continued my studies at Oxford University. I qualified as a commercial property lawyer in London: that was a long time ago,” she adds with an even bigger smile.
After a few years I decided to move to Monaco because my husband was very well established here. Although he is English, he absolutely loves Monaco and had a very well-established business here, so I decided to move to him. I was a lawyer for a long time. I dealt with non-commercial real estate because there is very little commercial real estate here. Estate planning, tax planning, residential property.
I stopped law 12 years ago and with my business partner Jean-Claude Caputo we set up a real estate agency.
Le Globless: Was it easy to promote a brand like SAVILLS in MONACO?
Irene: I thought that it would be easier well-known English brand. Savills Monaco is majority owned by Savills UK we are currently three shareholders together, I think we are currently the only agency in Monaco that is part owned by a major global brand.
There are many big brand associations in Monaco, but Savills currently own 51% of company. Savills is a world leader in the sale of residential real estate worldwide. I run Savills Monaco and I sell real estate to clients in Monaco, but we also offer real estate on the French Riviera, London, Switzerland, etc.
Le Globless: Does this mean that you are targeting a very narrow, wealthy clientele who are buying investment properties in strategic locations around the world?
Irene: Our clients are generally wealthy individuals referred to us through family offices, bankers, real estate advisors, lawyers and so on. The Savills network is mainly focused on the most demanding clientele.
Le Globless: Real estate business sounds like an ideal dream right now, what about the competition in such a small market as Monaco?
Irene: Sometimes, yes it sounds like a dream but, we are dealing in a very competitive market place. There are a lot of agencies, +-170 agents and 500 deals a year, so it’s a competitive business. We have to be really good at what we do. We work with very high-profile clients, where the client can choose from a number of agencies and agents. There is a lot of competition and comparison. It’s all about reputation and focusing directly on the client, transparency and good market analysis. Because not everything that is for sale is a good deal. We have a good reputation. And we do everything to maintain it. A good name is priceless. Especially in Monaco where everyone knows everyone.
„Sometimes agents try to get a deal done at all costs, which I wouldn’t want to promote in my team.“
Le Globleess: How do you work with clients, and what options would you like to offer them in the future?
Irene: I try to provide good, sensible advice to clients and to understand their needs, I try to recommend real estate with a good location and of high quality and which represents a fair deal .
My whole team is dedicated to researching the most interesting locations in the world, so if the client needs anything, we can offer an in-depth analysis and specific recommendations. Our research people are amazing!
Le Globless: Are you a natural leader and visionary, a wonderful mother and wife, how do you put your high moral and work values into the team?
Irene: I have lots to help! Seriously, I am very lucky to have always had a nanny for my three children. I have managed also to build a small but very strong team at Savills Monaco oriented to the customer and with great team spirit, which is rare in this time and environment. We are like a family: of course my brokers are motivated by commissions, but the whole team helps each other. I just hope that I’m doing it right! I try to be team-oriented and not to promote too much “over competition” because I don’t think that’s the way to get the best out of people.
– Support the camaraderie in the team
– Lead by example as well, rather than be a dictator.
– Try to be fair and professional.
– Be quick and reactive
– Keep my team together and be loyal.
– Know when to say no and delegate.
– Try to have a good atmosphere in the team and also be happy at work. I want my team to grow.
Le Globless: Do you think that if you had been given this opportunity 12 years ago, you would have been ready to be a leader or would it have been early?
Irene: Definitely, I should have started earlier to build my business and quit my law job.
,,I like the concept of being a hunter- hungry for possibilities, to hunt and eat what you catch. It’s have a good way to progress and I should definitely have started earlier.
Le Globless: What was your biggest mistake?
Irene: Selling my house in London. Never sell property if you don’t have to! And taking on certain staff in the past who did not fit into my existing team. I don’t think, I made „ego mistakes“. I wanted to live in a world driven by men and there is no place for my ego within it: no room for more!( smile )
„I am very focused on people and I am always interested in their amazing success stories, especially with my clients. I have respect for their hard work. I am very lucky to have met wonderful and humble people who have achieved great success. I think that we can quickly lose humility and respect for people, especially with wealth, so it is good to constantly remind ourselves of this and to keep simple. It’s a constant job.“
,,It’s amazing when we can be ourselves and do things naturally. Be true to yourself; Don’t be afraid to change your mind; and do things your own way.”
Le Globless: What would you change in the world and what would you still like to achieve?
Irene:I would change Brexit ( smile).I would like to progress in my knowledge also as a person and advance with the company to work in new and interesting markets.
I would like my children to find their own path in life, to be independent and free and to fulfill their dreams. So that they grow up to be confident, women who can earn their own living: money means freedom. And to carry on a doing what I do for as I long as possible.
And my personal ambition, perhaps I could be a bit slimmer than I am, (smile) and I would like to keep my sense of humor. And keep fresh and not take myself too seriously.
Le Globless: ,,Irene builds cooperation and is focused on people and their needs as a mother but also a successful business woman managing a company in Monaco. At the same time she is involved in the whole Savills globally. She is an example of how to do business beautifully in the demanding market of Monaco and at the same time in the world of men.” Ivana Vieriková
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