IAMC Member Spotlight
Rya Hazelwood
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IAMC Member Spotlight

As an organization, IAMC fosters relationships that turn into both business partnerships and long-term friendships. The path to corporate real estate varies widely, and our members come from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds.

We thank Celio Gurgel, Corporate Real Estate Director, LatAm - PepsiCo, for sharing his!

  1. Tell us a little bit about you.
    I grew up in Brazil and studied at Fundaçcão Getulio Vargas for undergraduate and earned an MBA from Fundação Dom Cabral.
  2. Tell us about your path to corporate real estate.
    I did not have a background in Real Estate before I joined PepsiCo in 2015 to work in Regional Logistics for LatAm (2015). In the same year, PepsiCo Global Real Estate (PGRE) decided to roll out beyond North America, and a local champion was required. After two years of working on the assembly of the database of sites and leases, I was assigned to take a new role and lead Real Estate in LatAm. All my learning was on the job before I started to join professional forums like IAMC and seminars that enabled me to get accredited as MCR - an important achievement but just a milestone, as learning never ends.
  3. What is the scope of your responsibilities at your organization?
    Together with my team, we manage all real estate transactions for LatAm (Mexico, CARICAM and South LA), from negotiations to Backoffice activities: lease renewals/extensions, lease acquisitions (incl. build-to-suits), property disposals and acquisitions. Besides projects, we also count on partners to provide Business Units with market reports and appraisals, as well as to keep our real estate data repository accurately updated.
  4. What is your favorite part of your role or the industry as a whole?
    Virtually all of the business activities require some real estate solution. So, I feel like we support the whole business to perform, as the function evolves every day in scope and relevance to the C-level in our organization. Different from some traditional corporate professions, the sky seems to be the limit for CREs.
  5. What is one skill specific to your job could you share with the rest of the membership?
    I feel like I can talk about organizing teams to perform in CRE.
  6. Tell us about a CRE or FM project in which you played a role of which you were particularly proud.
    On the top of any specific project or transaction, I’m most proud of having consolidated a new function from the scratch in a geography with many countries, different cultures, ways of working, market practices, legislations, several teams and internal clients (Supply Chain, Legal, Finance and many others), which required establishing a new organization, as well processes and procedures that had to be massively communicated to induce and educate, while I had to nurture the relationship between PepsiCo and new external partners. It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity which I have embraced, and which remains a rewarding journey.
  7. What led you to join IAMC?
    I joined IAMC by invitation from Russell Burton, my friend and previous manager. He was an enthusiastic supporter of IAMC, and I benefited a lot, especially at the start of my journey in CRE. At my first forum, I realized I shared the same challenges with much more seasoned professionals, which allowed me to feel home, relax and keep going.
  8. Fun Facts:
    a. What was your first job? I was an intern in a headhunting office.
    b. What would your superpower be? Resilience.
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