Ultimate CEO Peggy Olin on How Sensitivity and Understanding Connects Her to Her Team

Ultimate CEO Peggy Olin on How Sensitivity and Understanding Connects Her to Her Team

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South Florida Business Journal
Ultimate CEO Peggy Olin on How Sensitivity and Understanding Connects Her to Her Team
September 10, 2020
By Jeff Zbar

Peggy Olin, CEO of OneWorld Properties.

Editor's Note: This profile is part of a weekly series highlighting the Business Journal’s 2020 South Florida Ultimate CEO Awards honorees. The award recognizes some of the area’s top CEOs, highlighting the breadth of talent and leadership across our unified tri-county region. 

Peggy Olin
CEO, OneWorld Properties
Residence: Fort Lauderdale
Age: 44

Peggy Olin personifies the American dream. She lost both parents at a young age, and arrived in the U.S. alone, speaking only the Spanish of her native Peru.

If the dream is driven by risk, Olin didn’t shy from it.

After a short career in banking, she pivoted to real estate, working with such brands as WCI Communities, Turnberry and ST Residential, where she drove marketing for $5 billion in sales. She also is handling or has handled sales for Paramount Fort Lauderdale Beach, Paramount Miami Worldcenter, Brickell Ten, 100 Las Olas and YotelPad Miami.

A global citizen at heart, her sales and marketing efforts have lured buyers from almost 60 countries, including China, where she opened a Shanghai office in 2018. Dreams of global adventures are a running theme in her life, Olin said.

Asked what motivates her, she recalled a line from Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist.”

“When you want something,” Olin said, “all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

How has it been leading a company with everyone working remotely? I’ve spent a lot more time talking to people. The office is still running all the time. Everyone’s far more productive. And everyone adapts. The cream rises to the top, and people who you had no idea could add so much value to what we’re doing are doing just that.

What’s been the biggest takeaway for you from the pandemic? Leading with humanity, being sensitive and understanding others’ needs have connected me to my team. I’m a mother. In situations like these, you become more vulnerable. We’re all going through this. I’ve empowered my people to work however it works best for them. I don’t care when it gets done, just that it gets done. When you empower and trust others, it grows tenfold.

How has this changed your leadership style? It’s emphasized and enhanced it. We’re big on culture and we roll up our sleeves. I may be doing sales or serving a cup of coffee. You do that and people follow your lead.

Leaders often rely on close, personal interaction. How have you handled remote/virtual work? That has been replaced by getting to know the dogs in the house. I’ve been on Zoom calls where people’s kids are running around or their spouse is working behind them, and I would have never seen them before. The connection to your personal space has become more valuable at these times, and it has replaced the hug.

How do you see the region emerging from this? South Florida has always lived its own story. I’m starting to see people come out more. That’s conviction that this is going to become a much better city. Whether rental or sale, the inevitable for some that may have occurred five years from now is happening now. International or out-of-state buyers are coming. It’s going to force the region to grow a lot faster, with better restaurants, hospitality and developers paying attention to what buyers are looking for.

How do you ensure your goals are audacious enough? I know they’re audacious enough when I can’t sleep. There’s nothing small. You always have to be fearless that way, and unafraid. When I think of myself five years from now, I don’t know what it will look like, but I have a feeling of what it will be, and that’s bold.

What CEO inspires you? Indra Nooyi, the former chairman and CEO of Pepsi. As a woman, a minority coming to America, her story of fearless dedication was incredible.

If you weren’t in real estate, what would you have been? I wanted to be an investigative reporter, [but] I took a job in a bank’s trust and estates division. I saw my first HUD statement and realized somebody was making my salary in one transaction. That drove me to get involved in real estate. I didn’t need a college education, and that didn’t intimidate me. That made me create my own destiny.