Leiya T Shirik: Getting Back on Track, Together

Leiya T Shirik | CEO (Brand Neurons Pvt. Ltd.)

Leiya T Shirik, the former COO of DS-MAX Properties re-enters realty industry as she joins Brand Neurons Private Limited as the Chief Executive Officer. Brand Neurons was founded in 2016 by Yuikan Shirik, who was also the Chief Brand Officer with the real estate organisation. The company specialises in branding, marketing, residential properties and interior designing services. Having over a decade of experience in the field, the husband and wife team brings a wealth of experience to the fore. Their firm has already partnered with some of the A-listed developers in India. I have caught up with Leiya T Shirik to talk about the transitional phase in her career and in the real estate industry.

Leiya T Shirik | CEO (Brand Neurons Pvt. Ltd.)

Can you tell about your recent shift in your career? What are your plans with Brand Neurons?

I have been planning for this shift for a while; I was just waiting for the right time. Brand Neurons venturing into real estate is due to the need to fill the huge gap between the builders and the home buyers. And this is where the real estate brokers or agents come into the picture. The brokers or agents act as an interface between the builders and the end-customers but the services rendered to either party are unorganised and questionable. For these reasons, the image of a real estate agent is tarnished in the market and clients hesitate to approach them due to their unreliable and doubtful work ethics. Brand Neurons aims to cement the relationships between the builders and the homebuyers through a standardised business model that exhibits reliability, professionalism, accountability and quality. Brand Neurons will promote realty projects through ‘Pistis Homes’, the extended arm of the company’s marketing functions.

You have been in the real estate industry for over a decade. What do you think about the new Government policies like GST and RERA and their impact on real estate?

This is a new dawn in the real estate industry. The introduction of government policies like demonetisation, GST, and RERA has changed the dynamics of doing business in the realty sector. On one side, the new policy will cripple a large section of the developers’ population, while on the other; the transparent and reliable brands will thrive as the competition will drop significantly. In a recent move by the Reserve Bank of India, banks are directed not to sanction loans for real estate projects which are not listed under RERA. According to my observation of the current atmosphere surrounding the real estate market, I feel that there are visible signs of uncertainty and confusion still prevailing. If RERA regulations are strictly implemented, it will address many issues in the sector, starting with the ‘credibility factor’. Second, the developers can’t under-deliver; the project completion time will improve substantially as the builders will have to stick to the committed deadline. Third, the end-customer will be crystal clear of the builders’ offerings – what they see is what they will get. Fourth, the realty developers and agents will undergo a filtration process to be able to continue in the race, which many won’t pass, considering the stringent provisions laid down by RERA. Fifth, once the uncertainty in the air clears, domestic as well as international funds will start flowing into the sector. Sixth, delayed project launches will bounce back into action with appropriate approvals. Seventh, the demand and supply of real estate properties will see a balance. Eighth, customers who have postponed purchase due to GST and RERA will start buying real estate properties. Lastly, the fair participants and end-customers will benefit through this initiative. The people heading RERA should be vigilant of its sanctioning authorities and governing bodies in order to make RERA a success.

Can you tell us about your experience in the real estate industry?

I am fortunate to be in this industry because real estate is one sector that is directly associated with human sentiments. When people purchase a property they see a part of their dreams and wishes being fulfilled and it signifies a new beginning. In the 12 years of experience as a Chief Operating Officer, I have had the privilege to work with some very interesting and seasoned people. It has been a great learning phase in my life. I am thankful to be at a position from where I could watch the changing trends so closely and clearly. I have been a witness to the highs and lows of the realty market. I cherish the indelible moments and the beautiful associations I have made there. Now it is time to give back some of my learning, ideas, and values to the industry that has given me so much.

If you are someone who is passionate about making a career in real estate, then this is the best time. This industry is undergoing a historic transformation which will mark a new beginning. Like all businesses, even in the realty industry there is always room for improvement, in spite of several ingenious initiatives. The opportunities lie in finding solutions to these problems and adding value to the sector through coordinated services and (or) inventive products.

Since Brand Neurons Private Limited is a relatively new company, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey so far.

Like the real estate industry, this is a transitional phase in my career. I had to unlearn a lot of things to learn and adapt to new challenges. In a well established company, you are clear about your particular roles and responsibilities. But when you become an entrepreneur, you have to be an all-rounder. The entrepreneurial journey that I am undertaking now has showered me with surprising opportunities and limitless possibilities. I am happy to be able to collaborate with some of the most brilliant minds and trendsetters in the industry. “This is just the beginning for me but I have already grown to be a stronger person and a great multi-tasker”, she laughs.

What are pros and cons of husband and wife working together in the same organisation?

I see no cons in husband and wife working together in the same organisation. In fact, I consider it a blessing to be able to have such an opportunity where we can support and help each other. Of course, there are differences of opinions and I believe it’s required because each of us has our own unique way of thinking. We filter the best out of these differences and discard the rest. Our roles are clearly segregated yet closely knitted. He takes care of the core operations, business strategies, creative services and branding and marketing functions, while I assist with client acquisition, business development, client management and sales.

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