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Specialty Leasing Director
An Industry Champion

Duffy C. Weir

Ivanhoe Cambridge's Suzanne Cayley has worked hard to make the company synonymous with Canadian specialty retail.

Between the trendy haircut and glasses and the chunky jewelry lies a strong and determined woman who, according to some, "makes you elevate your standards just by being part of her team." Suzanne Cayley, Vice President of Specialty Leasing and Partnerships for Ivanhoe Cambridge in Canada is the standard-bearer underneath all that style.

Early career

Recently, Specialty Retail Report named Cayley to the Specialty Retail Hall of Fame at SPREE. Cayley got her start in the industry at a mixed-use project, called Queen's Quay Terminal in Toronto and then became a giftware sales representative.

In the late 80's, Cayley rejoined the shopping center industry doing leasing and tenant coordination for a variety of third party management companies. Her next career move was a temporary consulting opportunity to help Cambridge Shopping Centres create a specialty retail program. "I saw an opportunity within Cambridge to create a department and I put pen to paper and wrote out a business plan outlining how I thought that structure and the department should function. And guess what? The company believed in me—and continued to support me over the last 17 years," Cayley says.

One of her greatest achievements in over 26 years in the industry is showing retailers that Ivanhoe Cambridge is the "go-to" company for new businesses opportunities in the Canadian market. "I believe that we have shown that we are willing to talk to people and give them the support and encouragement to flourish within our centres," Cayley says.

Debra McVeety, General Manager of Tecumseh Mall in Windsor, Ontario, who nominated Cayley for the Hall of Fame Award said in her nomination, "As a company, not only have we seen tremendous financial growth, but her vision has launched the careers of many talented, ambitious specialty leasing managers." McVeety, who has known Cayley for 13 years, added: "She has an uncanny gift [for] spotting new trends and concepts and is able to look at a given idea, see the potential and map out the most appropriate path to success."

Cayley has managed the specialty leasing department for Ivanhoe Cambridge, from its creation, for over 15 years. Cayley says she has had some challenges along the way especially balancing the needs of the retailer with those of the developer. "I overcame this challenge when given the opportunity to be exposed to the bigger picture of the organization. I learned to understand that each silo can't work on its own to truly function as an entire corporation. All departments need each other to successfully operate—leasing needs us, operations needs us, development needs us and we need all of them to do our jobs to the best of our abilities."

Cayley's advice to other specialty leasing professionals: "Love what you do and share your energy, drive and ideas with your peers, your retailers and your team. Be a champion of the industry."

When asked about the future of specialty leasing she says, "I predict the future will show that we will be fine-tuning the size of our programs to be a more appropriate fit to the [gross leasable area] of a centre. [We will ] have an increased focus on our local sponsorship programs and develop enhanced relationships and business opportunities at a local level."