CRE's Next Generation: Colliers' Sayo Kamara On Carrying The Torch To Advance Minorities In CRE

This series asks rising stars in commercial real estate about their thoughts on some of the biggest issues facing the industry, including inequality, climate change and technology. Some leave everything behind to come to the Big Apple hoping to make it big on Broadway. Sayo Kamara hoped to make it in commercial real estate.

This series asks rising stars in commercial real estate about their thoughts on some of the biggest issues facing the industry, including inequality, climate change and technology.

Some leave everything behind to come to the Big Apple hoping to make it big on Broadway. Sayo Kamara hoped to make it in commercial real estate.

Four years ago, he packed four bags and his dog and moved from Dallas to Brooklyn to take an internship with Lee & Associates. The then-24-year-old was given a desk and a notebook, he said, and had to support himself with no outside financial help or generational wealth. So for the first year, each day after work, Kamara took the subway to wait tables at the Capital Grille at the Chrysler Building.

“I would try to network and get to know the people while doing this,” he said. “I kind of realized that I wanted to connect with someone who I could relate to and looked like me … I literally googled successful African American commercial real estate brokers in New York."

His internet searching led him to Colliers Executive Managing Director Eric Yarbro.

"He was the only name that showed up, so I started cold calling him,” Kamara said. 

It took a few calls, but eventually, Yarbro answered. Kamara said he became his mentor, and the next year, Kamara joined Colliers. Since that fateful move in 2017, he has represented major landlords and tenants, such as Brookfield Properties and Macmillian Publishers, as a broker. 

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