Lorena Compean Casimiro

Corporate Real Estate Operational Management, Asia Pacific


What’s your educational background?

I double majored in Business Management and Public Accounting & Financial Strategy at Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM), a university in Mexico City. During my studies I participated at an exchange program in Carlos III University Madrid. After five years of working in Mexico, I wanted to explore a different region of the world. I decided to pursue my master’s degree in Hong Kong and moved to the other side of the world to study for an MBA at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. While pursuing my MBA, I did a summer internship in India working for a cinema company managing global vendors and ensuring the successful procurement and installation of movie exhibition items (screens, kitchen equipment, seats, sound equipment).

Tell us about your career path. Where were you prior to joining HSBC?

After college, I joined a consulting firm which focused on strategic sourcing generating savings from clients in indirect spend. I worked for banks, retailers and home developers, which was my first experience within the Real Estate field. After five years of consulting, I moved to Hong Kong to study for my MBA. After that, I joined CBRE in a procurement role for facilities management, as the skills required were very similar to my last role in Mexico. In 2015 an internal opportunity opened, and I told my manager I was interested in operations within Facilities Management. It was a natural transition as I already knew the team and the services. This role helped me to develop my leadership skills as I was responsible for 180 staff members and 10 services lines (mailroom, reprographics, catering, secured destruction of documents, front of house, etc.).

Please share some details about your current position. What are some of the interesting things you’re working on?

My current role is within the Operational Management team in HSBC Corporate Real Estate Asia Pacific. HSBC has around 3,900 offices in 67 countries and territories across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America and South America, and around 38 million customers. For me this role is very interesting because it is giving me the opportunity to learn how all the CRE cycle works together in multiple countries and with numerous suppliers. I am working on different projects about operational efficiency, which of course require a lot of stakeholder management around the world.

Is there a single project or accomplishment that was particularly rewarding?

In one of my past roles I had the opportunity to work with a client to help them achieve their environmental goals. Although it was not part of my role, I engaged with different functional leaders in Asia, Europe and USA to learn the metrics and to brainstorm ideas and initiatives to make it possible. I rolled out / developed a measure for initiatives which support the environmental goals in every phase of the CRE cycle: acquisition (search of LEED certified buildings), project construction (LEED certifications), operations (waste management, paper consumption and paper sustainable sourcing, energy management) and disposal (environmentally friendly practices for decommissioning). I drove the development of the print reports in Asia to drive campaigns on print reduction. As a result of this “side” job, I am very happy I managed to create awareness with a lot of people about the impact to our environment and as a result of the initiatives implemented the client was awarded as one of the best financial institutions with ESG practices in Asia that year.

How long have you been a member of CoreNet Global? Tell us about your involvement and how you engage with the association.

I have been with CoreNet Global for about five years. I started joining a few events in 2013, and since 2015 I have been a member of the Board of the CoreNet Global Hong Kong Chapter. I am a great believer in education as a way to progress, so I am mostly involved in the university relations. In 2016 I organized the CoreNet Global event “Making the Workplace Work,” promoting Corporate Real Estate as a career path for current undergrad students. I currently support / help with most of the events and try to be an ambassador of the profession.

What aspects of your involvement with CoreNet Global are most valuable? Please comment on the value that Young Leaders get from membership in the association.

It’s definitely about the people. With Hong Kong being such a diverse place, CoreNet Global has given me the opportunity to meet great smart people, and to learn about many more aspects of the profession that I didn’t have exposure to before. From a Young Leaders perspective, it taught me about different career paths that I was not aware of and gave me the chance to learn about how the industry is evolving and how technology is changing the ways of working.

How do you see your future career? Will it be in corporate real estate?

Corporate Real Estate is still not a very commonly known industry / profession in Asia. A lot of companies still self-perform and slowly are opening to the outsource model. However, we just had our FutureForward 2025 session few weeks ago, and the industry is moving so fast that we are a bit uncertain on where the industry will be in five years’ time! For me, the skills acquired in this profession are very valuable and transferrable. Every company needs some kind of space/technology to operate and real estate will always be significant part of the operating cost, so people with the knowledge and the skills to manage the portfolio will be valuable.

To help our readers get to know you on a more personal level, tell us a little about yourself (e.g., family, hobbies, favorite places to visit, etc.).

I love to set up personal challenges every year, and in 2015 I decided to enroll to a very ambitious challenge of completing a 100-km. (62-mile) race at the Himalayas in Nepal. That was a very difficult challenge with over 6 months of training, but I loved it. It’s an amazing feeling to achieve something that goes beyond your imagination and incredible to discover the power of your mind. Since then I have completed five 100-km. races in the Gobi Desert (Mongolia), New Zealand, Nepal and Hong Kong. This year’s challenge is to complete a 100-km. expedition in Greenland carrying 15kg. (33 pounds) – not easy, as I am petite! I also love to travel (I’ve been to over 50 countries, with still many more to go) and to experience the local culture and food.

I am also a keen supporter of the Cambodian Children’s Fund, a charity which supports children delivering education, family support and community development programs into the heart of Cambodia’s most impoverished communities. I do some volunteer work and support fundraising events for them in Hong Kong.