March 20, 2024

Business Development: Parnell Lea’s Career Story

This series features the professional journeys of a wide range of professionals across Canada’s real estate development industry. Often, these stories highlight how rewarding careers in real estate development are the result of following your interests, fostering personal and professional networks, and keeping an open mind about what a career in real estate development might be.

Meet Parnell Lea, Director, Security & Life Safety, Canadian Office Division – Brookfield Properties .

How did you get started in Security? 

I started my career back in 1985 shortly after the Olympics ended as a Security Guard at Sun Life Plaza (now Ampersand). I worked my way up the organization and was made the Security Manager about 4 years after I started. I quickly realized that to advance my career further I was competing against people with experience and retiring Police Officers.  

How did you ensure you were competitive with retiring Police Officers? 

I felt I needed training, so I went to the University of Calgary and obtained a Security Management Certificate and a Risk Management Certificate. I also spent a lot of time volunteering so that I could learn from peers but also because of the opportunities it presented for working with others. At present, I volunteer as the Chair of the BOMA Public Safety Committee and the Core-Comm Steering Committee. We have been working on downtown public safety, providing the city with data on what we are experiencing & recommendations on how to make our city safer.  

I spent 20 years at Sun Life Plaza before I moved over to Brookfield because they had a level of security leadership that did not exist with my current employer. After a year and a half with Brookfield, I was promoted to that role and have been there ever since. It has been a great 17 years!

Thank you, Parnell for sharing your experience!

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