As Noorisha Gafoor hands you her name card, you may not immediately realise she is the daughter of Propnex Realty’s founder and CEO Ismail Gafoor. Her title is associate affairs executive. After returning from the UK with a bachelor’s degree with honours in business and digital innovation, Noorisha joined the family business in July. As a management trainee, she is rotating through Propnex’s departments to become familiar with its operations.
When asked if she was expected to take over the business as the eldest of three children, Noorisha, who has followed her father to meetings and events since she was 14, says, “He gave me the choice to do what I wanted. He never forced me into the business. I was the one who wanted to be a part of it. I’ve always been proud of what he has accomplished, building a company from nothing to being listed, and I hope to achieve something like that, too,” says the refreshingly amiable 23-year-old.
Propnex was founded in 2000 as a partnership between five real estate companies, including the initial real estate startup Nooris Consultants, which was founded by her parents. Currently, it has 150 employees and 11,000 agents in Singapore, as well as offices in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Cambodia.
Ismail Gafoor wanted his daughter to start at the bottom. Her first stop was the associate affairs department, where she was tasked with reminding agents about missing documents and upcoming license renewals. Currently, she is overseeing the administrative aspects of a major marketing campaign and has come up with some proposals for improvement, such as upskilling courses for staff and practical typing tests for job candidates.
Of course, I feel I need to live up to a certain standard, but it has always been ingrained in me to give my best, even if I’m not here.Noorisha Gafoor
The vivacious young woman shares that her initial period was difficult as she was frequently berated by frustrated agents for reminding them. “It was hard at first not to take it personally, but after talking to my colleagues, I have a better understanding of how to make the work process better and less stressful for our staff.”
Now, she is working with the IT department to implement several paperless solutions to streamline administrative processes, so everything runs more efficiently. Noorisha is not in a hurry to climb the ranks or implement ambitious plans, preferring to gain experience in whatever role or project she is assigned.
With many of her colleagues having watched her grow up, she is aware of her obvious visibility within the company. She says, “Of course, I feel I need to live up to a certain standard, but it has always been ingrained in me to give my best, even if I’m not here.”
Propnex’s young executive wants to retain the company’s familial culture, including traditions such as the monthly “morning parade” where employees can bring up any issues immediately.
“My dad built this company from a small business to a large one and hasn’t changed the way he treats his staff. His priority is always to ensure they are heard.”
Photography: Mun Kong
Styling: Chia Wei Choong
Grooming: Vivien Ng | Arly