Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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Page 13 of 35

12 GC PROFILE initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion, Mahant — together with legal colleagues in Toronto — provides strategic legal support for the development, operations and leasing of office and industrial assets in Canada and the US. She has observed firsthand how the company's investment strategy has changed over the years. Mahant also works closely with the company's larger Montreal-based legal team and legal colleagues in Europe and Asia. Since joining Ivanhoé Cambridge, Mahant has worked on numerous different develop- ment projects built from the ground up — initially in the retail sector, and more recently, in the office sectors as the business has expanded and evolved. "I've been fortunate to work not only with an amazing team and such great talent, but I've also really been able to see the evolution of the real estate industry through the lens of an investor," says Mahant. Being involved with all aspects of a project from start to finish allows her and her team to know the business and manage risk from the onset. A highlight of Mahant's career was leading Ivanhoé Cambridge's legal team in negotiating the CIBC SQUARE two-tower office develop- ment project in Toronto. The first tower is due to open this year, and the second is currently under construction. At 3 million sq. ft., the development includes one of the largest office lease transactions in Canadian history with CIBC. The legal team, supported by external counsel partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, worked on the deal quickly and provided legal support for all related business units. They also worked closely with Hines — Ivanhoe Cambridge's partner and development manager — for the project. Mahant knew that the size of the CIBC SQUARE project, the various parties involved, and the complexities of such a development in downtown Toronto would make it challenging. However, the experience has allowed her to develop new skills and expand her knowledge of the business. Seeing how the role of in-house counsel has evolved, Mahant notes that in-house lawyers today are typically involved in a project from the start, bringing a proactive approach to avoid and manage risk. "Companies are really engaging in-house counsel a lot more and seeing our value-add because we wear a legal hat. But our skills, our training, our understanding of the business strategies, and our reflexes allow us to bring a lot more value to the organization," she says. For the remainder of 2021, Mahant will be focussing on completing Ivanhoé Cambridge's strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion, and working on a successful grand opening of 81 Bay at CIBC SQUARE. She also hopes to continue her current path of learning more about the human capital side of the business and surrounding herself with people who want to make a difference. "It's not about titles or privilege or the scale or size of a project. It's about the impact you'll have on people and how you make people feel," she says. "I've been fortunate to work not only with an amazing team and such great talent, but I've also really been able to see the evolution of the real estate industry through the lens of an investor." Named as a Lexpert Rising Star, 2015 Director of the Commercial Real Estate Equity & Diversity Council Founding member of the Ivanhoé Cambridge Women's Forum Co-chair of the Ontario promotion committee for Women in Governance's annual recognition gala Member of the International Council of Shopping Centres Canadian Law Conference planning committee FACT FILE

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