Glass ceilings? Closed doors? Not at JLL. We recognize the success and achievements of the amazing women throughout our firm. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’d like to highlight a few of the strong, smart, and ambitious women of JLL. We appreciate them not only this month, but every day. We hope they inspire you like they inspire us.
Meet Kris Smith
Kris is an Associate in the Orange County office, where she is focused on industrial, distribution and e-commerce solutions. Her passion is helping retailers survive our ever changing customer centric world. Her goal is to help create innovative solutions for companies to drive sales in brick and mortar and e-commerce, reinforcing the need for an omni-channel strategy to better service their customer and become more efficient.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I grew up showing hunters and jumpers and I always wanted to be on the Olympic US Show Jumping Team. It wasn’t until I made the decision to go to college that my path changed. College was a very important goal for me, so after selling my show horses I headed to USC and joined the women’s polo team. I didn’t make it to the Olympics, but I do know the Olympic US Show Jumping Team’s coach.
How did you get into commercial real estate?
After 20+ years in the corporate world of luxury retail, I saw the writing on the wall….I noticed the shift in the way customers were shopping and the options available to purchase; mobile and online. I wanted to be part of the change and be able to help more than one brand at a time. My Step-Father was my guiding light, he is a 50 year veteran in the commercial real estate industry. I knew my contacts and skill set would transfer nicely; the ability to build relationships, listen to customers challenges and provide solutions. So once I set my intentions to get into the business it was just a matter of finding the right home. I knew JLL was the right place when I didn’t have to explain how my background was mutually beneficial to the industrial sector.
What is a typical day for you?
Many of my prospects are national companies, so I don’t have a local market. I spend a good amount of time contacting potential clients via email and phone and I am consistently doing research.
Who was the biggest influence in your life?
Without a doubt, my Mother is the biggest influence in my life. She was raised in an affluent family in NY. She went to school in NY, got married and had my two older brothers and me all before moving to California when I was 3. She raised us as a single mother along with the love and support of our Grandparents. She has taught me the importance love, family, respect and communication. One of the most important concepts I learned from her example was how to be independent. From a very young age, I was at horseshows with a trainer and a checkbook. This experience allowed me to make mistakes, learn from them and build my self-confidence. I truly believe my Mother’s guidance and my sport made me the person I am today and kept me on the right path.
What was the best advice you’ve ever received?
My Grandfather always told me never to compare myself to anyone else, someone will always have more faith, more family or more of something else….whatever it is its meaningless.
How do you measure success?
At JLL I measure success by helping my clients achieve their goals, nothing is more satisfying than helping a company make the right decision and become more efficient and effective to win in this new e-commerce world. Personally, it’s about building a loving, supportive, healthy family and having a job that inspires me to be the best I can be. My ultimate measure of success will be when I have created a strong enough foundation in this industry that client’s think of me first when they are looking for information and direction on supply chain, distribution and e-commerce.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I would say that I have yet to achieve this in my new role. It’s always a work in progress. The perfect day is one where I can work and still spend quality time with my family. The icing on the cake would be to get workout in as well, so it’s definitely on top of my goal list for 2018.
How has JLL supported you as a woman in business?
First and foremost, JLL was the first company to recognize the benefits I would bring to the industrial sector. I can’t say this had anything to do with being male or female and to me that is almost more important, the fact that JLL has blurred the lines. The company has been very supportive and I have an incredible mentor. At the end of the day, I am a working mother with the ability to be efficient with my time, to multi-task and communicate effectively, which allows for a lot to get accomplished in a day.
What advice would you give to young women who want to success in the workplace?
I would tell anyone looking to be successful the same thing, know what your passionate about and if you don’t know, do some research, meet as many people and ask as many questions as you can until you find something that inspires you. Once you know what you want to do, find the right home as this is just as important as what you do. Most likely the people you met on the way will help guide you, the best and worst people in any business have reputations that proceed them. Find a person that everyone thinks highly of. You want to learn your business from the best in the business. Once you are locked in, start from the bottom learning everything you can about the business then find an area of the business you can call you own and become an expert in. If you do this your job will never feel like work.
If you wrote a book, what would the title be?
Sunshine With a Little Hurricane.
JLL has been named one of the Top Companies for Executive Women for third straight year by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). Read more.
For more information about JLL, visit jll.com.