In part two of our #cwWomenAtWork blog series honoring our Real Estate Forum Women of Influence, we feature Jennifer Miles, a first-time honoree and recipient of the Women to Watch Award.
As Transformation & Transition Manager for Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Occupier Services (GOS) platform, Jennifer Miles is a change agent. She brings together teams of individuals who successfully transition new clients into the Cushman & Wakefield environment and implement new systems and solutions to improve processes. As the key interface between her teams and clients, Jennifer ensures the platform delivers custom solutions to meet each client’s unique business objectives.
Jennifer leverages her consulting background and extensive leadership experience with major Fortune 500 companies to drive value for clients by identifying and implementing innovative solutions and best practices. Whether it is facilities management, transaction management, project management, lease administration, IT or human resources, Jennifer’s influence can be felt. Not only is she dedicated to serving clients, but she completed eight years of decorated military service as a medical services and transportation officer.
Jennifer strongly believes in sharing her knowledge and talents with others.
“I am a strong believer of to whom much is given, much is expected,” Jennifer says. “This translates for me in mentoring the next generation as well as being actively engaged in the community.”
We asked Jennifer about her perspective on women in commercial real estate, her future goals and important industry trends.
In what unique ways are women impacting the CRE industry?
I see women making an impact in the construction space from the project management and architecture perspective. In the Charlotte market, our team recently managed a project for a school that was built and is run by a woman, and most of the project team was female. In addition, I see women driving strategy and thought leadership around the employee experience and workforce of the next generation, especially for accounts where we provide facility services and transaction management.
How can companies benefit from women in leadership roles? How do you feel about the steps the CRE industry has taken to promote diversity?
Women typically bring diversity in thought and approach to the corporate environment. The benefits that companies tend to gain from women in leadership are a more methodical approach and ability to look at multiple sides of the equation. I think groups like CREW are invaluable in promoting diversity in the commercial real estate industry. From a corporate perspective, I think companies are taking steps in the right direction. For our industry to become more diverse, there must be full buy in and support at all levels of the organization, especially from the C-suite.
What words of advice do you have for women starting out in CRE?
Leverage your strengths. This industry is a best kept secret. At times, you and others might be the only women in the room, but you can develop relationships with women at other firms, in addition to your own. Also, find men and women who are willing to mentor you.
Looking forward, what are some unrealized goals you continue to pursue?
I have a job I love, and no two days are the same. I’m constantly solving new challenges for clients, which is something I truly enjoy and want to continue doing. One of my goals was to teach a collegiate course and inspire students to pursue commercial real estate. I teach a course on entrepreneurship at Winthrop University, and there are many parallels between entrepreneurship and real estate. Most students understand residential real estate, however many haven’t been exposed to the commercial side and the opportunities it presents. It’s an opportunity to talk about my job and showcase my passion for the industry, hopefully influencing some students to pursue a career in real estate.
What are some important trends in commercial real estate that you think people aren’t talking enough about?
There has been a lot of commentary on Amazon and its effect on brick-and-mortar retail. Something that hasn’t been talked about as widely is how the vacant retail spaces will be used as retail reorganizes itself. Warehouses have been repurposed into offices or loft apartments. Can these larger retail spaces be used for schools, for example? This will have to be addressed in the near future.
As Transformation & Transition Manager for Cushman & Wakefield’s GOS platform, Jennifer Miles works with facility management, transaction management, project management, lease administration, IT and human resources leads to integrate new client accounts. Being adept at influencing and advising senior executives, Jennifer has led multiple successful client transitions and transformations. Her strong sourcing, vendor management and process improvement experience is complemented by eight years of decorated military service and five years of management consulting.