Morgan Meade works as an Analyst in the Integrated Portfolio Services (IPS) group in the Pittsburgh office of JLL.
Years in the industry: 3 years
Favorite city: How can you pick just one? I love exploring new places and have actually lived in 10 different cities both domestically and abroad. Since joining JLL, I’ve been able to travel to at least 17 more—with some repeat trips.
Why did you get into real estate brokerage?
Real estate is intriguing because it can swing heavily creative and emotional one moment, but concrete and pragmatic the next, given the scenario or stage of the transaction. Our business, especially the Integrated Portfolio Services line, is highly entrepreneurial. Account teams have the opportunity to custom-build a micro-organization from the ground up and wear many hats. Consistent service delivery evolution is requisite in order to keep our clients on the cutting edge. I love the challenge and scope of skills real estate brokerage requires.
What are some of the areas of the world where you’re seeing the most activity?
In my time at JLL, I’ve primarily worked with industrial occupiers, leading or supporting a lot of work in Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, New Jersey, California, and India—especially Pune. It’s terrific to have the chance to be on a first-name basis with our teammates on the opposite side of the world.
What do you wish more people understood about the way your business operates?
Portfolio management involves such a broad and deep scope of knowledge that it takes driven solution-finders to carry out effectively. Our single point of contact advisory team members can certainly bring a base of expertise, but effective oversight necessitates the humility to admit you are facing a learning opportunity, as appropriate. For our managers, this means recognizing the potential in someone who is curious. For our clients, it means trusting us as collaborative integrators rather than a single resource who claims to understand everything. Younger team members can bring an advantage in these scenarios because we aren’t afraid to ask questions.
What’s one thing most people don’t consider when managing a real estate portfolio?
One thing that my limited experience has shown me is how valuable it can be to assign the execution of established, repetitive tasks to dedicated resources who can efficiently carry things out. It is so easy to fall into role overload as you scale, both internally at JLL and as our clients grow more senior in their organizations. People who like to be busy are afraid what might happen if they had more free time to think strategically, but most are amazed at what they can accomplish—and I can relate! As a stereotypical Type A, it took a perspective shift and a lesson in building failsafe processes for me to feel comfortable delegating.
How is technology transforming the way you work every day?
As a former tech blogger – this question is a delight to answer:
- I see endless opportunities for our project teams to better take advantage of cloud-based, collaborative applications.
- Secondly, I geek out regularly on how the elimination of data silos across functions into some of our new RED technology can uncover opportunities.
- Thirdly, artificial intelligence (AI) has always piqued my interest and Google Translate has gotten scary good at helping me get a rough understanding of our international colleagues’ messages.
- Anecdotally, as a “power-user” of our firm’s analytics platform, PAT, I’ve gone from a few sales opportunities a year to a few pitches per month. Clients are beginning to recognize how important and impactful aggregated, easily digestible data can be.
What are the real estate industry’s greatest challenges?
There are two large opportunities for improvement that initially come to mind.
Real estate has room for technological improvement in our management systems. Over the past few years and even months, we’ve gotten closer to where we could be. I feel lucky to work for a firm that is definitely the leader in adopting new innovations and continuing to evolve through programs like JLL Spark.
On a serious note, diversity and empowerment of minorities should be priorities for financial services firms as a whole. It is exciting to see the waves of change this past year. On LinkedIn, I see a much higher proportion of women in photos of leadership teams in the business school at my alma mater, a stark change from when I was usually one of a few girls in my undergraduate classes. Change is coming whether you’re prepared or not, and study after study reveals the benefits of mixed gender and multicultural project teams on firms’ bottom lines.