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 Janice Cimbalo, Senior Vice President, Tenant Representation
What is your primary focus at JLL?
I assist companies in ensuring that their real estate and facilities align with their corporate needs and culture. This can take the form of evaluating their workplace and leases in a particular location (or locations) or by considering their entire portfolio to ensure they have the correct size and location for their business operations. Where there are opportunities to improve in any of these areas, I help them address and achieve these goals, including the identification and negotiation of economic incentives, as applicable.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My parents clearly taught us that life exists without limitations: I wanted to be either President of the United States (via the US Senate) or a rock star. I loved history and as the daughter of a musician (my dad had a gig with the Disneyland band among others), I grew up learning multiple instruments, so I didn’t see why not. Now, my love for politics involves championing causes I believe in, and my love for music has turned me into a concert junkie.
How did you get into commercial real estate?
Quite by accident, as I didn’t know the field existed. When my dreams of a life in politics or music superstardom waned, I decided to study law and practiced for 7 years, the last 2.5 in Nashville where I pursued the business of music law. Being a native Californian, I missed living here and received a timely call from my brother, who remembered that I had a broker’s license and heard of an opportunity in real estate brokerage (tenant rep). After speaking to several members of that firm, I decided to interview while I was out in California for a wedding. The more I learned about the field, the more it sounded like a great fit for my experience, interest and skill set, so I gave it a year trial. That experiment will be 20 years old in June.
What is a typical day for you?
My favorite thing about real estate is that my days aren’t typical (how many jobs provide a chance to land on a building in a helicopter so you can evaluate the client experience entering a building that way?). If there is a pattern, it starts early with a walk with my dog Izzy and then sitting at the computer for an hour or two of work starting with my clients farthest East. Then depending on the day, I go to client meetings or into the office to work on current deals and create more opportunities for new projects. I try to spend a few nights a week meeting new people and touching base with friends or clients (or friends who are clients).
Who was the biggest influence in your life?
Both of my parents, each of whom contributed in different and complimentary ways. My parents are both teachers, and shared the value of education as a way to achieve your dreams in life. My mom is one of the strongest women I know and her consistent message exuded strength and the unwavering idea that I could do anything I set my mind to and worked for – the fact that I was female was irrelevant to that message. As for my father, he steadily conveyed the importance of a variety of interpersonal skills to assist business and personal interactions. They are my heroes.
What was the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been fortunate enough to receive so much great advice that it’s too hard to pick one thing. Being honest, true to your word and doing your best regardless of the ebbs and flows of life, much like the philosophy of The Four Agreements. If you continue to do the right thing, you will succeed.
How do you achieve work/life balance?
When you do what you love, it becomes part of your life. I enjoy traveling and meeting people and commercial real estate has provided a way to do both, whether it be by speaking at IFMA conferences for the past 12 years or enjoying the friendships that I’ve gained when clients and colleagues turned into friends. These have created opportunities I couldn’t have anticipated, like the opportunity to participate as a co-author in two workplace books with a former client and current friend. I am on the board of the IFMA Corporate Real Estate Council, the Organization of Women Executives and a former chair of the Social Science Dean’s Leadership Society at UC Irvine, all of which provide me with new opportunities for connection. In addition, I spend as much free time as I can outside, whether it be skiing in the winter or paddle boarding or hiking in the summer. Last summer, I just got my motorcycle license and am looking forward to expanding my travel options.
How has JLL supported you as a woman in business?
Since I started my real estate “experiment” in 1998, I have worked for three major real estate companies. Overall, things have certainly changed since I started as one of two women in a large brokerage office. Since joining JLL almost 9 years ago, it remains apparent that JLL places significant and increasing value on recruiting and fostering women in the workplace. This, along with JLL’s focus on assisting professionals to recognize/employ their strengths and providing opportunities that are a win-win for individuals and teams, is a step in the right direction toward utilizing the unique abilities of women to create more for the individual and for JLL as a whole. Specifically, I work with a team whose talents I admire and respect and who provide opportunities for everyone to use their specific talents to complement the team as a whole – all while having a lot of fun.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
To women specifically, I would say that you need to recognize what you’re good at and continue to utilize those unique assets toward pursuing your goals. Although the way women are perceived and incorporated into the industry is improving by leaps and bounds, the brokerage world can be traditional and incorporating your ideas may not seem automatic. Continue to recognize that you may be presenting a new idea or approach from a different perspective and be confident in your ability to share it.
To young professionals in general, remember that this is a challenging business and you will have your share of what you may perceive as failure in a particular endeavor. What I’ve found is the times I have achieved the greatest success have often followed lessons learned from something that appeared to be a complete disappointment.
If you wrote a book, what would the title be?
I dream of writing a book, but haven’t decided on a topic. It would probably be called Here’s the Thing and include some life lessons from historical figures and something about what I’ve learned along the way. It’s great fun to look back at seemingly unrelated experiences and create a theme that might launch a spark of an idea in another.
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.