REITalent Spotlight: Q&A with JBG SMITH Leasing Assistant Associate Madison Moore
Nareit’s REITalent series shines a spotlight on talent in the REIT industry, highlighting various roles within Nareit member companies and the unique career paths individuals have taken.
Nareit recently spoke Madison Moore, assistant associate, leasing at JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS). Find current job opportunities available with JBG SMITH .
How did you find your job at JBG SMITH?
In college, I worked as a building manager at my school’s student union. I also was working as a leasing agent at an off-campus apartment for students, so I was already into the property management and real estate industry and just didn't know it yet! So when I was looking for a new job after I graduated from college, I fell into property management at what was then called the JBG Companies.
What does an assistant associate in leasing do at JBG SMITH?
My role as an assistant associate is like a junior broker role. What I do is support our brokerage team, shadowing tours, helping with proposals, and sitting in on lease negotiations and construction meetings learning the leasing process. Since I came in with little to no experience with commercial real estate, my firm is allowing me to learn everything about the business of brokerage so that I can hit the ground running.
What advice would you give to someone who's looking for a job like yours right now?
I would definitely tap into your professional network. I think that networking is the key to getting any job. Maintaining those relationships - whether it’s with former colleagues or professors, people you know from home, or that you grew up with - it's important to maintain those relationships because you never know who will be offering you your next job.
Why do you think someone should look for a role in a REIT?
I think when people think of real estate, they automatically assume residential and commercial real estate can seem intimidating. But there is something for everyone in real estate and specifically at REITs. If you're more of a creative person like myself, get involved in marketing or event planning. There's so much that you can do in real estate that doesn't necessarily mean you're crunching numbers or looking at spreadsheets all day. And if you're interested in that, there's space for you too! Anyone can find their little niche within the commercial real estate industry.
What is a challenging situation you've faced during your time at JBG SMITH, and how did you overcome it?
I would say that working through a global pandemic has been probably one of the most challenging things I've had to do so far in my career. The pandemic has been just completely devastating for a lot of people. At JBG SMITH, we have had to adapt and shift a lot of things, including learning to work virtually with one another.
What do you see as your greatest accomplishment to date?
I pride myself on my ability to persevere and work through extremely hard times and hard situations. Commercial real estate is historically a white male-dominated field, and I think an accomplishment of mine is just being able to excel as a young black woman in the industry. I don't often see a lot of people in the room that look like me, and I think my biggest goal in my career is to be able to open doors for a more diverse workforce so that we can continue to bring in diverse and new talent into this industry. At JBG SMITH, the one thing that's important to us is having our teams look like the communities we serve, and the Washington, D.C. region is extremely diverse.
I also was recently accepted into Georgetown, and I'm going to be pursuing my MBA, so I would consider that an accomplishment of mine as well. I'm really looking forward to furthering my career and gaining as much knowledge as possible while I'm back in school so that when I graduate, I can just hit the ground running with my career.
What is something that you think senior executives could learn from people just starting out in their careers?
Senior leadership can find the opinions, experiences, thoughts, and insights of younger professionals valuable because we bring a fresh new outlook on different problems that need to be solved within the industry. We might have a different take on how to lock-in that tenant or how to market ourselves to a younger crowd. When you've been in the industry for decades, and you're used to doing something one way, there's no need to change it because it works. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't other routes to take to get to the same solution, and having younger voices in the room could be very valuable to senior leadership and executives at a firm.
Please note: this interview has been edited for clarity.