The 5 Pillars of Next Generation Leadership, with JLL’s Nakira Carter and Kimarie Ankenbrand

Walk West and JLL have collaborated on The 5 Pillars of Next Generation Leadership. Today, Donald Thompson and JLL’s Kimarie Ankenbrand and Nakira Carter talk multigenerational, multicultural, and transparent leadership, and so much more.

Kimarie Ankenbrand and Nakira Carter JLL Donald Thompson Podcast

The Donald Thompson Podcast is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Donald Thompson.

Donald Thompson: Welcome to the Donald Thompson podcast. I have Kimarie Ankenbrand and Nakira Carter, both from JLL. And I’ll let you all do a quick an introduction, and Kimarie, I’ll start with you, and then, Nakira, we’ll go with you, and then we’ll dive in and talk about the five pillars of next generation leadership, which I’m really, really excited about digging in with you all today.

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Great. Thanks, Donald. Always happy to be part of a conversation that you’re leading, so thanks for having Nikara and I. I’m Kimarie Ankenbrand, I’m a managing director at JLL for the Raleigh-Durham office. Been here two years in October, coming up. Been in Dallas, Texas, my entire life, but I effectively lead the office here of about 55 professionals as this entire community continues to grow, and we offer multiple different service lines within the commercial real estate industry. So just, I’m excited to be part of that growth moving forward here locally.

Donald Thompson: Oh, fantastic. Nakira?

Nakira Carter: All right, thank you so much all for having us today. As Kimarie said, it’s always nice to be in your presence and be a part of anything that you’re working on. So, thank you for having us. Nakira Carter here, I am the department and development services lead here in the Raleigh market for JLL. And, in that role, I have about six to eight – it depends on the day of the week I feel like sometimes, I feel like my staff kind of rolls in and out, but – six to eight project managers that I manage to work on real estate projects here in the market. And our market kind of spans from Virginia down to Greensboro in most cases.

And, in that role, um, those PMs actually will work on the interior upfits of office space, we do some industrial work, some – lots of life science now is coming out of that. But, we partner with Kimarie and her team on the transaction side a lot to bring synergy around commercial real estate in the market.

Donald Thompson: Oh, that’s  fantastic. So, one, I have been looking forward to this all week, getting a chance to talk leadership with you all. And not only are you all friends, but I follow your careers, the different things that you all are doing and really value your opinions and perspectives as we think about leadership in this new economy, which is really important to a lot of people.

And so, one of the things we’re going to talk about today, and for our audience, I’ll kind of set the tone. And then I’ll turn it over and ask you all a bunch of different questions, but we’re talking about the five pillars of next generation leadership. And Walk West and JLL partnered together to create this very well researched white paper that really came up with five elements of leadership for the next level leaders.

Number one is multigenerational, multicultural leadership. Number two is social media mindset because that’s a big way that we all communicate with each other today. The third is learning agility, right? The ability to think quickly, learn new things and apply them. The fourth is a technology aptitude. We’re all living in a technology space. And then the fifth piece, right, is think like a startup leader. And so, as we dig into these elements of leadership, one of the things, and Kimarie, I’ll start with you. When we start to talk about multigenerational leadership, millennials are now leaders in business today.

How have you seen that growth prospect and that millennial influence in the way corporations build and grow leaders and expectations of that millennial group within companies that they want to be attracted to and work with?

Kimarie Ankenbrand: No, absolutely. And it’s a great question because, yes, I exposed myself a month or so ago when I let the world know that I was turning 40.

You know, depending on what stats you look at, the millennial generation, the oldest ones was either born in 1981, 1980. So August, 1980, baby right here. And so, yes, I think a lot of people, when they think of millennials, we’ve been bouncing around that buzz word for 10 years, and I think a lot of people still hear that word and picture a 25-year-old, right out of college who’s telling us they want their cake and eat it, too. And the reality is, that generation, to your point, Donald, are in leadership positions. I’m two years into a new leadership position, and I’m trying to kind of navigate that generation and what we bring to the table alongside, you know, the baby boomers who are still in a majority of our very senior leadership positions.

So I think there’s two elements to it. One is really on the communication between parties, if you will, up the chain and down the chain. So, for example, again, new to the leadership table at JLL, one of about a hundred broker leads across the country, I’m probably one of the youngest ones of the hundred. And so when you look at a majority of our leaders in that group, they’re probably, you know, 50, 55 plus, and so two very different communication styles as far as when I look at leadership in the past, very close to the vest, a few people at the top kind of making a decision and they kind of push things down.

And I think when you look at the millennial generation and gen Z coming behind us, they want very transparent leadership. They want a seat at the table. They don’t want, you know, the four and five 50-year-old plus people making the decisions without at least hearing the voices from your mighty middle and your youngest people in the room.

So, I think everyone’s trying to get used to kind of that communication intersection, if you will, while, you know, the millennial generation and gen Z driving the expectations of, I want my leaders to be more transparent. I think we’re living it right now with the pandemic, and everything’s has a more humanized element, if you will. So I think the old school way of leadership is really leaving your home-life at home and being very buttoned up in corporate in the working world. And now, we’re really forced to kind of bring what’s going on with our family and our home life to the office, and so that’s something that we’re having to navigate, but I think with that comes the expectation of our leaders are going to be more collaborative, they’re going to engage more with the employee base before making decisions and hearing their voice. So again, I still think it’s, it’s a mindset people are getting used to, but I think that millennial generation is really driving that push for more collaborative, transparent leadership.

Donald Thompson: No, that’s powerful. And I appreciate that, that very much. Nakira, would you like to add to that?

Nakira Carter: Yeah. I want to add a couple of things to that. So Kimarie, and it’s  interesting our answers are very similar, we did not talk about this – we didn’t get a chance to talk about this at any point before our time here together.

But, I really feel like millennial leaders are really pushing the envelope around how we define leaders, right? And I think some of it has come out of the pandemic and dealing with, you know, having to rethink the way that we manage our people. And so, you’re hearing words like empathy and compassion, and you know, in the past, you know, in that, you know, kind of baby boomer, and I’m going to say, where do I live? I think I’m in Gen – I think I’m in what gen X?

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Gen X.

Nakira Carter: Gen X. Yeah, I’m in the gen X, you know, that’s the one that’s aggressive and assertive, right? And I feel like we’re starting to move away from that a lot, and we’re really looking at leaders that are more human, that are vulnerable – we hear that word a lot.

That, you know, really points to what Kimarie said earlier about the transparency. I also think that our millennial leaders bring a global presence. You know, I was on kind of like the, the beginning of the era of like cell phones and internet, email. I remember my first year of college actually get my first email address. And so, everyone that kind of came behind me, like it was just more global. I remembe,. You know, being in college and seeing for the first time students that were in elementary and middle and high schools actually doing video conference, and with people that are like, in Japan, right, here in the States. It was such a big deal.

And that is the norm right now. I mean, you know, you’ve got, you know, my daughter has interacted with kids all over the world. And it’s, it’s, it’s just the norm. I mean, you know, if we take things like TikTok, or Snapchat, or Facebook, or even LinkedIn, we’re all connected globally, and they grew up with that. That’s all that they’ve ever known is how to operate globally, and I think that has definitely changed the way that you know, that companies are run now. Everything is global now and it’s, you know, at the, at the click of a button.

Donald Thompson: Oh, that’s powerful. I appreciate that very much. I want to extend where you were heading a little bit in terms of the overall macro communication, both in terms of the video conferencing from a global standpoint, but even the local footprint of social media conversation. So, there is a lot of personal intensity with social media conversations, but also we’re business people, right? And there are certain perspectives that need to stay in a business construct. So I’m interested, from the both of you, how do you navigate and make sure that you’re using social content to push your business agenda forward and keep that professional approach in using these kind of new wave tools?

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Yeah, no, it’s challenging. I know it’s something at JLL, given we’re a fortune 200 global company, that you know, they struggle with, right? It’s almost that much instead of the more social media, the more you put yourself out there, the more you’re exposed to potential, you know, negative comments or bad publicity.

And so, I think you see some of these larger corporations that are a little slower to adapt because they’re afraid of what’s the downside instead of looking at kind of what’s the opportunity and what’s the upside. So I, I still think at JLL we’re, we’re navigating that, but I think from a standpoint of, regardless of what industry you’re in, you know, today it’s LinkedIn from a business standpoint, if we all met in 12 months, it could be some other application. But, if you’re looking to build a personal brand, whether you’re in a sales role, whether you’re in a salaried accounting role, whether you’re in an operations role, you have to build a personal brand and it’s the easiest, least expensive way to do that quickly.

And so, really embracing LinkedIn is something that I made a commitment to two years ago. And it’s not just about who am I connected to and accepting invitations, but it’s also about that’s where your resume lands. Most people, whether you’re looking for a job or you’re taking a meeting for a business opportunity, most people aren’t finding your profile on your company’s website ’cause it’s probably a very corporate, standard, you know, profile that says the same thing for a lot of people. And so, I know personally, when I take a meeting or I, you know, set a meeting with somebody else, the first line defense is LinkedIn every single time. I want to know not only where they work and what their role is, less about title, but what do you do? Where have you worked before? I can tell kind of who you are business-wise and personally by the content that you like or that you post or that you follow. I think it’s a way softly share who you are outside of the business world without having pictures of your kids and your cats and your dogs like you would on Facebook.

So I think for right now, it’s a very powerful platform, whether you’re a 50-year-old in the business, or whether you’re a 20-year-old, you know, just coming out of your internship. It’s your first impression, it’s your first line of defense, for anybody having a conversation with you and, I’ve highly encouraged our entire team to really, again, doesn’t matter where you are in your career, you can learn, and as long as you intentionally focus on being very professional with your profile and the content that you push out there, it, it really allows you to build your network not only internally at your company, but externally kind of, no matter what role you’re in.

Nakira Carter: I would add, so Kimarie said all, oh my goodness. One thing I would add, though, is I think companies need to really think about ways to leverage, you know, sites like LinkedIn because every time, you know, Kimarie and I go out and post something, or someone from our team, you know, we’re hashtagging or, you know, linking in JLL as organization, and those are things that people see, right? So, today I was on a call, here at the company, it was a coming together talking about racial injustices, but one of the things that was mentioned on the call was that throughout your lifetime, the average person meets 10,000 people, right? And the 10,000 I meet  will not be the 10,000 that you meet, or that Kimarie meets, right? But, what happens on LinkedIn is that we have all these connections with individuals, and some of them overlap and some of them don’t, but we’re able to reach so many people. So, you know, as news happens at the company, you know, as, as things occur, as far as like business wins or like, I’m trying to think of a word here, like challenges that you may be facing as well, those are locations where your employees can go out and start to hashtag and link that stuff back to the company, and you start to touch even more and more people. The one thing I can say about JLL is that we are a very social media friendly company, a lot of companies aren’t, you know, even some of our clients aren’t, you know, my sister works for a bank and, you know, they got firewalls up that make it impossible for their employees to even do that kind of stuff from their cell phones that are connected even to company WiFi, and JLL is not that way. And I think it has bode well for them overall, because it has become a marketing tool and a branding tool for the company. And I know Kimarie and I are definitely folks that promote that all the time for JLL.

Donald Thompson: I think it’s big. I think one of the things that you all both alluded to is building your personal brand. And when I’m looking at doing business with an organization, I want to know about the company and then the person I’m going to specifically interact with, right? And it is very important that you give people the ability to research you from your best point of view, and not leave that to chance. So as a business person, as a sales professional, as an entrepreneur, right? You want to give people the ability to research the things that you want to highlight about why they should pick you. And if you don’t, then you’re leaving it to chance and your competitor is putting them their best self out there, right? And decisions and preferences and biases are being created, right, against you because your competitor is putting their success story, their thought leadership out there, those things that make them different, and then the client is getting that subconscious view that JLL is stronger than this competitor, because I got to know Kimarie. I got to know Nakira.

So both, both phenomenal points of feedback. Want to continue, and now transition a little bit, as we think about, from a female perspective, from a person of color perspective, being the only one in the room. There’s a lot of momentum right now around how do we address racial injustice? How do we create racial equity? How do we continue to promote pay equity with our female employees and leaders?

All of these things are very good, right? Of course there’s some, a lot of ways to go, but there’s positive momentum around these things, and I’m very excited about that. One area, however, that I think we’re still lacking is giving people the skills to operate in the moments that we still live in. When you are the only African American person in the room, and it makes you feel a little bit uneasy, what do you do? Who do you talk to? How do you build that mental armor to go forward? So I’m interested to hear from both of you from your different perspectives of how you’ve navigated that through your career and what advice maybe you would give for people on that journey?

Nakira Carter: I’ll go first. So I will say, you know, for me, the most important thing is just really identifying the allies, and JLL makes that a little bit, probably easier than most companies. I’ve been here for 12 years, I haven’t worked in a lot of places before. And I think the whole kind of, emergence of employee resource groups has kind of occurred over like, the past 10 years.

So my space has been at JLL, you know, over the past 10 years. So, you know, find those allies. Here, we’ve got a number of different resource groups whether it is, you know, the Asian group or the Black professionals network or the, you know, Latino group. Not only are people that fit those descriptions or, you know, kind of racial backgrounds, joining those, those employee resource groups, they’re also people that don’t fit those descriptions that join as well, and those become the allies. And those are the ones that, you know, will speak up for you when you’re present, but, I think even more importantly, when you’re not, and that’s one of those things I always say to people. It’s easy to say something nice about me, or they take no offense to someone that says something bad about me when I’m in the room, but what happens when I’m not there, right? So, it is all about that, the allyship. I think the second piece is being welcomed in a space. You can fully bring yourself to work. I did a panel with JLL for women of color within commercial real estate in company about two, maybe three months ago. And you know, I’m one of those people, what you see is what you get, Kimarie will tell you that. Like I’m always bubbly and happy and just, you know, enjoy life. And so I always brought that person to work. But on June 1st, which was the first day we were back in the office kind of post-COVID – I know we’re still in the midst of COVID, but I’m calling it post-COVID for coming back into the office – it was the week following the George Floyd incident, you know, when he was killed. And so, come into the office, you know, come in the first day, we’ve got one third of our population here. I’m going to call it 15 people. And of the 15 people, I had no less than eight to walk up to me and say, we stand with you. We understand what you’re going through, right? And that had never happened before. And so, I think that gave me permission to fully bring myself to work because in the past, when you know, things like Trayvon had occurred, you know, Trayvon Martin had occurred or Ferguson had occurred, I felt like I had to leave it at the door because no one was really talking about it.

But I think what happened, you know, on that day, back in May, when, you know, George – that whole incident was captured on video, I think that like, his death transcended, you know, race, it transcended socioeconomic class, it just transcended gender, transcended everything. And I think that gave a lot of us people of color permission to fully bring ourselves to work because those allies showed up. People that were not part of those, you know, employee resource groups, they showed up and showed their support and were very – as vocal as we were about the pain that we were feeling and acknowledging that. So, for me, those are, you know, of course the allies, but just really being able to be in a space where I can fully bring myself to work and that emotional piece that’s like, I always had to leave at the door, I now bring that to work. And I probably cry a lot more work than I did. Kimarie can probably attest to that, but it’s just, it’s freeing. It’s liberating to be able to, to be that person fully at work and not feel like you have to hold anything back.

Donald Thompson: Awesome.

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Well, the emotional part, I’ll start on that. Nakira, I have a few points to make, but I, I, what I find very interesting these days is one knock that I think women have gotten in business in general, whether it’s in the leadership room or just, you know, early on in their career is we tend to be more sensitive and more emotional than our male counterparts. And now that we’re talking about empathetic leadership, I find it ironic that empathy I think flexes that more emotional side of the brain. And so, again, no coincidence that we’ve kind of been lacking that more sensitive, emotional, self-aware, leadership ability. And as we continue to see women in general be more apparent and present leadership tables, hopefully that’s going to, you know, play into that empathetic leadership. You’ll have those people in the room and then hopefully we can help our male counterparts as leaders be more empathetic as well.

You know, I think the other thing that’s interesting to note that I have always kind of abided by, I think there’s been a few studies in the past. I don’t remember who did them, but you know, they say you really need to have at least have a third minority representation in a room or in a conversation at a table to really have appropriate power and influence.

So, I think as we’re starting to say, “Yeah, we’re going to add a few women to the room or we’re going to add a few people of color,” that’s great, but we really need to be aiming towards that minimum of a 33% representation for that group to really have a voice in the conversation. So, I think we’re making progress, but everyone should really be striving for that, again, third representation of a minority group for them to really be able to effectively contribute to a conversation. You know, as far as being the only woman in the room, we’re very fortunate that Nakira and I, and our Raleigh office, are very heavy female, one of the highest percentage of female offices that JLL has in the country.

So, sometimes I forget because I’m very rarely not the only female in the room. I know we still have some work to do on people of color as, as Nakira has only one or two people in our office, but, we’re, we’re going to try to work harder on that as we have the female front. But, I do think the one thing that – sometimes it’s hard to see back to that sensitivity and emotional side of things.

I think the women that have made it, to date in some leadership positions have a common thread and it’s they have a thick skin. And what I, what I have seen is just because you don’t have a thick skin, doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader. And so, how do we kind of, push that barrier aside and bring women or other minority people that might not have that super thick skin, to kind of fight their way into that room?

Because at the end of the day, they probably have a lot of talent and, you know, value, to bring to the table. So, if we can just shift that mindset of yeah, it’s OK that somebody is coming to the table not as hard charging, a little bit more emotional, a little bit more sensitive. But at the end, it’s going to come back to really help on the empathetic leadership side of the conversation.

Donald Thompson: Those are powerful, powerful points. I think for me, as I listened to both of you, it makes me reflect on things I’ve had to learn as a leader. And I certainly, as a son of a football coach, as a former athlete and all those things, like there was moments in time, right? Where, like I was, I was absolutely a little bit too assertive in my leadership style.

And one of the things that a mentor told me to help me through this is what outcome are you trying to achieve? And when I started to think about the outcome, then I started to think about the value in slowing down and communicating with people based on their point of view, not mine. Right? And so, even though that’s not the right way to look at it, I had to figure out why should I slow down? It’s quicker, just say it how it is. I’ll tell the truth. Right? OK, but if it doesn’t allow somebody to hear you because of the way you came across, then you’re not creating the right environment for everybody to win. And so, I had to learn to slow down and have longer, more impactful conversations with people, answer a few more questions from different points of view, and then what I found is I got higher productivity.

I wasn’t taking a step back by slowing down and thinking about the feelings of others and how I communicated, I was actually accelerating the longterm value of the conversation. And it took me years, and I’m still working on that, but it took me years to fully grasp that as a, as a business person.

And then it allowed me, now, to lead a broader set of different types of people, and that’s when I really started to be able to grow as a professional. If you can only lead one type of individual, one style, then you cap your own personal productivity, right? It’s not even about the other people. Always it’s like what kind of leader, what kind of impact do you want to have? And so, then you got to work on your people skills. You’ve got to work on the, the way that you communicate. So thank you guys so much for those points.

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Yeah. I mean, the only other thing I would add is actually stepping back in time and realizing how early the mindset of society kind of has an impact on this.

So Nakira has got a daughter, I’ve got two boys. So as, as pro-female as I’ve been over the years, raising two boys has given me insights that I wouldn’t have rather if I had had just girls. So, my boys are 7 and 10, and they’re all boy, they are tough as nails, sports. I mean, you name it, but you know, I still remember in first grade, I went to volunteer at my son’s lunchtime, recess time, and I had three or four girls that came up to me and they were like, “Are you Bruce’s mom?”

And I was like, “Well, yes, I am.” They all told me who their name was. So they proceeded for, you know, 10 minutes to tell me everything Bruce had been doing, you know, on the hour, you know, every hour for the past couple of weeks, almost to the point where I was like, “Hey, I’m going to move on now.” So I come home, and I ask my son who, you know, about these three girls. And he looks at me and he’s like, “I don’t know who you’re talking to talking about. I don’t know who they are.” And so, this is continued, even last night when I’m talking to my son, he only knows the names of his guy friends, right? But like, you go and talk to the girls, and they know everything about my boys.

They know what order they eat there lunch in, they know that they’ve eaten two desserts instead of one, and they tell the teacher. And so, I kind of laugh about it in concept, but when we start talking about this conversation of what the male and the female gender bring to the table, it’s very different, very early on.

And so, I’m even trying to work hard with my sons. You know, we’ve talked about, you know, don’t tell we like that girl because she’s pretty, but really trying to have conversations with them of like, why do you enjoy them? Or can we talk to them more, even though you’re used to just playing sports with your friends.

So, I know I went around a big circle there, but I think the takeaway is it’s ingrained a little bit with kids at a very young age, and so that’s been eyeopening to me as, as to not really throwing stones at one way is right or wrong, but just society has kind of a frame of mind that these kids grow up with, and as parents and leaders, we need to recognize that and bring that to the table as we’re looking to bring both genders, mindsets and characteristics to the table.

Nakira Carter: And I would say, Kimarie on the – I don’t want to say that flip side, cause it’s not the flip side, but I think by, you know, working with your boys in the way that you’re working with them and teaching what you’re teaching them, it also teaches them that women like, we’re different. Right? Like I just feel like we were, we were, we were made to be a little bit more soft and a little bit more emotional, and that’s OK, right? And it goes back to the comment I made earlier about being able to bring your full self to work, right? And I think so often we get shunned for those characteristics that make us human, right? And you know, if I get a little bit more emotional than meeting or if I cry or if the way I handle us situation or my response is a little bit different than my male counterparts, I’m criticized for that, but it goes back to diversity of thought, it goes back to bringing my full self to work, and I just think it’s important, you know, to talk about those things, right? Because the one thing that does make us different is I feel like women are much better multitaskers than men, right? We have to do – no, seriously. My manager’s manager will say all the time, he’s like, I will hire a woman project manager any day, right? Because he’s like, we’re able to juggle a lot, and I think we’re just made to be that way, right? So I just think it’s important as, you know, as you’re teaching those lessons, which I know that you are, that you’re, that they’re also learning that like women will be a little bit different, and it’s OK because we were made different as well. And we need to just celebrate that, right. I’ll always say it to Kimarie, I’m like, we, you know, “Why do we even have maternity leave discussions at work? I don’t know any man that’s ever had a baby,” right? Like, I don’t know any man, so why are we even having those discussions, right? Like let us be the woman, and populate the Earth, and be OK with it. We need to be out, and be OK with it, right? So yes.

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Oh, we need another hour to talk about that, Nakira.

Donald Thompson: But I’m into it, right? I I’m telling you, this is not disappointing. So what, what I will, what I will say, and I’m smiling ear to ear, is that the, the other thing that I, and I really work hard to see the positive in the chaos, right, of our world. And it’s tough these days, but I, and I still am working to do it. And the one of the things is that the power is starting to shift from people that are pushing hate to people that are pushing empathy. And even though the people that are pushing lack of tolerance, more divisive language are getting louder. It’s because of their losing; it’s not because they’re getting stronger. And corporations are starting to recognize that the triple bottom line people, planet, profit, all have to go together.

And the corporations are like, “Wait a minute. I’m not making this political or not, I’m making this financial, what do I need to do so the rock stars want to work at my company? And if the rock stars want us to be socially conscious, they want us to be a profitable business, they want us to have better mentoring then you know what? I’m going to learn how to make that work in my company, right? Because the difference between some of the ideology things that we have in our country and people that are working in corporations, is there’s a bottom line that trains us, and if we have to adapt back to one of our pillars, learn and adapt, I’m seeing a lot of CEOs that I’m talking with about DEI that are leaning into it because they really are starting to see that more productive, happy employers are more productive and happy clients. It’s as simple as that, right? If you keep it really, really simple, right, you don’t try to change the world at once, but if I have my externally facing people that are happier to be with our squad, I’m going to get more clients. If I get more clients, my bonus will be bigger. And I like bigger bonuses, right?

Like, and it doesn’t mean they’re only doing it for the money and they don’t have a heart, but at the end of the day, we are financial creatures and we are success driven creatures in, in corporate America, so we can’t run from that either. And so, our ability to link the emotive with the economic is a really important trend that I’m seeing that is helping keep me excited about the future as we kind of push through some of the crazy that we’re all working to deal with.

We’re about finished, and I want to give you all space to just any final thoughts you’d like to share on leadership, on any of the things we talked about, because one, I want to be very careful with the time I spend with you all so that when I call you always say, yes. I don’t take more than my fair share, but I want to give you all the space to just leave our audience with any parting comments, maybe something that I didn’t ask that I should have brought to the conversation.

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Yeah, no, I’ll go first, Nakira. I think really to piggyback off of your last comment, Donald ,is, I’ve heard this teed up a few different ways as far as whether it’s, you know, adaptation of technology or diversity and inclusion.

I mean, whatever, companies are doing to, to stay relevant. People have said, you know, when you think of a sustainability plan, I think most people, when they hear that these days still think of solar panels, recycling green initiatives, but the reality is diversity, technology, social media; they are part of a company’s longterm sustainability business plan.

You will not survive without those areas. So, some of them were like nice to have in the past or feel good type things, but now, like if you want to survive as a business, whether you’re public or private or no matter what industry you’re in, they’ve got to be a core part of your DNA, otherwise you don’t have a sustainable business plan and you’ll become a blockbuster or whatever companies out there that people just ran by them. So again, I stole that from a few other leaders and it, it, to me it’s spot on and really tees up the why so when companies are talking about improving their maternity leave or hiring more people of color or really pushing technology initiatives, they have to. The business – it’s a business imperative. It’s gotta be a part of their DNA. If they don’t, you’re not going to survive ’cause somebody else is doing it and figuring it out and will run right by you.

Donald Thompson: Exactly right.

Nakira Carter: Yeah, and I would add, you know, here at JLL, we say this all the time and Kimarie says it all the time, it’s like, it becomes a part of every pitch and conversation we have with clients, but we are really about people first, and kind of real estate second, right? And you were talking earlier, Donald, about just  making sure that your people are happy because if you have happy people, you have happy clients. And I think companies are realizing now that their people are the brand, right? You know, you build a culture and that culture is supported by your people, right?

I mean, you could have an amazing product that you’re bringing to the market, but if your people aren’t happy, then it’s going to show, right? They’re going to go out and clients are going to see it in the way that they sell the business. And so, it’s just important, I think, to make sure that, you know, everyone realizes that your people are your brand and they’re the ones that carry your company.

I mean, even, you know, even looking at JLL, we, you know, Greg O’Brien, you know, sits up high for us and, you know, he represents JLL, but he’s not only JLL, right? There are a number of people that support the company, and it’s just important that, you know, folks realize and corporations realize that people are the brand and they make the company.

Donald Thompson: I like to pride myself on knowing when there is a powerful finish, somebody has landed,

Kimarie Ankenbrand: Drop the mic, Nakira.

Donald Thompson: And so, I am going to let it be that Nakira has landed the plane, and people are the brand and go from there. And I thank you all so much. Like I enjoy, I can’t wait till we can get together more and just have a glass of wine and just spend time.

But with these times that we’ve spent together on Zoom, I’ve gotten to know you all, but more importantly, as a long time JLL client, I am more of a fan in terms of what you all are doing to really help your clients succeed in a big way, and I share that as, as I go into the market and talk with people. Because this being the, probably the sixth or seventh deal that, that Molly and team have done in terms of me as an entrepreneur, but I was a small fish when, when Molly first started working with me in that first couple of thousand square feet. And seven opportunities later, she’s treated me like I was a big fish every step of the way.

And that is something that I feel every time I talk with JLL, any of the folks that I get to meet. And so, I really appreciate you all spending time with us. And this was really, really fun. And thank you so much.

Full Episode Transcript

Music for this episode provided by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

The Donald Thompson Podcast is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on how to engage your community or build your personal brand through podcasting, visit

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