James is a Director in JLL's Valuations & Advisory team for Offices
JLL gave me a great opportunity to fulfil a personal ambition
After working 10 years at JLL I took six months off in 2017 to travel around Australia with my partner Nadia in a Kombi van which we named Cosmo.
We camped our way around the country, from the east coast of NSW, through to country Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Uluru and the Murray River. Tassie was my favourite place. It often felt like we had it all to ourselves.
My managers, colleagues and clients were really supportive of me taking the time off - if not a bit jealous.
I had the complete backing of my colleagues
I wouldn’t have gone through with my trip if I thought it was going to hurt the business. But I ensured my workload would be covered and my team really stepped up to help out.
It meant a lot to me that the company trusted me to take such a long period of time off.
Everyone should find a way to help them find focus
The trip was a brilliant way for me to re-energise and put things back into perspective. We did this by constantly challenging ourselves. The longest previous camping trip we had done was only 2 weeks so the challenge of 6 months on the road without any fixed plans was exciting.
The trip made me a better employee
I can take so much from the support I got from my team at JLL and pay it back in different ways. It could be through encouraging my team to take on extra studies, or support them in pursuing their ambitions either at work or outside of it. It’s good to know your team has your back.
Summing up my role in one sentence …
… I advise property owners or lenders on the price and value of their buildings or portfolios in order for them to make appropriate commercial investment decisions.
Real estate is in my family
Work experience with my uncles led to me doing a property degree which focused on valuations. Following that an opportunity came up to work with JLL in Parramatta where I was involved in valuations in all sectors, but found I had a passion for the offices markets, and so eventually took up a job to work in the Sydney central business district.
Never underestimate the value of knowledge
New information is what gets me out of bed and into work every morning. Talking to clients and colleagues and learning about the ever changing office markets is what I thrive on. It’s part of my role, and being knowledgeable about the world I operate in is why clients turn to me.
I could trade in lettuce, capsicum and herbs
If I wasn’t a valuer, I would probably be growing veggies on a farm somewhere. I would have a massive veggie garden and live off the land. I do a little of that already – I grow herbs, spinach, lettuce, chives and capsicums. Unfortunately, living in the inner city limits me somewhat.
It might sound simple, but work hard is what I’d tell my younger self
Put the effort into things you’re passionate about and anything is achievable. I’d also say put yourself out there, connect with like-minded people and expand your networks as much as you can. The bigger your network, the more influential you can become in the industry.