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Origin Stories: Jodie Jiles Switched Careers On Advice From His Son

This series delves into the myriad ways people enter the commercial real estate industry and what contributes to their success.

Transwestern Director of Business Development Jodie Jiles wasn’t always in the real estate business. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, Jiles had a career that started in accountancy and moved over into municipal finance and investment banking.

Traditionally, a parent provides sage career advice to their child. In Jiles’ case, the suggestion to enter the commercial real estate sector came from his own son, Clyde, a recent college graduate at the time. Jiles switched industries and brought with him decades of relationship-building experience that has proven useful in business development. In his current role, Jiles is responsible for researching potential clients and pursuing new business relationships for Transwestern. 

It didn’t take long for Jiles to establish a reputation within CRE, and in 2017, he received Transwestern’s President’s Award and National Legendary Service Award. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas Southern University and a master's degree in professional accountancy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Transwestern Director of Business Development Jodie L. Jiles received the Richard W. Weekley Public Policy Leadership Award from the Texas Business Leadership Council at a ceremony in December 2019. Pictured left to right: Sonny Jiles, Dick Weekley, Jodie L. Jiles and Robert Duncan.

Bisnow: How did you get introduced to CRE?

Jiles: I was introduced to the commercial real estate industry in a couple of different ways. My son Clyde graduated from Morehouse College, and when he came home, he told me that I really needed to get involved in commercial real estate. That by itself paid for his degree.

I initially visited with my good friend Bob Parsley about the industry and possibly joining his company. I also talked to Dan Bellows to gain some insight into CRE.

I then had the great opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for Baylor College of Medicine with Transwestern’s Larry Heard. We had lunch, discussed the industry, and talked about Transwestern. From there, I visited with Chip Clarke, and we made a deal! I loved the platform, I love the people, and it just felt like the right move for me.

Bisnow: What was your first job in CRE?

Jiles: My first job in the industry is my current position, director of business development at Transwestern. I am responsible for researching potential clients and pursuing new business relationships. I work with different Transwestern team members to enhance client interactions, problem-solve and ultimately enhance the experience our clients enjoy while working alongside us to achieve success.

My approach is that we are in the people business, combined with Transwestern’s purpose, "empowering good people to do extraordinary things together." I pride myself on bringing it all together to create and foster extraordinary relationships that allow our business to thrive.

Bisnow: What kind of education, certification or official training do you have in CRE? How critical was it to landing your first big role? 

Jiles: I hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas Southern University. I received my master of professional accountancy from the University of Texas at Austin, and I have all state licenses and continuing education requirements from the Texas Real Estate Commission.

In addition to formal education, I constantly read informative materials as they relate to the real estate business. Education and experiences are critical in everything that you do, regardless of profession. During the eight years I’ve spent in the industry, the experiences I’ve enjoyed have built upon themselves and helped me learn so much over time. Working and interacting with a variety of people also fostered a great amount of experience to help me grow professionally.

Jodie Jiles speaking at a Texas Business Leadership Council event.

Bisnow: What is one skill you wish you had coming into CRE?

Jiles: When I first entered the business, I wished I had more technical skills and had understood the fine points of real estate more comprehensively. I also would have loved a more concrete knowledge of a full-service real estate firm and what it means to operate as a team member within one.

Bisnow: What were you doing before you got into CRE? 

Jiles: I started off as a staff auditor in public accounting and held that position for seven years. For the following 26 years, I was in municipal finance working for firms such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Bear Stearns, First Boston and more. From these outside industries I brought my reputation, a strong work ethic, integrity, relationships and a love for service to our great city and state. There was absolutely nothing that I had to unlearn in order to succeed. 

Bisnow: Can you remember a moment where you felt in over your head or you worried this industry wasn’t for you? Did you ever think about quitting? What changed? 

Jiles: Thanks to Transwestern’s wide variety of people in all sectors of our business with years of experience under their belts, I never felt in over my head. When you have that much experience residing with so many of your colleagues, partners and team members, you are never operating alone. People are your resources to help you get through various difficult situations and Transwestern puts great focus on that. 

Because of the support I’ve received during my years in the industry, I never once felt like quitting.

Jodie Jiles

Bisnow: What were your early impressions of the industry, good and bad? How has your impression changed?

Jiles: My early impressions of the industry weren’t necessarily bad, but there were some challenges I faced. Entering the industry fresh and unknown created a necessity for me to reach out and engage with those around me. I needed my peers to understand my skill sets and to see the value I could bring to the team. I had to develop a reputation, learn to understand the approach and to assist in every way I could. 

Though over time my impression and experience has changed, I always see change as good. Change gives you a new level of energy to succeed and win. I am now a team member that is known to help, bring added value and foster meaningful relationships, and I absolutely love it. 

Bisnow: Have you had a mentor or sponsor? How did that person shape your future in CRE?

Jiles: My mentors are the founding chairman of Transwestern, Robert Duncan, Transwestern CEO Larry Heard, Transwestern President of the Southwest Region Kevin Roberts, and many more. The knowledge they have gained over their many years in the business is incredible and has been invaluable to me throughout my career. 

In addition to their mentorship, we often come together and have empowering and inspiring conversations focused on development and growth. Since I came from outside the industry, I brought an outside perspective into the firm. These great discussions with my mentors brought about ideas for improvement through finding harmony in our different perspectives and experiences.

I have learned so much from my mentors, how to be a better person, business partner, father, husband, Christian and much more.

Bisnow: What is a key lesson someone taught you, either kindly or the hard way?

Jiles: My favorite key lesson is very simple and is something I’ve carried with me since it was taught to me by my elementary school principal.

It goes like this: “Good, better, best, never let it rest. Because your good becomes better, and your better becomes best. Simply stated, if you always do your best, who could ask for anything more?”

I used to repeat this to my boys every time they got out of the car when I was dropping them off at school. That’s why Transwestern and its people have been proven to be the best place to work for 17 consecutive years. Transwestern not only does their best as a team but as a family as well.

In April 2019, Jodie Jiles was confirmed to The University of Texas System Board of Regents. Pictured left to right: Robert Duncan, Sonny Jiles, Jodie Jiles, Larry Heard, Kevin Roberts.

Bisnow: What do you warn people about when they join the industry?

Jiles: Things do not happen overnight. Have patience and take the time to become a team member first. Have integrity in all that you do and say. Be people-driven and client-focused, and always do your best! Success will follow. 

Bisnow: If you could do your career all over again, what would you change?

Jiles: I would not change a single thing. There are no coincidences with the Lord. He opens and closes doors for us. I would absolutely leave everything just as it has been, from day one until now.

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