My New Normal: JLL Co-Head Of International Capital Maggie Coleman
This series aims to capture a moment in time, talking to men and women in commercial real estate about how their lives and businesses are being transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.
As JLL's co-head of International Capital for the Americas, Maggie Coleman’s work life is normally geographically expansive. The senior managing director leads a team that focuses on cross-border capital deployment from global investors, and she frequently travels from coast to coast in the U.S. and to Asia Pacific and Europe. She has been involved in over $20B in transactions and has directed the JLL platform that has executed over $53B in transactions since 2011, including over $10B in loan sales in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Though her world has shrunk considerably, it has gotten no less hectic. With three boys under the age of 7 at home, she has put effort into maintaining an exercise schedule and keeping the kids off of her video calls. And though she can't be in foreign lands, she, her husband and her 6-year-old twins have taken the shelter-in-place orders as an opportunity to learn French.
Bisnow: Describe your work-from-home life.
Coleman: My work-from-home life is a bit hectic. I have three young boys, 6-year-old twins and a 2-year-old. I generally get up a few hours before they do in order to exercise and answer a few emails. Once they are up, it is game on. They are e-learning from home, while I am continuing to work full time for JLL in my capacity as co-head of International Capital for the Americas. There is never a dull moment, but we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to balance both work and thriving kids.
Bisnow: How are you transitioning your life and business to the homefront?
Coleman: Like most of us these days, I am communicating with colleagues, clients and investors via conference and video calls. Given we have young kids, I am typically on mute for most of these discussions. That being said, my 2-year-old has made his way into several of my video discussions. One of the biggest changes for me has been the suspension of travel over the past few weeks. I typically spend a good deal of time with investors and clients in Asia Pacific, Europe or on either coast. Working from home has been a significant change from being on planes or in other markets, so connecting virtually and over the phone with clients and colleagues worldwide has become extremely important. Nevertheless, I do think people are finding ways and making a concerted effort to connect on a personal level, while we all manage to shelter in place.
Bisnow: What is the state of your business at the moment?
Coleman: We are fully engaged with clients and investors who are focused on the impact of COVID-19 on their own portfolios as well as potential opportunities as we navigate through this crisis.
Bisnow: What is your greatest business concern right now?
Coleman: My entire focus is on our clients and being both a resource and source of ideas for them as they manage through the impact on their businesses.
Bisnow: What was your lowest low and the highest high these last few weeks?
Coleman: I honestly do not think I’ve had any major “low” moments over the last few weeks. I remind myself daily of how many people globally are contending with the impact of COVID-19 on their health, families and finances. I am approaching each week with gratitude that I work for a company that has provided me with the tools, resources and flexibility to successfully work from home in a way that balances both work and family obligations as we figure out this new situation together. Because I am in a global role, I’ve been in dialogue with many of our colleagues and clients in Asia, so I was somewhat prepared for the idea we would be sheltering in place for a period of time.
Bisnow: What are you doing at home to keep your sanity?
Coleman: I’ve been vigilant about exercising at home, even if it’s for a short period of time. We don’t have any equipment, so I’ve been waking up early to do online high-intensity interval training classes. I also take breaks during the day to move around, and I’ve been calling colleagues that I may not have spoken to in a while to check in on life, not just work. My husband, the twins and I have also all started taking online language classes.
Bisnow: What have you learned about your business or the industry in the last few weeks?
Coleman: I’ve learned that people are resilient in our industry. I’ve seen many of our industry leaders proceed with a tremendous amount of integrity and humanity, focusing first on their people and their tenants. I’ve also been reminded how quickly our industry evolves. This isn’t a surprise, and it’s a characteristic I’ve always equated with commercial real estate. However, it is striking to see how quickly our business can pivot and adapt given the volatility and uncertainty of the past few weeks.
Bisnow: How do you think the coronavirus could permanently affect the way real estate does business?
Coleman: The last few weeks have certainly opened up healthy debates about what life will be like when we “return to work.” Questions around office configurations, uses for videoconferencing and flexible schedules will have an impact on how we do business going forward.
Bisnow: What are you most hopeful about today?
Coleman: I’ve been moved by the small deeds and significant commitments from so many individuals, and that gives me hope. When you take a step back from the noise and uncertainty, I am hopeful that we will all learn more about our humanity coming out of this crisis.