Glass ceilings? Closed doors? Not at JLL. We recognize the success and achievements of the amazing women throughout our firm. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’d like to highlight a few of the strong, smart, and ambitious women of JLL. We appreciate them not only this month, but every day. We hope they inspire you like they inspire us.
Meet Jen Olson
Senior Graphic Designer
Jen is our Senior Graphic Designer in San Diego. She is responsible for leading design projects, providing art direction, design solutions and brand strategy as well as designing integrated brand communication through print and digital mediums.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist. I really wanted to be an animator; you know, create cartoons. I always loved to draw and thought it would be so cool if I could create these illustrations that came to life. Comic Strip artist was a close second. The Peanuts Comic Strip was my favorite.
How did you get into commercial real estate?
I had just finished my design internship after graduating from San Diego State and gave the Dean of the Art Department a call to see if she knew of any graphic design job openings. Oddly enough, a San Diego State alumni had just called her asking if she had any graduates that could be potential candidates. She put me in touch with that alumni and I got an interview. That was 14 years ago so it ended up working out. I discovered I really like working as an in house designer in a not so typical design environment.
What is a typical day for you?
My days always start with getting my girls ready, walking them to school, playing catch with my dog and driving to work. I check my emails and then I go through all of my projects. Often times, I’m working on a project for weeks, sometimes months or even longer. On any given day I could be creating a marketing plan for a project, designing an identity for a renovated campus in need of a brand refresh, designing a drip campaign to create excitement around a building, or strategizing a concept for an animated video. My days are filled with creating property marketing collateral, meetings and calls, designing JLL branded pieces, and telling a story about a project or our company visually. Then I go home, eat dinner with my family, get my kids ready for bed and tell them stories until they fall asleep. And then there’s wine.
Who was the biggest influence in your life?
My mom and dad. They somehow managed to raise four kids, work full time and make it look effortless. My mom taught me to never give up on anything; see everything through. She always reminded me to look for the silver lining in each situation. My dad’s determination and hard work ethic definitely had an impact on the way I work and live my life. They have always encouraged my siblings and me to go after what we love.
What was the best advice you’ve ever received?
Live simply. Take time to be present in every situation and enjoy the moment. Don’t focus on comparing yourself to others.
How do you measure success?
Happiness. I find success in the seemingly little things: loving what I do; being a good mom, wife, person; finding balance in my life
How do you achieve work/life balance?
I’m still trying to figure that one out. Hah! Planning ahead and knowing when to stop working always works for me (when I do it). Carving out time for my kids/husband every day. Really being present when I am with my family and embracing the time I have with them is the most beneficial.
How has JLL supported you as a woman in business?
Well, I came over to JLL when I was pregnant with my first daughter and took maternity leave four months after starting. They not only supported my leave but were very helpful and supportive when I came back as a working mom. JLL has provided me with tools through classes, mentorship, wonderful female peers and managers to advance my career growth as well.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
I’d say don’t be afraid to be you. Don’t worry about what others think. Work hard and have fun in what you do. Be creative and different and figure out what your unique value is that you can bring to the table. Really get to know your business and the people you work with. Keep learning your craft and don’t be afraid of change.
JLL has been named one of the Top Companies for Executive Women for third straight year by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). Read more.
For more information about JLL, visit jll.com.