Callie Jones, office broker with Cassidy Turley, always knew she wanted to go into finance – but it was seeing the excitement of her father Rod Jones’ career that attracted her to the industry. “There’s high risk, but there’s also high reward,” she said. Plus, she has the skin for it, her father has told her. We sat down with Callie to discuss the highs and lows of the industry, and what it’s like for a young broker to enter a competitive field.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN CASSIDY TURLEY?
“I started as an intern at Cassidy Turley when I was still in college, and worked then with the team I work with now – Mike Mayer, Tom Houts and Jeff Winters,” she said. “When I came back from school, I interviewed at basically every company. A lot of the companies if there was a spot they would have offered it, but I’d be on my own. I wanted a senior mentor like mike that I have now. I wasn’t having luck, was maybe going to try something else. But Cassidy had a special situation.”
After learning that Callie was ready to take a position at RED Brokerage, the team put together a creative role for her.
“They found this hybrid role for me where I could start salaried, learn both the marketing side of the business and do a lot of their financial analysis, go to meetings, and get put into a lot of client contact,” she said. “I was there probably a year and a half in that role, and last fall decided that I wanted to go full-blown broker. So it’s been over 6 months, I’ll be approaching a year in the fall. It’s good to still have the support of that team.”
“I definitely don’t feel intimidated. I’d rather look at it as a non-event; This is business. Sometimes there’s an advantage to being a man, sometimes there’s advantages to being a woman. I think I’m a refreshing face. It’s not the norm. But overall, it doesn’t really bother me. I think it’s an excuse.”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE BUSINESS?
“I do think the more fun side of the business is the tenant rep side, although you need to understand both sides in order to be successful, both to educate your landlord about tenants but also to know what tenants are thinking on that side of the deal. With a tenant, it’s dynamic and you can be creative. You’re getting lists, prospects, and putting out proposals and there’s always a 50/50 chance that it’s going to work out. You never know, but it’s likely there’s going to be a deal done so you can be more engaged. I think it’s more fun. You may have a tenant that thought they wanted to lease X amount of square feet of space until they get out and see some places and decide to buy a building – and then it’s a whole new deal. They’re both good learning experiences but I’ve learned a lot on the tenant side.”
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE DEAL SO FAR?
Callie helped ECCO Select, an local information technology firm run by President and CEO Jeanette Prenger, find a new home as it burst at the seams in its current downtown home. “Because I sourced it, I had more skin in the game, but it took its twists and turns and there were points at which I was always playing problem-solver.” With cost as the company’s primary driver, she found a 12,221-square-foot space in Briarcliff I that will accommodate the growing firm and its need for space for up to 50 employees. Read more about that deal here.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MENTOR?
As an intern, Callie began working with Mike Mayer, Tom Houts and Jeff Winters, and today the team still coaches her.
“Mike Mayer (is my mentor) on the macro level; He’s always looped in on everything we’re working on. We meet with him monthly, if not bi-weekly. He’s always critiquing and helping us; Right now, he’s having us give mock property tours to make sure we’re giving them as effective as possible. Tom is the deal-driver, being at the right point in his career where he’s had enough experience to where he can walk the walk, talk the talk, and carry out business.”
WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR PEERS TO GO INTO THIS INDUSTRY?
“Yes and no. Part of what’s really hard about it is the risk you take on, and as a young person that’s growing it’s a struggle, because you won’t immediately have recurring fees, deals, clients, that you can touch. You have to build your business and you don’t have a guaranteed paycheck. Sometimes they’re few and far between, other times they hit all at once. You have to be smart. You have to have the mindset that just because you get a paycheck doesn’t mean you get to go buy a new car. You have to be conscious of that. But the upside is so great. I think that our clients are getting more sophisticated, and they’re tending to sometimes be younger. I think a young person can bring a refreshing aspect to the business. It’s important to be conscious of the risk and the reward but live a lifestyle that makes sense. It’s knowing that if you’re working hard and doing the right things, it won’t always be a struggle. But for someone our age, that can be tough.”
OUTSIDE OF WORK, WHERE WOULD WE FIND YOU?
“I’m a very social person. I love sports – we’ve had season tickets to the Royals since I was born – so we go to a lot of Royals and Sporting Kansas City games. I live on the Plaza, and that area is my playground. I also work on a young advisory board for Operation Breakthrough. We try to get the attention of younger people in their early 20s right out of college that can’t afford to go to big ticket charity events, but would still like to raise awareness. We plan happy hours and Royals games, and though were not making huge donations it’s good to be a part of. Down the road, it’d be really great to grow within that role.”
KC Urban Core Group spotlights
River Market venue
A popular new destination in River Market is flourishing in its new life as an event space, but the property has deep, winding roots that have cemented it into the neighborhood since it was built almost 150 years ago. In 1872, the property was first constructed for use as the first Jackson County Courthouse, along the way also serving as mile marker 0 when Kansas City Southern was building its first lines, before being wiped out by a tornado in 1886. Rebuilt in 1910 by OC Evans and EH Peppers as a cold storage produce building for decades. Today, the building still sports the name of Robinson Potato Supply, who purchased the building in 1975.
Fast forward to present day and it is owned by Chris Sally. He and his former partner, Johnathan Arnold, helped to complete a rehab on the building with help from Clockwork Architecture. After a brief stint as office space, during which it housed Arnold Imaging, it’s now functioning as primarily a wedding venue, but can cater to corporate events as well.
Did you miss this month’s Urban Core Group event? Check out details for its August program by visiting the group’s website.