In the world of real estate, sincerity and integrity are the morals that are as valuable as the land itself. Engraining these morals within herself, Jaimine Johnson has walked a long road to become the Director of Commercial Operations, Leasing, and Sales Realtor at DRK and Company Realty.
Jaimine’s proven strategies have shifted tides in the niche, gaining her recognition as one of the most successful businesswomen. With assets above $225 million in the DRK portfolio, she has a proven record of success in developing strategies that drive revenue and increase overall business profitability.
Insights Success caught up with Jaimine and talked about her journey, challenges, and future goals.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at DRK. What challenges you have to overcome to reach where you are today?
As Director of Commercial Operations, Leasing, and Sales for DRK, I have developed and implemented long-term strategies for the commercial asset division in the investment management of office, industrial/flex, medical, retail properties.
I previously worked at DRK from 2007 to 2015, and I brought a wealth of real estate experience to the company. I have overseen transactions involving the asset management, sales, leasing, and marketing of commercial properties while executing initiatives to promote and support company growth, global planning, new business start-ups, and company branding. At DRK, I consistently maintained a 96% tenant occupancy rate while increasing outside listings by 83%.
My real estate expertise in Columbus includes working as First Vice President of Colliers Healthcare Real Estate Group. There, I directed the real estate strategy and operations in providing consultative services for healthcare systems and service providers both in Ohio and on a national platform. I also served as senior vice president of commercial real estate at Huntington National Bank. I developed strategies to enhance the real estate portfolio comprised of $10 billion in office, retail, and land out parcel properties.
The greatest challenge, certainly when I joined commercial real estate, was that there were not many women in the industry who did what I was tasked to do. I remember sitting in meetings, and I was one woman to over 80 men in the room. I certainly did not see it as a challenge but rather an opportunity to pave the way for diversification. I will admit that Columbus was very welcoming. I have had the distinct honor of working with some outstanding leaders in this city.
Tell us something more about DRK, its mission, and vision
Donald R. Kenney & Company Realty has 50 years of experience in Columbus, Ohio, in land acquisition, land development, property management, and the sale and lease of all types of commercial property, including professional and medical office buildings, warehouse distribution, and retail.
Enlighten us on how DRK has made an impact in the Land niche through your expertise in the market.
DRK is a locally owned and operated company. That proves most helpful when understanding exactly what your community needs. Being in the business for 50+ years in all municipalities surrounding Central Ohio has helped DRK solidify many useful relationships to determine where the next piece of property is purchased.
Land development signifies growth in a community. DRK takes pride in finding great sites that can prosper not only with commercial and residential construction but also many benefits to surrounding retail, schools, tourism, creating new community infrastructure, etc.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
For better or worse, technology has changed how most business is transacted. Undoubtedly, real estate has benefited from improved efficiencies such as virtual touring, e signing, and online listings sources.
Lastly, allowing meetings to take place online versus in-person helped us navigate and continue to do business safely and effectively during a pandemic, one of the most difficult times our nation has ever faced.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the Asset Management industry?
Optimization, efficiency, and lastly, improve the understanding of asset management and how it proves to play a critically important role in proper NOI. Assuring all Property Managers are licensed, agents.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Commercial Real Estate industry? How is DRK preparing to be a part of that change?
We will continue to focus on the need for work- flexibility, dining, shopping, health activities, and the support of our clients. We are under the strong belief that we need to be affordable and close to many amenities that support our clients’ staff in our buildings while providing a safe environment that allows the employees to work have proper innovation, social, transportation, and telecommunications systems.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the end and what are your future goals for DRK?
I have certainly found what I enjoy doing. They say,” Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life” We are a Niche brokerage; we enjoy specializing, we study our market. I feel we belong in the space we are currently operating in, landlords with square feet from 0-120,000 SF.
Maintaining our goals will be key. Strong goals for our team will be to reconfigure our current real estate to maintain the need in the space and continue relationship building: strong occupancy and an even strong NOI to our investors.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Leasing/Sales sector?
Know your worth, be strong with knowledge and continue to educate yourself. Always be willing to learn. Lastly, pick up the phone and see people in person. It is much easier to do a transaction with a friend than with a stranger.