World traveler finds her home

Flex Solutions Lead, Melissa Schilo, discovers a team who shares her flex workspace passion

March 18, 2022

Most job interviews aren't significant life moments, but as Melissa Schilo sat in her car after meeting the JLL team, she realized she'd found exactly what she was looking for: a home.

Melissa Schilo's career has sent her all over the world. Born in Western Australia, she spent the first ten years with a talent booking agency handling model bookings and castings for clients. From there, she transitioned to sales for a global firm. That's when she began globe-hopping–and first encountered the flexible workplace.

“I had never heard of such an industry before where you could start your own business and occupy the space you need on a short term license, with all the amenities and services on a pay as you go basis,” said Melissa.

She fell in love with the concept. Her passion for providing flex space solutions took her worldwide: Sydney, Belgium, Singapore, eventually landing her in Atlanta, Georgia. Melissa liked the variety of the work, as each region and client had different flex needs. The industry has also evolved considerably over the last 15 years. The constant change kept her engaged.

“We waited a while for the Flex industry to become sexy. In the mid 2010’s, more providers entered the sector and absolutely assured me that more companies had started to see the benefits of flexible space,” said Melissa.

By 2017, Melissa had been assisting enterprise clients with flex solutions for over a decade. The conversations she was having highlighted the surging need for flex space.

“The growth of the flexible space providers exploded and at that time when the sector was growing 20 percent year on year. I knew that stepping out to help these companies with their flex portfolio strategies was the way forward.”

So Melissa co-founded a consulting firm. Still based in Atlanta, her partner worked in Europe. For three years, they advised leading brands on developing flex space solutions. Eventually, they reached a point where they wanted to do more for their clients.

That’s when JLL came along, reaching out to Melissa and her partner. The company was already familiar to her, since back in Australia, her best friend’s father worked for JLL. Little did she know a familiar name from home would have an opportunity to provide flex space solutions.

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The JLL team invited her to interview and meet the team at a retreat. Her global experiences provided her with insights into the flex space industry that would be beneficial to the global audience. Melissa remembers meeting people who were equally as passionate about their work and flex space as she was. She immediately fell in love with the vision for the new flex space unit being created.

"It was so impactful to have a multifaceted, diverse, and talented team putting together such an incredible vision. My mind was blown. I knew when I stepped away from that meeting that I had found my home."

After the meeting, Melissa closed the door to her car and cried.

She was overwhelmed by meeting a diverse group of people as equally passionate and motivated people. Joining JLL would improve what she offered her clients faster and quicker than scaling alone. She also didn't realize how much she missed being part of a team until that moment.

Melissa started as Solutions Lead in February 2020. The following months saw the initial shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa had to onboard and support her clients during a tough time when regulations and needs were constantly shifting.

“The challenge for our asset owners was the sudden drop in occupancy for providers within their buildings. The pandemic accelerated conversations about partnership agreement structures, almost forcing the industry to pivot overnight,” said Melissa. She was able to use JLL resources to guide clients needing ways to reduce their fixed rent obligations and restructure traditional lease deal terms.

Being open and honest in conversations during this time carried over into her internal JLL team.

"I have never felt more comfortable being open and honest with a company than with JLL," Melissa said. "My team members and leadership were checking in continuously, ensuring I had everything I needed professionally and personally. They showed respect for my whole well-being. It's not something I've not experienced very often in my career."

Since starting with JLL, Melissa has never been busier. The pandemic escalated the need for flexible workspace and coworking solutions. Joining JLL enabled her to leverage limitless knowledge and resources to give more to her clients.

Most importantly, Melissa still loves the team's vision from her first meeting and what they're creating today.

"What I'm doing now doesn't feel like work. That's when you know you're home."

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