Senior Facilities Manager finds long-term career success with JLL

Shawn Gregoire says people are the key to 25 years in commercial real estate

As a psychology major just starting out at DePaul University in Chicago, Shawn Gregoire had no idea that her love of working with people would someday land her a career in commercial real estate for nearly a quarter of a century.

“I strongly believe my education in psychology truly helps to better analyze and respond to clients’ needs. And by bringing psychology into the workplace, we can improve productivity, employee morale, management and working styles, among other things,” said Shawn.

In 2017, Shawn joined the JLL Midwest Market team as an Assistant General Manager for a high-rise office building in downtown Chicago. In just two short years, she became the Senior Facilities Manager in the Chicago Region for a large multinational investment bank. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, Shawn started serving on the Diversity Committee for BOMA/Chicago, a trade association that represents the interests of the Chicago office building industry since 1902. She also found great support in our Business Resource Groups and joined both the JLL Empower Black Professionals Network and the JLL Women’s Business Network.

Then in 2019, Shawn experienced immense tragedy when she found out her son, Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, had been killed in action in Afghanistan.

“In one of the most difficult moments of my life, my team at JLL rallied around me,” reflected Shawn.

She found support from her current and future supervisors, Steve Zsigray and David Kline respectively. Steve and the entire JLL Markets team were extremely supportive, and she still talks to Steve to this day. David is a Veteran who understood the immense pain she and her family faced. JLL’s VetNet Business Resource Group connected her with the Veteran’s Initiative Gold Star Mother’s support network. Later that year, she and other JLL colleagues volunteered at the Wear Blue: Run to Remember marathon in Arlington, VA, and she joined the VetNet Business Network.

“I am so proud to work for a company that supports Veterans and their families. When it comes to creating a place for Veterans and their families to thrive, JLL not only talks the talk, they walk the walk.”

We sat down with Shawn to learn more about her education, career path, insights on diversity, equity and inclusion and how she finds strength in our community of Business Resource Groups.

What do you do at JLL?

 I am a Senior Facility Manager. I’m responsible for the oversight of Integrated Facilities Management for a large multinational investment bank across all of their sites in Illinois. Additionally, I oversee Soft Services for their new headquarters building.

Where did you go to college/university?

I initially attended Florida A&M University when I graduated from Whitney Young High School in Chicago. I went back to school at DePaul University in Chicago years later to fulfill and earn my degree.

How did you make your way to JLL?

I was initially in Residential Real Estate (Property Management) all of my career. I decided to switch to commercial real estate in 2017 after being in residential since 1997. A friend referred me to JLL.

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What are a few things that you like about JLL as a company?

I love that JLL continues to push diversity and inclusion. I’ve been afforded opportunities to use my voice by sharing my story to make a difference with my colleagues of all races.

Tell us a little about your work serving on the Diversity Committee for BOMA/Chicago?

I’m passionate about this because minorities are underrepresented in CRE. It’s so important to help minorities understand what CRE is about, the vast number of opportunities available to them and also help them attain their goals through scholarships for various designations. It doesn’t just stop there. Giving them support as they embark in a new field is critical to their success as well.

The mission of the BOMA/Chicago Foundation Diversity Committee is to recruit underrepresented and minority professionals to the commercial real estate industry and to promote professional diversity. Through scholarships, education programs and other efforts, the Committee will focus on retaining diverse talent in the CRE industry and forging avenues for professional growth of underrepresented groups, such as but not limited to racial, ethnic, LGBTQ and disabled groups.

What does the JLL’s Empower Black Professionals Network (BPN) mean to you?

JLL’s Empower Black Professionals Network is an amazing group that gives black professionals a sense of equity and belonging at JLL. The BPN empowers me to use my voice and make a difference with others of all races.

After the tragic loss of your son Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, you became a Gold Star Mother and member of JLL’s VetNet Business Network. Can you tell us what that group means to you?

My son was killed in Afghanistan on July 29, 2019. I was notified the same day of my grandfather’s funeral. As you can imagine, it was devastating to see two uniformed officers at my door. It’s a moment that I will never forget. In that moment I was a part of a club that no mother wants to be a part of or can leave. I was a Gold Star Mother. 

Immediately VetNet reached out to me to ensure that I knew that there was a JLL community that was behind me. I went with the VetNet team to a marathon in Arlington to hold my son’s flag on the blue mile. The marathoners run through a mile of pictures of fallen soldiers and then Gold Star families and volunteers hold a flag for their loved one. JLL made sure that my son’s picture was there. I’ve met other Gold Star Families who I still keep in touch with. I’ve attended a Veterans Shark Tank event with the VetNet team. They have also connected me with an organization called Tuesdays Children, and they will have a retreat this year for Gold Star Mothers. Dan Fernandes, the VetNet Lead, consistency reaches out to me and it means the world to me. It was important to me to be part of VetNet because of my connections to the military. Enlisted military and vets need support, especially ones who have seen combat. I’m there for them as they are here for me.

What are your favorite ways to connect with colleagues?

My favorite ways to connect with colleagues are through the BPN events as well as other Business Resource Group events. It’s important to me that we all embrace and support each other.

What does an inclusive culture look like to you, and how do you strive for greater inclusivity?

An inclusive culture is a climate where differing values and views are embraced and cultivated to promote a positive work environment for all. I help make JLL more inclusive by attending various BRG events, mentoring others new to JLL and sharing my experiences as a black professional in the commercial real estate arena with colleagues of all races.

I imagine a commercial real estate world where…

There are more people who look like me that are in positions to affect change within any given CRE organization, whether that’s in a leadership role or in the boardroom.

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