In the real estate world, sincerity and integrity are the mores as valuable as the land itself. This morality anchored in herself, Jaimine Johnson has come a long way to the . to become Director from Commercial break Activities† lease, and sale estate agent Bee DRK and Business Property†
Jaimine’s proven strategies have turned the tide in the niche, earning her recognition as one of the most successful business women. With assets of more than $225 million in the DRK portfolio, she has a proven track record of developing strategies that increase revenue and increase the company’s overall profitability.
Insights Success spoke with Jaimine and talked about her journey, challenges and future goals.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Tell our audience about your journey as a business executive to your current position at DRK. What challenges do you have to overcome to get to where you are now?
As Director of Commercial Operations, Leasing and Sales for DRK, I developed and implemented long-term strategies for the commercial asset division in the investment management of office, industrial/flex, medical and retail real estate.
I previously worked at DRK from 2007 to 2015 bringing a wealth of real estate experience to the company. I oversaw transactions related to asset management, sales, leasing and marketing of commercial real estate while executing initiatives to promote and support business growth, global planning, new business start-ups and corporate branding. At DRK, I consistently maintained a 96% tenant occupancy rate, while increasing external listings by 83%.
My real estate expertise in Columbus includes working as First Vice President of Colliers Healthcare Real Estate Group. There, I led real estate strategy and operations in providing consulting services to healthcare systems and service providers, both in Ohio and on a national platform. I was also senior vice president of commercial real estate at Huntington National Bank. I have developed strategies to improve the real estate portfolio comprising $10 billion in office, retail and lot properties.
The biggest challenge, especially when I got into commercial real estate, was that there weren’t many women in the industry doing what I had to do. I remember sitting in meetings, and I was a woman to over 80 men in the room. I certainly didn’t see it as a challenge, but rather as an opportunity to pave the way for diversification. I must admit that Columbus was very hospitable. I have had the undeniable honor of working with some of the leading leaders in this city.
Tell us a little 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 rental of all types of commercial real estate, including professional and medical office buildings, warehouse distribution and retail.
Tell us how DRK has made an impact in the land niche through your expertise in the market.
DRK is a locally owned and operated company. It’s most helpful if you understand exactly what your community needs. By being in the business for over 50 years in all municipalities around Central Ohio, DRK has cemented many useful relationships in determining where to buy the next piece of real estate.
Land development means growth in a community. DRK prides itself on finding great locations that can thrive not only with commercial and residential construction, but also with many benefits for the surrounding shops, schools, tourism, creating new community infrastructure, etc.
Technology undeniably plays an important role in almost every sector. How do you leverage technological advances to make your solutions resourceful?
For better or for worse, technology has changed the way most business is done. No doubt real estate has benefited from improved efficiencies such as virtual tours, e-signing, and online listing resources.
Finally, allowing meetings to take place online versus in person helped us navigate and continue to conduct business safely and effectively during a pandemic, one of the most difficult times our country has ever experienced.
Given the opportunity, what change would you like to make in the wealth management industry?
Optimization, efficiency and finally improving the understanding of asset management and how it proves to play a critically important role in good NOI. Ensuring all Property Managers are licensed, agents.
What do you think could be the next big change in the commercial real estate industry? How is DRK preparing to be part of that change?
We will continue to focus on the need for work flexibility, food, shopping, health activities and customer support. We strongly believe that we must be affordable and close to many amenities that support our customers’ staff in our buildings while providing a safe environment in which the employees can work with the right innovation, social, transport and telecommunications systems.
Where do you see yourself in the end and what are your future goals for DRK?
I have definitely found what I like to do. They say, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” We are a niche brokerage; we like to specialize, we study our market. I feel like we belong in the space we currently operate in, 0-120,000 SF square feet landlords.
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 to build relationships: strong occupancy and an even strong NOI for our investors.
What would your advice be to starting entrepreneurs who have the ambition to venture into the lease/sales sector?
Know your worth, be strong with knowledge and keep educating yourself. Always be willing to learn. Finally, pick up the phone and see people in person. It is much easier to transact with a friend than with a stranger.