Photo: Mark Wemple
"I love the autonomy. I love competing and winning businesses."
Growth Management: LaShawn Bates
LaShawn Bates aims to ‘future-proof' JLL's business in her territory.
LaShawn Bates took over in May as market director for North and Central Florida for commercial real estate firm JLL. Her task, she says, is straightforward: “My goal is to double the revenue every four to five years and continue to make JLL a great place to work.”
JLL does commercial real estate brokerage, property management and construction services. Bates’ market, stretching from Fort Myers to the Tampa Bay region, Orlando and Jacksonville, is a $70-million annual business for JLL and has about 55 brokers.
Originally from Kansas City, Mo., Bates started in real estate at KeyBank Real Estate Capital after earning a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Kansas. “I kind of fell into it through a friend,” she says. Her career has taken her through loan servicing and securitization, including commercial mortgage-backed securities in the 2008 turmoil, to brokerage.
After working for commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, where she was in capital markets and investment sales, Bates, 46, joined JLL in 2019. “I love the autonomy. I love competing and winning business,” she says.
Bates joined CREW, an organization for women in commercial real estate, in 2014, rising to Tampa Bay president in 2021. She’s now on CREW’s global board of directors. Additionally, she’s active in Jack and Jill of America, the Real Estate Investment Council Tampa Bay and Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Her “No. 1 hobby right now” is Duke football. Her freshman son plays for the Blue Devils.
For JLL, retail and industrial continue to be strong sectors in Florida, she says. Office is more of a “wild card” with questions about how many people will return to the workplace from the pandemic. The firm planted its flag in Fort Myers pre-Ian. A challenge ahead: Recruitment in a tight labor market. Commercial real estate brokerages live off revenue-producing employees.
“At the end of the day, the goal is to grow the market and market share and really future-proof the business,” she says.