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Season 1

Ep. 2: CBRE (ex-JLL): Sr. Diversity Recruiting Business Partner, Garland Fuller

By January 27, 2021January 30th, 2022No Comments

Episode Overview

As the first guest from the commercial real estate industry, Garland Fuller has over 15 years of experience in talent acquisition. Previously, she was a regional recruiter for JLL. Currently, she is the Sr. Diversity Recruiting Business Partner at CBRE which is the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm in the world. The firm’s assets under management exceed $104 billion and have over 100,000 professionals worldwide.

Here are some questions we will be answering:

– How to break into commercial real estate?

– Who are some of the top CRE firms and how do they differ?

 – What to say when asked, “Why real estate?”

– The difference between residential and commercial real estate?

– How to network from a non-target school?

– Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion important in the workplace?


Connect with Garland and Listen to Her Podcast:

Get 1-on-1 Career Coaching:

Follow our Host, AJ Eckstein, on LinkedIn:

*Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this podcast are of the host and guest and not of their employers.

Episode Transcript

“Doing the job and learning the skills can be taught to you. Who you are when you show up at this final round of interviews, you need to be memorable.” – Garland Fuller


Welcome to the Final Round podcast, where our mission is to help you knock out the competition and land your dream job. My name is A.J. Eckstein, and I’m a recent college graduate, a strategy consultant, a five-time intern and the founder of the Career Coaching Company. 

Have you ever wondered why only a few people get past the final round interview and land the job offer? Join me in the ring as I speak with recruiters at top companies to learn the secrets why certain applicants get “knocked-out” and others are still standing after the final round. 


Now, let’s jump into the ring and get you past the final round. 



Our guest today is Garland Fuller. Garland has over 15 years of experience in talent acquisition including eight years within the commercial real estate industry. Previously, she was a regional recruiter for JLL. Currently, she’s the senior diversity recruiting business partner at CBRE, which is the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm in the world. The first assets under management exceed $104 billion, and they have over 100,000 professionals worldwide. As our first guest from the commercial real estate industry, I introduce to you Garland Fuller. Garland, thanks so much for being on the show. 


Garland: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure. 


Of course! So, I think a great place to start would be to learn more about your individual recruiting career journey. I know that you’ve been in talent acquisition for about 15 years now, 8 of those years being in commercial real estate. 


Garland: That’s correct, yes! I started in the HR talent acquisition world and probably one of the few that knew out of college that that’s what I wanted to do. I had an internship at Charles Schwab in their college relations department, and this was in San Francisco. So, I had an opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of running a program. What is involved in running an internship program? During that time, I was also able to meet other interns within the business. I helped coordinate a lot of the events, because internships are of course about doing the work in the business but also outside of that, we would do mixers and seminars and have career center directors, we would host and things like that. After that opportunity, I was like, “I think I found my thing.” I had up to that point I tried on accounting, I tried on legal, I tried on a variety of different things and nothing quite fit perfectly. I think when you’re a student, you’re learning, you’re trying to determine, where is my fit? What are my skills that I’m very naturally inclined to do? What are the environments that I thrive in? What are the people that I like being around? The other areas, it just didn’t feel right. And something about going into this internship my junior year, I was like, “I think I’ve got my thing.” So, I went back to school the following semester, and enrolled in HR management courses, non-profit management courses, and looked at how I could integrate some of the things that I was able to do into my last semester, last year. 

I got out in a bad economy so when people are talking about this current pandemic and, “Oh, my gosh,” I sympathize because I know. I got out and there weren’t tons of jobs and so you had to piece things together and I worked at a staffing agency on two different assignments they put me on. Those were just to get my feet wet, just to say I have HR experience, just to say that I had learned some things. And in two different industries. One was a hospital setting, one was a bottling company for soda. So, nothing similar about them but it was an opportunity for me to try on some things. And then moving into commercial real estate was again another learning curve in terms of learning how that business works, all of the disciplines and all of the lines of business that come under that umbrella. I’m enjoying that I think because salespeople are fun people. I think what makes commercial real-estate exciting is that it is really diving into what’s happening in your local city, in your market and getting to see all of the I’d say movement that happens behind-the-scenes before you actually see something happen. There’s lots of people putting things together. So, I think that’s been one of the joys of commercial real estate. 


I love how you said that going into it, you found some classes that you really enjoyed and you knew that HR recruiting, talent acquisition is for you. You actually dove deeper into it, learned more about it. But then you couldn’t just specialize. You have to get your feet wet and you come across commercial real estate and then you’ve loved it. I know that you obviously spent some time both at JLL and CBRE, two of the most prominent and most prestigious commercial real estate firms in the world. I’m curious to know, I understand at JLL, you were a regional recruiter and then at CBRE, you are focused more on diversity recruiting. So, how was that role change going from JLL to CBRE?


Garland: Good question! As a regional recruiter, I focused very much on the local market that I was in. So, I’m out of Los Angeles so that incorporates not only LA but Orange County, San Diego, Arizona. So, I had to cover all of the different positions that fell under that market and really got to know the managers, got to know the business, got to know what their needs were. I was really, I feel like, embedded in what was happening locally. But I was focused only on the positions, only on recruiting. I didn’t do any external facing, relationship building with universities, with professional associations. I got an opportunity to do more outward facing work. So, developing relationships and partnerships with organizations, student clubs, also working within our employee network groups internally. And then in terms of diversity, we are trying to change the face of real estate and open the tent a little bit more. I think there’s so many options out there when you go to either business school or if you’re an economics major. I mean, you’ve got accounting, banking, consulting. There are so many places you can take these degrees. And so, commercial real estate sometimes, nobody really thinks about it. If you don’t know someone who’s already doing it or you don’t have someone who you can ask questions. When I go to campus, a lot of what I do is just opening up the world of what this industry can be depending on what your skill sets are, what your strengths are. I think everyone knows about brokerage because that’s the signage everywhere and those are oftentimes the vocal parts of the business where people see people coming and going. But there’s a whole host of other disciplines that are under commercial real estate. So, I think working in the diversity role is giving me an opportunity to be more hands on in delivering that message, in getting the word out there. Not only within organizations on campus but organizations across the marketplace. So, for me, it was a little different just being more out there but I’ve enjoyed it and I think I’m a natural extrovert so talking to people is not hard for me and that’s been fun.


Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

That’s great. I think it’s interesting as well that you say that a lot of your time is spent making strong relationships on campus as in with the student organizations and groups. I’m also very understanding of diversity inclusion. I started an organization at USC who’s focused on helping unrepresented students get into primarily consulting and investment banking. But commercial real estate is another huge competitive industry that really does lack D&I, but it’s so important to help diversify that industry. So, what does diversity inclusion mean to you? What are some things that you’re doing, if you can share, with you and your team at CBRE that you’re trying to do to diversify commercial real estate?


Garland: Great question! So, I’m going to throw the E in there as well, which is the equity. So, diversity is basically a mix. It’s a variety. It’s basically people from all backgrounds and it’s not sometimes only gender and race but it’s also geographic, location, national origin, abilities, LGBTQ, veterans. I mean, there are so many intersectionalities of the things that we have as identity markers. So, diversity is everyone and all of the different lenses and perspectives that they can bring. Diversity is just, ‘Let’s make sure we get everyone represented.’ Inclusion is the idea of creating an environment where people feel like they’re bringing their opinions and they are able to share what their personal beliefs are in an environment that they’re not going to be ridiculed or looked at. Inclusion is more of the environment and creating an environment that allows people to feel like they can bring themselves. 

The Equity, I’d say is something that we recently added, at least CBRE has, and I think you’ve been hearing more. That is the access and having access to opportunities. There’s a picture that’s been floating around the internet, that there’s a group of people who are outside of a fence and they’re all trying to look over the fence. So, Equality is we’re all standing on the same box, equity is we have different boxes for different sizes so that you can see over the fence. It really addresses more so some of the power structures that we’re not a meritocracy. I think people want to think we’re a meritocracy but the truth is that there are some discrepancies with how various people show up. And so, equity is essentially putting in place some support and some acknowledgment that there are barriers to entry and how can we make things more equitable so that everyone has access. 


Non-Target Schools

You were touching on a few points about giving everyone equal opportunity, but I think at the end of the day, there are always going to be companies that recruit more so at certain schools. So, how would you advise a student who comes from a “non-target school” who wants to break into a competitive industry like commercial real estate and can’t just fall onto their element network if there’s not a large element network at that school?    


Garland: I find that LinkedIn, particularly now, I mean, we’re not meeting up on campus as much as we used to simply because there’s just not in-person events anymore. I know that there were students, at least I’d heard from a few students, that would go to another school’s career stuff. I don’t go to a tier one school, but I feel like I’m a tier one person so I’m going to crash someone else’s party. I don’t know that I would necessarily say to do that but I know that there have been some students who have done that. There are organizations also within the industry like ULI or Blend [?] Institute. They have a student membership that I believe is reduced for students . So, they have quite a few networking events both now online via Zoom. That’s a great way to meet people. I think if you are interested in this industry, you need to immerse yourself in relationships and networks that you can that are specific to these industries. Getting the license, if that’s what you need to do. Taking the boot camps, if that’s what you need to do and some of these boot camps have alumni lists, have people who have gone through them. They’ve been building communities and doing things to help people to get in with various organizations. 

But as I initially said, LinkedIn right now is the way to go as it relates to your searching and you’re getting in front of people. If you need to pay for the extra premium level, because you feel like I don’t have a robust enough network at this point to just leverage that, then you can do a search for a specific company, look for the recruiter, send them a message. You can also look for hiring managers, not the VPs, not the SVPs, not the managing directors. We’re talking about people who are in the middle who would be your manager. I know sometimes students want to go straight to the top. Although, I’m sure they love to hear from you, I don’t necessarily know that they have the time. So, I want to make sure that if you’re going to leverage that, make sure you’re not going too high up the chain and that you’re finding somewhere in the middle who you connect with and ask for advice, and take very little time. So, 15 minutes, be prepared to go in there and ask the questions and have that person get to know you. I don’t think sometimes people realize that LinkedIn is really a connecting tool. To be able to have access to somebody like that is revolutionary because before to just even find out who was the person in that organization that did that particular job, you had to go through way too much to find. So, now, it’s really at your fingertips to be able to send off something quickly in order for that individual to just even see that you’re on their radar. 


Got it! So, I think to summarize what you said, LinkedIn is your friend. Use it as a resource. It wasn’t always there. I think it’s so prevalent today, especially since we’re living in a virtual world right now. Everyone is working from home. I think they’re always online, especially with LinkedIn. When you’re reaching out to people, let’s say someone at CBRE, don’t reach out to the CEO, MD, anyone super, super high up but someone who’s a recruiting manager, someone in recruiting HR or that mid-level. And then dive deeper into some strategies to effectively network. Let’s say if you come from a non-target school and can’t rely on an alumni base. So, if we can’t share the similarity or the commonality of, “Hey, Garland, I went to the same school as you,” and look through each other’s profile and I can’t find any similarities, should we just talk about our interest in commercial real estate?


Garland: Yes! I would just focus on interest in commercial real estate. So, if you know something about that organization and something that they’re doing to show that you’ve done your research, if you don’t have anything that you can visibly see, just focus on, “I’m in the same market you’re in. This is what’s going on in our market. I would love to talk to you about it.” 


I would say that for the most part, most people in commercial real estate, I wouldn’t say everyone is extroverted but they do have somewhat of a sales and outreach mentality and characteristics. So, I feel like for the most part, you have to show that back to them and say that, “I’m willing and open to reaching out to you. Hopefully, you can see that I’m shooting my shot essentially and hoping to get some time with you to discuss commercial real estate and a position at CBRE.”


Garland: That’s definitely true. I mean, I’d say we are more of the chatty, how are you? We have to win business and be opportunistic by talking to people and the only way to do that is to just like you said, “Shoot your shot.” It’s probably one of the few industries where people respond to it not as an upfront. I think certain industries if you’re coming on very persistently or assertively, they might be like, “Oh, my goodness.” It’s not so if you’re interested in sales opportunities, if you’re somebody who is interested in doing something where you’re going to have business development. People will love the fact that you reached out.  


Qualities/Skills Needed in Real Estate 

So, on top of trying to be more extroverted, what are some other skills or qualities or characteristics that you think fit into someone who is a good fit for the commercial real estate industry overall?


Garland: That’s a good question. So, we are the problem solvers. So, your ability to problem solve, which includes thinking critically, thinking about steps around not only just what you’re doing but how does that impact the larger system or the larger group. I think people who are passionate about what they’re doing and it doesn’t necessarily mean passionate about commercial real estate specifically but like you’re engrossed in the team that you work on. You’re engrossed in the work that you’re doing. Because that’s how you come up with something that’s going to change a process or how you decide to go about doing something. You’ve got to be interested. I tell students often that they know your job but know the next person’s job because how can you help them if you don’t know what they’re doing? How can you be able to add value by taking something off of their plate or giving them some information that they wouldn’t get if you didn’t know that was valuable information to them. I mean, you have to know what you’re doing but you have to know what people around you are doing too so that you know where you can fit in. And then when your strengths are really great, you know this is really what I’m bringing because this is what I’m really good at. 


I think it’s an interesting point because usually they’re looking for problem solvers and we’d recently interviewed a recruiter in the consulting industry and I would say the main trait as well is looking for problem solvers. So, when you say a problem solver, it doesn’t necessarily just mean commercial real estate but it could be in anything that you’re doing, solving problems and then relating that experience whatever that is going back to commercial real estate. 


Garland: Correct! I mean, some of what we do is ambiguous. I mean, there are certain things we’re going to do that you have to turn in a report every week, month, quarter. I mean, that’s happening regardless. But there are things that come up that there’s no blueprint for. There are things that happen that you have to think on your feet and figure out something. So, your ability to work in ambiguity to figure things out is huge. I don’t necessarily know that that is sometimes what you can teach somebody to do. They just have to have that. I think with figuring things out is curiosity, with figuring things out is research, with figuring things out is talking to other people and asking them questions. It’s a variety. When I say problem solver, if you are in a tech role, problem solving looks different than maybe if you’re in a marketing role, which would look different if you’re in a financial analyst position. But it is problem solving anyway whatever you do it. Being okay with the fact that you don’t know and asking for help, I think we’re an industry that realizes that we don’t have all the answers and so if there’s something that you can be adding to help us do something more efficiently or effectively, let’s do that. 


Residential vs Commercial Real Estate Experience

Let’s say you have to wait for the cycle for commercial real estate. Let’s say you’re a freshman and you’re just not eligible for a lot of opportunities for most companies. Do you think that having residential real estate experience is helpful to add to your application to apply for commercial or is it two completely different things?


Garland: It’s not completely different, but it is. So, when I tell people what is your job going to be at that residential? Are you doing market research? Are you doing marketing? Are you participating in showings and listings? What are you doing? Is that something that can be translatable into the commercial real estate world? So, if it is something that is translatable, go for it. But I also tell people there are smaller commercial real estate companies out there, boutique firms that maybe doing a REIT, they might be doing only property management. There are smaller commercial firms out there that take that same gumption of picking the phone and saying, “Hey, this is what I’m trying to do.” They will be equally impressed that you picked up the phone and found them and you may be able to get a commercial opportunity through a smaller firm. I don’t know that maybe enough people do that because honestly if you’re going for another opportunity in a commercial and they see you have commercials, they’re like, “Oh, okay. So, you are in our industry.” If you can’t get anything at a smaller boutique form, definitely do residential. But I don’t want people to get stuck in residential because there are different things that are happening in residential that don’t apply.


Originally, a few years ago, when I thought of real estate, I thought of residential. I think that’s what most people think about because it pertains to most people living in a house, right? But I think that when you go beyond that and going to thinking about commercial real estate, obviously it both have the real estate in the name, residential versus commercial, but you would never think of applying to some of the smaller boutique firms other than the CBRE, JLLs of the world that are so big. I think early on I think it’s a great point instead of going into residential because maybe it’s easier to get your own residential real estate license, try to go for those smaller boutique firms. I think maybe you would agree with this as well, that not that many people are doing that. There’s probably less outreach. So, you’re going to really make some noise in these smaller firms and who knows? Maybe you’ll love it and you’ll be able to grow with that company but I think you made a great point. Do what other people are not doing with recruiting. I think a lot of people think that it’s such a structured approach to doing everything. You have to do something one way and everything else is wrong. I think that’s a great point. Get in the same field of commercial real estate, but you can start small and then grow and then maybe by junior or senior year, you can dive into the CBRE of the world.             


Garland: Yeah. I mean, I think that when there are so many options out there, people sometimes only focus on the big ones. Everyone’s going for the big fish, right? So, there’s a lot of small fishes in these ponds and you can learn. I sometimes think more because they don’t have very isolated jobs like one person is doing three or four different things and so you’re getting to do the research. You’re getting to do the financial analyst stuff. You’re also getting to pick up the phone. So, you’re probably getting more experience in a variety of places at the smaller firms because they don’t have 600 people to do the work. They’ve only got a team of ten. So, you might be able to help more people and say, “What are you doing? How can I help you?” And learn more skills than probably only focusing on some of the big firms especially if you’re a freshman or a sophomore like you don’t know what you don’t know and they don’t have sometimes all of the tools like the big softwares. So, you learn how to do it in a very organic way. And so, at that point, when you do get on the major systems and the bigger platforms, you already know how to do it before the platform is there, which I think is huge. 


I think a great analogy would be translating this to tech. Everyone wants to work at the Google and Facebook of the world but there are so many tech startups where arguably and probably gained more experience. Like you said, you have to wear more hats especially early on because they don’t have a full HR team. So, if you’re interning in HR, you’re probably going to be the HR manager for the internship, right? So, I think that’s a great point. Early on in your career, trying to get more experience and not just looking in areas where everyone else is looking. I guess, the next part is once you decide between residential and commercial, let’s say that you think commercial is better suited for you and where you want to go. How would you advise someone to try to focus on what to specialize in within commercial real estate? There are so many areas. There’s brokerage, valuation but it seems like it’s just so high level and it’s hard to really learn until you gain experience. 


Garland: That is a good question. I wish I could create a quiz and then have you answer the quiz and it will tell you, “You are great for valuations.” 


It’s not a bad idea.


Garland: It’s not a bad idea. I’m thinking about it right now, because honestly, I get it all the time. So, I tell students, you have to know yourself. If you’re sitting in that real estate finance class and you are eating it up, you could do models in your sleep, you are starting to do models and stuff that they didn’t even ask you to do because you just love financial modeling, then clearly you need to be doing something in financial modeling or finance because that is clearly something that you’re loving. If you are struggling in that class and that is not your favorite class, do not go there. I don’t care what you think a financial analyst job sounds like on your resume when you get out of school, because you will be spending 80% of your day in Excel. So, know yourself. If you’re somebody who you’re like, “You know what? I can spend 40% of my day in Excel, but I need the other 60% to be social. I need to be doing something a bit more outward facing and creative.” 

There are other areas. I want people to really be truthful with themselves about how they work and what kind of work they want to do. Because school really is, this is what nobody tells you, right? So, school, I know it sounds like a bunch of classes, right? “Oh, god, I had to take all these classes.” If you’re paying attention to which classes you really love and which classes you enjoy, that’s really giving you a clear understanding of where your strengths are and what you like to do. And so, looking at those classes and translating into work and what would a workday look like if I had to do these things is really helping you to figure out what to focus on. So, property management is great for the people who like to operationalize, who are administrative wizards and mavens, who like to figure out how to make something work more effectively. They can do PNL and budgets but they also like to talk to people and they like to develop business and they like to be social. If you’re somebody who data, you love data. You could take 600 data points, try to put in a model to give you a result, tell a story, you might want to look at research, you might want to look at valuations. If you’re somebody who’s like, ‘I really enjoy selling and I like the hunt, the chase,’ you need to be a salesperson. So, don’t try to put yourself into a role because it sounds like, ‘Oh, I want to be a broker because everyone is a broker and the brokers make all the money.’ Be honest with yourself. 


So, don’t do what everyone else’s doing. I mean, I think I know going back to investment banking for a second, everyone wants to be an investment banker out of college, because there are sexy company names, you get paid very well. I mean, some people do love just crunching on Excel but there are a lot of people who don’t think that, ‘Oh, it’s not going to be that many hours,’ and then you don’t realize you’re working hundred-hour work weeks, which would be fine if you love it but some people just can’t stand it. So, I love what you were saying about think of it as a diagnostic test, see what you like, what you don’t like, look at your classes that you’ve taken, see what are some areas of interests and some areas of dislikes and then go from there within the commercial real estate.


Garland: Correct. 


Finding your “Why”

Going back to if real estate is for you. I know a very common question no matter what industry is “why X industry?”. So, when you’re hearing people, let’s say an informational phone call, say I were to reach out to you and I’m like, “Hi, Garland! My name is A.J. I’m super interested in real estate, want to learn more about your role at CBRE.” And you come back and say, “That sounds awesome. Curious to know, why commercial real estate?” What is a good way to frame that answer? I guess, what are you looking for? What is CBRE looking for in that answer?


Garland: I think because I understand that students don’t know their whole life. I mean, you all are still very much in the exploration phase. If you don’t know, that’s okay. Tell me, “You know what? I don’t know but here are the things that I know I like. Here are the things that I’ve had an opportunity to explore. Here are the classes that I’ve taken and this has been interesting to me. I worked on this project and while I worked on this project, I learned XYZ, which is why I’m even calling you right now.” Tell me that. Don’t tell me because it’s a tangible asset. It’s not telling me anything about you. It’s not telling me anything about why you like commercial real estate. So, tell me about a class that you took that even got you picking up the phone to talk to me. Tell me about someone you met that you’re like, ‘I got to shadow them for a week and I learned all this about them. I took a modeling class. After that class, I realized, “Oh, my gosh! This is a real thing. I get to see all of these deals and determine whether any of them are viable. Look at all of these variables.”’ I need to hear you’re excited. 


On top of what you say, you need to hear the excitement. I’m sure you’ve heard enough why real estate answers to where they’re just reading a script. They sound very monotone and you can tell that their heart, their passion is not into this field. 


Garland: Yes! The students that I get who call me and are like, “And then I did this, and then I fell into that, and then I realized this,” and you can tell that there is a pursuit. There is an exploration. There is an interest. There is a passion. There’s a little flame in there somewhere that’s like, “You need to keep doing this.” It doesn’t have to be an extroverted passion but it has to be a thoughtful passion like, ‘I’ve been thinking about this and this is why I’m moving this way.” Especially when I hear the people say, “I was a cognitive science major or I was a whatever. And then I had that one real estate internship and now, I mean, I wish I had two more years to go back and take all these finance classes.” I mean, that’s okay. I just feel like you have to find your why. Why are you here? Why are you doing this? What is it about this that is interesting to you? And be able to tell that story and be able to articulate that. 


Areas Students Need Improvement

That’s a great point. I completely agree with you. No matter what industry or job you’re applying to, you have to have your story ready to go, you have to be able to put a thread for your resume. I’ve worked with students before that have had a tech internship and then a marketing internship and then real estate and it’s like, “How am I qualified for investment banking?” You have to be able to navigate your story because if you can’t understand it yourself, how is someone like Garland going to be able to understand it, right? So, I totally agree with you that finding your why and understanding your story is essential. As we are almost wrapping up the show today, one of my last questions would be to know that I know that you’ve obviously had a decade and a half of experience in talent acquisition. I think your experience is very unique in that you were a full cycle recruiter, that you dealt with everything from sourcing to referrals, all the way to the end of compensation negotiation. So, out of all those parts, what is one area that you think that students really need to improve on the most and why?


Garland: I mean, I’m going to answer this for Covid times because I don’t know how long we’re going to be in these Covid times and I think this is such a unique recruiting time. Nothing is like this. No one has been through anything like this. I mean, every downturn economically, we’ve still been able to meet up. So, I think that part is the puzzle piece that is new and different. And so, for me, I’d say with students right now is your ability to get in front of people, even though you can’t get in the same room with people, is the puzzle piece you need to figure out. Because once you get in front of them, and you can tell your story, show your strengths, speak to your particular areas, I think you’re going to be okay. But if you can’t get in front of people right now and you’re not leveraging Zoom, you’re not going to meetups, you’re not participating and recruiting events are still happening online and learning to like it. I mean, I’m not saying you need to love it. Trust me. It’s not the same, I know that. But you have to show up. You have to go. You have to be present. 


Garland’s Podcast

I agree with you that I don’t think anyone loves to just be on Zoom all day. I think obviously, there are preferences of a hybrid versus work from home, whatever it may be. But I do think that no matter what it is, you can’t just sit here and complain about it. You have to adapt to the times and I think roll with life’s punches. I know that rolling with life’s punches was actually an episode for your podcast. I’d love it if you could share with the audience a little bit about your podcast and what you focus on in your interview. 


Garland: Yeah. So, my podcast is called Full Circle with Garland. It’s on the major platforms. It’s basically a podcast I started in order to provide career storytelling for professionals with diverse backgrounds within commercial real estate. I think commercial real estate has primarily been an industry where you don’t see a lot of people of color and women going to campus. I even hear it from the young women who are in some of the classes that they’re one of 3 or 4 in a class of 40 or 60 or whatnot. It’s hard to sometimes see something that you want to be if you don’t know that there are people doing it. And so, a big part of this podcast for me is not only sharing these folks are out here doing this work but you too can do this work. And some of the things that they’ve learned along the way, I’m definitely asking them questions about overcoming obstacles, how they got started in various areas. I’m also asking them about what they’re doing now and how much social impact they want to make. 

I think once you get to a certain level in your career, you started thinking about legacy building and what you want to leave behind, mentorship, paying it forward, participating in boards. I’m encouraged because I know that you need to see that these things are going on. I know when you’re first starting out, you’re just thinking about, ‘Can I just get into that first thing?’ But when you understand charting your career, career development and career management and looking at long-term, ‘What are my goals? How am I going to navigate these things? I think this is a great podcast to listen to hear what other people are doing. I’m hoping it inspires students to think more deeply about where they want to be and be more intentional with the kinds of work they want to do and realize that school extracurriculars don’t stop once you leave school. I think everyone are participating in clubs on in campus, and then you get into your full-time job and you’re just doing your job. That’s going to get really tired really quick. If there’s organization, you want to participate in still to continue to develop yourself, continue to find mentors, continue to be inspired. I’m hoping that my podcast helps people do that. 


That’s awesome. I’ve listened to a few episodes. It’s so refreshing because I agree with you that so many people are focused on getting their foot in the door and then actually getting a spot at the table. But then once that door closes, you’re at the company, you’re totally right. It doesn’t stop there. You should get involved. You should join employee resource groups, if you can. You should join the basketball team, if there’s a company team. Whatever it may be, leaving your legacy, making bonds is so important. And where can people find it? You have a website, correct?


Garland: Yes! LinkedIn, of course, because that’s my favorite hangout and you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m known to be a LinkedIn person. So, if you also want to find out about how to be a LinkedIn person for branding purposes and things like that, please let me know. I mean, I’m impressed with you. I will tell you that. I have not had an opportunity to participate in something like this. Kudos to you for jumping in there and putting something together. 


Your episodes have taught me as well. You have to roll with life’s punches. I think we’re very similar in that we can either sit here and complain. I mean, so many people are in different circumstances given Covid, right? I think at the end of the day if we’re able to have some extra time to give back and help others then it’s our duty to give back. Garland, you, myself and our team were trying to do the same thing in terms of helping students and young professionals. I think we’re doing it a little bit differently but I think it’s so important to just give back and help. Everyone listening, make sure you check out Full Circle with Garland. My last question today, Garland, and how we like to end this show. It’s a tradition here at the Final Round podcast. 


Final Question


What is the best piece of advice you can give to our audience to help them get past the final round interview and land the job offer?


Garland: Know your why. Know why you’re there. Know who you’re showing up as when you’re there. What I know is doing the job and learning the skills can be taught to you. Who you are when you show up at those final round interviews? you need to be memorable. Who are you? What is it that you’re going to be bringing? How are you going to be showing up? What stories are you going to be sharing so that the interviewers walk away and say, “Oh, my gosh, this person is amazing. We need to be sure that we have them on our team.” Be yourself and be authentic and share who you are. Even if that’s not typical. We all have different stories and we all have different perspectives and we all came from different places. And so, bring that because that’s what you’re going to be bringing everyday you go to work. That is what you’re going to be bringing when we ask you to chair a committee. That’s what you’re going to be bringing when you decide to lead a call. Don’t forget who that is and show that. 

People attach with stories. Stories are like oral traditions. It’s our oldest way of holding information, because before we could write, we could speak. And when we spoke, we told stories to each other. And it’s how our brains process information best. So, when you tell your story, people remember you. They remember your story but they remember whatever those nuggets of things that you quipped for them. How you tell that is all you have control over. You can tell the same story two different ways, and people will feel differently depending on how you tell the story. And so, if you tell the story and it sounds like, “Oh, my god, this person sounds like they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re sad. It’s a sad story. Oh, my goodness, depressing.” You can say that same story of challenge and trial and showing triumph and glory or some kind of lessons learned, some thing. That gives you a totally different understanding of that person. They’ll feel like, “Oh, my gosh! This person is a fighter. They’ve got grit.”



Thank you so much for listening today. I hope Garland opened up an entire new industry for you as she went into detail about the reasons why commercial real estate doesn’t get enough attention at most schools. Be sure to check out Garland’s podcast, Full Circle with Garland on all major platforms. If you guys have not already, please subscribe and leave a rating. I would love to hear what you found most interesting in this episode by sharing it in a review on Apple podcast. Until the next episode of the Final Round podcast, keep fighting and I will see you in the ring.