Q&A with CREW Atlanta Treasurer Susan Turner

May 27, 2020

As a way to get to know the CREW Atlanta leadership better, we will be interviewing the board members on their thoughts on CREW Atlanta, the commercial real estate industry, workplace issues and life in general. This month, we caught up with CREW Atlanta Treasurer and JLL Finance Director Susan Turner.

Q. What attracted you to commercial real estate?

A friend was a recruiter and would call periodically asking if I knew anybody for accounting positions. He called one day with a position at a commercial real estate firm and I thought, “That sounds really interesting.” That was over 30 years ago, and I’ve been in commercial real estate since then and loved it.

Q. What do you like about working at JLL?

I get to work with extremely talented, innovative and creative people. JLL attracts and develops top talent, and the firm cares about its people. The Atlanta Region is consistently recognized across JLL for its strong culture scores, which is also reflective in being recognized as a Best Place to Work multiple years in a row.

Q. What keeps you up at night?

I care about the well-being and career development of my team members. Are they okay? Do they have the tools they need to be successful? Do they have opportunities for growth?

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

I work in a fast-paced environment. I have to ensure that everything is getting done, I need to stay current with my CPA license and stay connected with others. Maintaining balance in my life is like a three-legged chair.

Q. What makes a successful leader?

I think you need to be ethical and you have to care more about other people and their well-being than you do yourself. I have found that in order to get people to stay and work with you, you have to invest in their careers and have their back.

Q. What is your best advice for women in commercial real estate?

Learn how to play golf. I wanted to become a vice president 20 years ago and I looked around and saw that all the VPs played golf. I took lessons to learn how to play and found that I loved it once I developed the skills. If you are client-facing, you can take clients to play and have four uninterrupted hours with them to build a relationship.

Q. What are your favorite words of wisdom?

When I made a decision, I used to ask myself, “Will it matter 10 years from now?” Today I ask, “Will it matter 10 days from now?”

Q. What keeps you busy outside of work?

Besides playing golf, I’m a season ticket holder of the Alliance Theatre and I love going to shows and concerts with friends. I have been to three concerts this year and have tickets to three more that have been rescheduled. This year I have seen Raphael Saadiq, Joan Osborn and Joe Bonamassa. I have tickets to Beth Hart, Jonny Lang and Blackberry Smoke.

Q. What is your last book read?

“Crucial Confrontations,” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. It’s about how to resolve problems especially when the stakes are high. I recommend it to managers, parents, anybody in a personal relationship.

Q. What would you be if you weren’t in commercial real estate?

I’m a licensed CPA, so I would be in accounting or finance. But it would not be as exciting as commercial real estate!

Q: What has CREW done for you?

In two words: Professional friendships. I treasure the CREW friendships I have made with women in our industry. The women in CREW are smart, fun and go-getters. It is an amazing organization and is very welcoming to newcomers.