We say there are no glass ceilings at The Connor Group. With the right mindset, our associates can achieve anything. If you look at partner Jennie Juran’s career, it’s a shining example of what’s possible.
Jennie started with us 15 years ago as a sales associate in the Cincinnati market. She was our very first sales associate who earned a promotion to partner. And along the way, she’s become one of the most knowledgeable and believable resources for our associates nationwide.
Loop recently sat down with Jennie to talk about her career highlights and what she’s learned along the way…
Who interviewed you when you started?
(Partner) Pat Rini was my third interview. It was via video at Union Station. At the same time I was interviewing with The Connor Group, I was offered a temporary position at Kroger. I told the senior manager who did my final interview I needed to know if I had the job. He offered me the position on the spot.
What did you want to be when you grew up? How does that align with what you do now?
I wanted to be an event planner and put on corporate meetings. It’s such a hard field to get into. I went to college for communications, and I did an internship with Game Day Communications. I helped with all kinds of events, from parades downtown to the Flying Pig Marathon and holiday celebrations in Cincinnati. I even dressed up with my two roommates as a pig for an entire parade. I was Mrs. Claus and handed out candy canes while managing carolers at the mall, etc. I was so “All In.”
I think the multi-tasking, jumping in, and learning that I could be comfortable being uncomfortable aligns with what I do now at The Connor Group. I never thought I wanted to be in sales. I thought it was just cold calls and door-to-door knocking, which wasn’t appealing to me.
What’s your favorite property sale?
The only two that directly resulted from my work were Orchard of Landen and Somerset at Deerfield. Of those two, my favorite is Somerset because I put so much blood, sweat and tears into it. As a reward, The Connor Group paid for my honeymoon. We went to Spain and visited Barcelona and Majorca. It’s not something I ever expected, and it’s probably one of the best Reward & Recognition’s I’ve ever received.
How do you describe our culture to new associates?
I always tell them our culture is unique, but it’s not for everyone. If you embrace it and want to be a part of it, it’s really cool to be a part of it. I also let them know it’s up to you to own your growth, training and development at The Connor Group. What’s great is we set those expectations upfront. I also tell people it’s important to jump in and immerse themselves in our culture.
What’s your favorite thing to ask candidates during their Day in the Field?
Do you like to sell? Managers spend their first 90 days in sales. Even operations managers spend two hours a day on the sales floor. Sales and sales management is the most important thing we do.
But I love asking questions. I ask why they’re considering leaving their current job and if we found them or if they found us. Usually, once they give me an answer, I have even more questions.
Who are your Connor Group mentors?
After I sold Somerset, partner and regional head Sal Gracia worked with me to become a better leader. Partner and VP of Training Ashley Smith obviously came in and helped me too. Partner Ryan Ernst also has always supported me and saw potential in me. I remember one day he told me, “you’re my people.” He’s not someone who helped me develop in my role as a trainer, but he’s definitely played a part in my leadership development.
What are you most proud of?
Obviously, becoming partner. At the time, I don’t think I knew what that meant. Now understanding what that really means, acting like an owner and being in a position where I can impact everyone in the organization is incredible.
I also love the future impact I have on the organization by developing people. If you look at managers in my markets – Tiffany Montoya, Melissa Demoulin, Amy Hoffard, Katie Smith, Courtney Vecheck, Amber Love, Katelyn Rachfal, and Rebecca Roat – they started right when I started getting into the training role. They’re my award.
If you had a time machine and could travel back to your first day, knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself?
Don’t stop. Today’s today, move on and be better tomorrow. Find someone who can help you because this isn’t an easy place to work. Whether you’re a manager, sales, service, or associate at the Central Support Office, everyone needs a person to remind them it will be ok and to keep going.