The Shift is a LeaseUp podcast hosted by our founder Kurt Chisholm, in conversation with brokers at the intersection of CRE and tech
The Shift is a LeaseUp podcast hosted by our founder Kurt Chisholm, in conversation with brokers at the intersection of CRE and tech. The guests come from different professional backgrounds, but all leverage technology to get more deals done.
For the fifth episode of The Shift, LeaseUp’s Kurt Chisholm spoke with Sonia El-Sherif, Chief of Staff at JLL Spark.
A former broker now focused on JLL’s venture capital arm, Sonia shares how she sees the CRE transaction evolving in the near future: “It will be more streamlined, efficient, as well as have a little bit more transparency potentially, a lot less paper hopefully.”
Sonia describes her current role as translating between the “two different languages” of business and technology — helping technology companies better integrate within the JLL ecosystem, and helping her colleagues on the CRE side better understand the upside of embracing tech in their deal flow.
On the podcast, she shares her insights about sectors like climate tech and supply chain logistics platforms that will see growth in the coming years. She also talks about the support structures that have helped her advance as a woman in a male-dominated field:
“I feel very fortunate because I've been able to work really closely with different female leaders that have helped change and inspire me and empower me… That has made a huge difference in me feeling comfortable enough to be strong and to keep leading, and to turn around and help others.”
Sonia El-Sherif started her professional life as a personal trainer. Through networking with her clients, she got involved in the telecom industry, and then the steel industry, overseeing construction projects. In late 2019 she joined JLL as a broker, confronting the challenges of the pandemic only a few months after starting.
“I really leaned into the technology platform,” she recalls. “It felt like a good way to serve clients during that time.” Spending more time on the technology side of things led to her current role as Chief of Staff at JLL’s venture capital arm, JLL Spark, serving as the “second set of hands” to the managing partner.
At JLL Spark, Sonia helps with go-to-market strategies for startup founders, and strategic initiatives like global expansion (JLL Spark has a growing EMEA office and is in the process of standing up Spark China). Within the overlap of CRE and tech, Sonia’s particularly passionate about decarbonization/climate tech, and about bringing diverse voices into the industry.
Kurt Chisholm is the founder and CEO of LeaseUp. Kurt’s been in CRE for over a decade, as a tenant rep broker, landlord, and investor. He left brokerage to build LeaseUp after realizing the need for a CRE deal platform that lets brokers leverage tech to get more deals done.
Interested in learning more about LeaseUp’s CRE deal platform? Sign up for a free trial.