Exploring a new culture and career

Navigating challenges and finding solutions is something every account manager at JLL faces on a day-to-day basis.

Agnieszka Vaqar is exceptional at this, but that would come as no surprise to those who know her best. Tackling changing environments and new obstacles is fairly common for the Polish transplant.

“When you don’t know anybody in a new country, it’s so hard to get started,” said Vaqar, who now lives in Atlanta. “At some point, I just told myself, I have to take things into my own hands.”

Since moving to the United States seven years ago, Vaqar has worked her way up at JLL from a brokerage assistant to the Account Manager for Ryder.

Not to mention she has just one class remaining in her Masters of Business Administration at Georgia State University. So, how did she do it?

We sat down with Agnieszka to learn about what drives her to achieve her ambitions and how JLL has helped her along the way.

Q: What brought you to the United States from Poland?

A: My husband actually. We met while I was on vacation in Morocco and ended up dating long distance and would visit each other in the U.S. and Poland. Two years later, he flew back to Poland and proposed to me. Then we had to decide where we wanted to live and for us, it was easier for me to move to the U.S. because my husband doesn’t speak Polish.

Q: What challenges did you face when you first came here?

A: I had to wait for my green card which takes six months to a year to receive. During that time you cannot leave the U.S. at all. We had one car, and I had no job so I spent my days alone at home. It was such a hard adjustment for me because I never thought I would feel so isolated from the outside world. In that time, I wish I had the perspective to see the future and know everything would work out. But after the pity party and feeling down on myself, I decided to take things into my own hands. I found a Polish networking group in Atlanta and went for a couple meetings. That’s when things started improving.

Q: How did you end up at JLL?

A: I made a friend in the networking group, and we had a lot in common. She was working for JLL at the time and told me what a great company it was. She knew they were looking for brokerage assistants on another team and after the interviews, I got the job.

Q: You’ve come a long way since that first role at JLL. Tell us about your career path.

A: I was in that role for a year and got my salesperson license in Georgia. After a certain point, I felt like I needed a new challenge and I moved to the Corporate Solutions side of our business. So I went from a brokerage assistant to working as a Senior Analyst in Corporate Solutions for the South Region. The role was a hybrid of helping oversee the accounts in the south, pursuits and administrative work.

My goal was to eventually move onto an account and a year and half into that role, an assistant facilities manager job opened on a large, global healthcare account. I was in that role for two years and after taking on some senior projects and proving myself, I got promoted to facilities manager.

Q: How did you make the transition to your current role as an account manager for Ryder?

A: I started as Account Manager for Ryder in January of this year and while I’ve only been with JLL for six years, they were an intense six years. During my time with the healthcare client I was exposed to a lot of big projects. One of them was when a client senior executive came to tour the sites I managed.

I remember wanting everything to be perfect. Since I was going to be driving a senior executive around for an entire day, I had my car detailed, I brought snacks and water and a phone charger for him. We drove 90 miles round trip and he managed to see all of their Atlanta Portfolio. I tend to talk a lot when people are quiet and he was on the quiet side. I managed to not do that though (she laughed) because I really wanted to make a good impression.

When you’re with clients, they see you and your personality as a reflection of your company. We toured 11 of my sites and I prepared a little booklet with all the costs and assets for each one. In the end, it all paid off because the client gave great feedback about me and JLL.

I think that experience helped me as I put the feelers out for a bigger opportunity within the company. I was approached about an open account manager role for Ryder and decided to interview. And now here I am today.

Q: What does an account manager do?

A: Once the contract is signed between JLL and the client, the account manager oversees service delivery within the contract guidelines and manages the relationship with the client. A good account manager listens carefully to the client and acts as a trusted advisor. The account manager identifies areas where JLL can help and ensures that all the client’s needs are met. The account manager manages the JLL team, is involved in data and finance reporting, and partners with other JLL groups as needed. This role requires good people and problem solving skills.

Q: You recently rolled out the Corrigo platform for Ryder in record time. Tell us about that project.

A: I can’t take all the credit for it. My team, the Corrigo team, and I worked hard to make it happen. I even recruited the previous account manager for reinforcements. We did training on the JLL side then we had four calls, each with 500 people on the client side to show them how to use the tool and place work orders. This was almost like managing a software project. All the efforts with the programmers, loading the vendors and making sure everything was up to date from the old system, contributed to our successful go-live in April. A lot of work was done behind the scenes to make the rollout seamless. Everything was updated for the user right when they logged into the new system for the first time.

Q: How did the client react?

A: They were very happy. I had never gotten a gift from a client in the past and they sent me flowers and a hand-written thank-you card. I thought it was a prank, and I was almost crying because I was so happy. It was amazing to be recognized for our efforts and a successful launch. I had never been recognized like that in my professional life.

Q: What drives you to accomplish goals for your clients?

A: I love to make people happy. I feel like this job is awesome because every day there’s a different challenge and potential problem to solve and if I can do that successfully, that’s very rewarding. That’s why I was thrilled that the Corrigo rollout went so well. If the client is happy, I’m happy. That means I’m doing my job right.

Q: How has JLL helped you achieve your own goals?

A: This might sound cliché, but what I love about JLL is the culture. It’s a bit competitive—I’m competitive by nature—but also very collaborative and they push you to do your best. Because I’m Polish, a woman and English is my second language, it was amazing to me how I was able to build my career. I worked my way up through my own dedication and grit and JLL has now been helping me pay for my MBA through educational assistance. I think if you want to accomplish something at JLL, you can. I networked with people through groups like the Women’s Business Network and the Young Guns Alumni. I’m telling you, I could be the poster child for JLL because I love the company and they’ve given me so much. They’ve helped fuel my ambitions and for that, I’m so grateful.

Interested in a career at JLL? Please learn more at our careers page.