JLL recruits CBRE executive to open new office in San Jose

Kirsten Grado moves to “more entrepreneurial” brokerage looking to grow in Silicon Valley

JLL Recruits CBRE Executive to Open New Office in San Jose
A photo illustration of JLL managing director Kirsten Grado (Getty, JLL)

Commercial brokerage JLL has poached an executive from CBRE to run a new office in San Jose.

Chicago-based JLL has named Kirsten Grado, former managing director for CBRE, to lead its new South Bay office, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Grado took the reins on Jan. 8 as managing director.

“We were thrilled to be able to recruit her over to help us indeed lead us into San Jose, where she has spent decades of her career, building a brand for herself and an experienced network,” Bart Lammersen, executive managing director for JLL, who oversees the firm in Silicon Valley, told the newspaper.

Grado, a nearly 30-year industry veteran, spent the last seven years at CBRE as managing director, preceded by the title sales director.

Her new San Jose office will be home to JLL’s brokerage market, which Grado will lead, as well as capital markets, property management and project management. Lammersen said he expects the office to start with a “couple dozen” employees and grow from there.

She said she would not be a “player coach” — both a broker and a manager.

“I hate the word ‘managing’ because I’m not really managing anybody,” Grado told the Business Journal. “I’m leading and supporting the office … to expand JLL’s footprint and market share down into the South Bay.”

Grado said one reason she joined JLL was because of the firm’s culture, which includes its “work from work” philosophy as well as its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. “There’s a lot of companies that give lip service to diversity and inclusion, but JLL breathes it,” she said.

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Asked by the Business Journal what separated JLL from her old firm, CBRE, Grado said she felt JLL was “more entrepreneurial. It’s a little more nimble, fresh.”

An unidentified CBRE official declined to comment about Grado’s move, but said the firm hired a new senior managing director last August when Steffen Kammerer was recruited from Colliers to replace Mark Schmidt, who had led CBRE’s Silicon Valley office for 22 years.

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Jones Lang LaSalle IP, doing business as JLL, has had one office in Menlo Park covering Silicon Valley. The firm also has two offices in San Francisco and offices in Walnut Creek and San Rafael.

Lammersen said the decision to move into San Jose was made to help JLL grow. The firm is looking for a Class A office close to amenities for its employees.

The Menlo Park office is nearing capacity “so we’re going to need physical capacities to add more professionals as we grow our service lines, and in doing so, being strategic and smart about where we do our business,” Lammersen told the newspaper.

— Dana Bartholomew