As Stream continues to grow its business and people, we are taking this opportunity to spotlight our talented employees from all service lines, cities, and departments. These individuals are selected because they have had a significant impact on Stream, the commercial real estate industry and the local community. Here we focus on the Women of Stream who are making an impact at the company, in the industry and in their communities.
For those that don’t already know her, we would like to shine a spotlight on:
Jessica Leak, Vice President, Business Development for Stream Realty Partners’ tenant representation division in the Dallas office. Having joined Stream in November 2020, Jessica draws from her background in business development, corporate communications and the multi-family sector to bring a dynamic and compelling perspective to her team and clients.
Describe yourself in three words.
Driven, curious and thoughtful.
Colleagues and others who know me might say optimistic and positive, due to my belief that a rising tide raises all ships. I hope that mindset carries through in everything that I do, both personally and professionally.
How would you describe your role at Stream?
This is a new role at the company, and I like to think of it as a concierge service–focused on understanding a client’s business, the decisions they need to make and how that impacts their organization. It’s taking the time to cultivate trusted relationships based on solving problems.
What first intrigued you about the CRE industry and your role?
I’ve been lucky to watch people I greatly admire create success and lifelong friends in the CRE industry. Helping people is at the heart of what we do, and it makes an impact on each business we work with, but also the ecosystem around that office. When I worked in the multi-family sector, it was about people’s homes. Now in the world of office space, it’s about making people feel comfortable and productive in their workspace needs—in essence, helping them be successful.
I’m a true “people person” and I think that’s why business development is so appealing to me. I love learning about people and their companies, connecting with them and fostering relationships that create value and help people.
What was it that initially drew you to Stream?
Stream was founded in Dallas and has built an incredible reputation locally, so I was drawn to that. My team is new to the company and has an impressive resume, and being part of that growth story is appealing to me.
I was also impressed by how much Stream focuses on a culture that supports their employees.
Despite starting at a new company in the middle of a pandemic, everyone has been welcoming and willing to help across various teams. Our ability to collaborate internally is a true value to our clients and increases the value of Stream overall.
What does success look like to you?
To me, success is a bit of a long game, so for my career and in all aspects of my life, I’m all about enjoying the journey. It’s important to recognize all the steps in-between, celebrating small wins, not just the big ones.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
A few years ago, I co-founded a start-up that taught me how to wear multiple hats, how to run a business, and ultimately, what I was seeking in my career. I’m proud that I took that risk. It was also my first job where I was taking care of clients outside of my organization and learned that I thrived in that type of role. I realized I had been connecting and helping friends in my personal life, but I could do it daily and make a career out of it.
Have you had mentors along the way?
I’ve had several mentors throughout my career, but initially I may not have thought of them in that vein. Sometimes there seems to be a lot of pressure to seek out or formally ask for mentorship, but I think most people already have resources they’ve developed throughout their life. It’s more about tapping into that community you’ve already built and not being afraid to ask people for their advice or input. I’ve maintained relationships with former colleagues who I can rely on for advice or feedback when needed.
When it comes to women in the workplace specifically, I’ve been fortunate to work with some strong and driven women. I was able to witness how they navigated the business and achieved success at an early age in my career. There’s no denying it sometimes looked different for them than their male colleagues and I was able to observe how they overcame obstacles, often with the help of their network internally and outside of the organization.
CRE has traditionally been a male-dominated industry, have you seen any shift in recent years?
There has been a positive shift in recent years. Regardless of what the male-to-female ratio is, it’s still not a high percentage, and we have a lot of hills left to climb to get where we need to be. I think accelerated recruiting, education and networking efforts are necessary for that true shift to occur in the industry. Stream definitely seems to be making a concerted effort toward actively recruiting and hiring female talent, and hopefully, more CRE firms are making it a priority as well.
Seeing and celebrating diversity in the workplace is really important—it allows others to see themselves in certain roles. More diversity means better representation between us and our clients, plus different experiences and backgrounds provide the broadest mindset for understanding and accessing strategic solutions.
Why is giving back to the community and/or commercial real estate industry important to you?
We only have one shot at this, so however and wherever we spend our time is critical. It’s important to think of our neighbors, colleagues, and the larger community and figure out how to make things brighter around us. I hope to leave things a little better than I found them. It was impressive to me to witness how Stream ensures they’re looking out for their employees and surrounding communities, when the Stream Support Foundation jumped right in to offer help with shelter during the recent winter storm in Texas.
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Playing the piano is something I wish I had learned growing up. I would also love to speak another language. I know a laughable amount of French, but it would be great to be fluent.
What are you currently reading and recommend?
I’m an avid reader, especially of fiction, and always have a stack of books ready. Recent reads I’d recommend are The Guest List and The Scent Keeper. Currently, I’m reading two non-fiction books, Atomic Habits and Untamed. I also enjoy anything by Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point and Outliers). His approach is interesting–how he utilizes data collected from different studies and life cases–and how he makes it so relatable to his audience. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is also must-read.