Ten Questions, with Jill Ties

Integrity, dignity, and a big dose of positivity

Jill Ties has been in the banking industry for all of her professional life. While successfully maintaining a positive work-life balance, she has built a reputation as an authentic and influential leader. Starting as a teller in college she quickly moved up the ranks and now serves as senior vice president in the wholesale/retail mortgage division at U.S. Bank Home Mortgage. However, her career is not all that defines her. She is a proud mother and has a heart for her community. This month, I had the opportunity to chat with Jill about her career and personal life for our series Ten Questions.

You’ve been with US Bank for a long time. How do you explain your longevity?

I have been with U.S. Bank for 32 years. I attribute the longevity to having the ability to grow within various divisions, provide a great environment for work/family balance, and having core values that align with the core values of our company. Our company is dedicated towards community and volunteerism which is extremely important.

You have been successful in a male-dominated industry. How has that happened?

It is all dependent on clear communication. Priorities and goals can vary among employees whether it is male or female. I have chosen a path that looks to add value via providing a different perspective by making sure we effectively communicate to all our staff and clients.

Have you ever turned down a client and what were the circumstances?

Communicating turn-downs to clients is a daily part of our business. We have clear criteria for credit which leaves little room for deviation. The best way to handle it is to always treat people with respect when communicating an unfavorable outcome. Attempt to provide alternatives to improve their circumstances so they can reach their business objectives. Some of our best clients have come back after taking specific feedback, put in the work to change the circumstances, and have become long-term producing clients.

How has failure made a positive difference in your life?

Maybe because my outlook on life is always ‘glass half full’ that I don’t view anything as a failure. I look at situations as if they always had positive aspects and tend to focus on those as a launch to what lies ahead. I have experienced some difficult work situations with leaders. Those situations have taught me that the positive attribute is that when I am in that leadership position I will not handle in that manner. Work as hard as possible towards a positive outcome. It is important to understand that it is still a business. There have been times in my career that I have advanced, not as much due to how our business success or failure was realized, but rather the business decorum I demonstrated in a tough situation.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out in your industry, what would it be?

Put in the work. Your reputation is everything…and be humble. There is no magic formula. Always learn as many aspects of your business as possible because in many cases we are continually teaching. Our industry is highly regulated. It is not the job of the borrower to understand the implications of those challenges but resides with us to set the proper expectations. As you achieve success always show gratitude to those that helped you realize your goals. More than anything else your business reputation is everything. That is the only thing you are 100% in control of and the choices you make impact how others perceive your reputation.

To what do you attribute your success?

Positive attitude, hard work, gratitude and never having a sense of entitlement. No one owes us anything in our careers so don’t try to keep score. Show gratitude always and lead with grace, meaning that it is always more important to recognize team success as being paramount.

What are you most proud of?

My three kids…of course! As we all get older you see they actually did listen to some of the advice. This means not living a hypocritical lifestyle. If you tell your kids to be healthy, exercise, eat right, work hard, understand God’s grace, and be gracious you had better be setting the bar yourself. The positive outcome to that is you get to have more meaningful conversations as they become adults.

What have you read that I should read?

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath.

What is your spiritual practice?

Daily devotional, church, and of course those times during the day when you just ask for God’s strength. I also find running spiritual in a more abstract way. It is a time that I dedicate to clear my head and organize my thoughts/tasks for the day.

What keeps you awake at night?

I wish I could say it is more about hitting production numbers but honestly, it is more about the team that I lead. When you are at a company for as long as I have, teams instill a lot of trust in your ability to lead. The responsibility comes with the territory but there are also disappointments delivered to the team. If I did not take those disappointments to heart I would be less human. I also worry about my kids as any parent would, but I also am lucky to have a strong faith that allows me to let go of situations that I cannot control.

What would someone who doesn’t like you say about you?

She can be tough and at times sees things very black and white.

Where have you been that I should visit?

Venice, Italy. It’s beautiful and historic.

Jill Ties is a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis and is Senior Vice President in the Wholesale/Retail Mortgage Division at US Bank Home Mortgage. She’s been with US Bank for over 32 years and also serves as director of Homeward Bound FoundationJill lives in Spring Park and has three adult children.

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Ten Questions, with Jim Damiani

A top performing Twin Cities commercial real estate executive talks about life and success

Jim Damiani has nearly 30 years of experience in commercial real estate, specializing in Tenant Advisory-Office. Throughout his career, Jim has completed over 2,500 transactions for 30 million square feet totaling in excess of $3.0 billion in consideration. Jim and his team utilize Workplace Strategies to help their clients obtain the best economic office lease scenario while creating a workplace that helps them retain and attract top talent.

In April 2017, Jim Damiani and John McCarthy took their 45 years of combined Twin Cities real estate experience and opened a Minneapolis office for the global brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank of New York. Recently, we sat down with Jim to talk about business and his success for our Ten Questions segment.

Q. You recently made a change in firms. Describe that process.

A. I was at my last firm 21 years so the process to decide to leave and start a new venture took some time (8 months). I started by teaming with a good friend in our industry. John McCarthy and I have been great friends for 25 plus years and one day we decided being top producers at our respective firms was not enough. We wanted to take our knowledge and grow a firm with a great nurturing culture. We researched thoroughly our options on who go with and hands down it was Newmark knight Frank based in NY. They had the same vision as us in wanting to build the best firm and not necessarily the biggest firm. They agreed to provide us all the tools that we can use to give the best possible service to our clients. We want to have a place where the culture is the big attraction. During our process, we enlisted team members that we knew and trusted in Maura Carland, Sherry Weaver and Jack Reipke. Together we all agreed on our company vision and direction. We started with 5 people and are building with that solid foundation. It has only been 5 months and we are growing at a very nice pace.

Q. Describe the importance of your professional network for your business?

A. My relationships are everything to me. As far as business goes I had great mentors early on in Sam Thorpe and John Ungerman. That taught me to work tirelessly, be patient and put your client’s needs above everything else. Through this practice I have been able to enjoy countless professional relationships and now most of my business is based on referrals.

Q. How do you recruit and maintain talent?

A. Basically, we have a simple mission statement that tells what we are all about. If someone has the same values as our mission statement we will meet with them and see if we have a fit in our firm that will be beneficial to all parties (employee, employer and most importantly our clients)

Q. How has failure made a positive difference in your life?

A. I don’t like failure. I still remember losing key sporting events over 35 years ago and what I could have done differently to change that outcome. In business, I hate to fail as well but I realize if I do fail it is something that can be learned from and make sure it doesn’t happen again. We learn a heck of a lot more when we fail as opposed to when we win.

Q. How old were you when you had your first paying job?

A. I sold milk at school in 5th grade. Chocolate milk was a penny more but so worth it 🙂

Q. What have you read that I should read?

A. Joy, Inc. It’s a great book about Company culture.

Q. What is your definition of success?

A. No matter you do, if people respect you. You are successful.

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

Q. Where have you been that I should visit?

A. Iceland, Go and you will see why.

Q. What does retirement look like for you?

A. I am not the type to sit on a beach or dock somewhere. My financial planner asked me the other day how many years until I retire. I said I know exactly the week I am retiring. That is the week I no longer want to get out of bed and go to work. That is probably a very long time from now since I am having too much fun at this point in my life!

Jim Damiani, CCIM, SIOR, is an executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank’s Minneapolis-St. Paul office and designated broker for Minnesota brokerage operations. Mr. Damiani is among the most successful and widely recognized market leaders in the Minneapolis commercial real estate market.  He has represented companies big and small, from U.S. Bancorp and Carmichael Lynch to Jack Link’s and Winmark.  Jim and his wife Brenda live in Plymouth and have three children. Email Jim at Jim.Damiani@ngkf.com.


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