Spending time with… Sara Hughes, JLL

Sara Hughes, Project & Development Services

The PMP® Program Manager for JLL Project & Development Services dishes on avoiding conference call overload, the wisdom of her Grandma Wanda Ruth and why the homemade flour tortilla loaded with butter or refried beans is the world’s perfect snack.

What is the most cherished item in your home office?
I have a picture of my grandparents above my desk. It was taken in the early ’50s when they first started dating. My grandfather is looking at her with so much love and affection. I love to look at that photo when I need a mini break.

The Hughes’ family

What is your favorite time to get things done?
Late at night is the best time for me. My two year old, Charlotte Ruth, has been at home with us, since March, due to COVID-19. I work best when she is asleep.

What is the soundtrack that plays in the background of your office?
I always have the TV on. It changes between CNN and “Fixer Upper.”

What does a typical work day look like?
I start with emails and reading my calendar. I live and die by that calendar since my day consists of nothing but conference calls.

How are you staying connected with your team? Customers?
Death by conference calls. Since I work on multi-site rollouts there is never a shortage of conversations that must be held with internal and external stakeholders. Due to the large number of active projects, we rely on very specific calls to keep us all up to date. Very little is ad hoc—unless there is a fire that needs put out.

We have also become creative during the pandemic by setting up virtual team builders and happy hours. I love these so much. I always work from home and my client is on the West Coast, so I hope to keep these going even when we are able to get back into the brick and mortar office.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on a job site?
Thank you for this question. So many hilariously awful memories came back to me. The most memorable happened while I was on site in New England. The site was built on an old quarry, so sinkholes were an issue. We were blasting out some rock when a sinkhole opened up right under a car I was next to. I was driving a lull at the time and was sure I was about to go down, too. Luckily the PT Cruiser was the only loss that day. And let’s be honest, a PT Cruiser is not a real loss.

Name the band you cannot take off your playlist.
Foo Fighters. They have a song for every mood.

What are you binge watching right now?
I just got done with “The Great,” which was great. I just stated the second season of “Castle Rock.” Highly recommended.

The falls of Niagara.

Favorite comfort food.
I am from Texas, so my go to is a homemade flour tortilla. Load that sucker up with butter or refried beans and you have the perfect snack.

Best advice you ever received?
Try to find the objective with the question being asked of you. There is always a reason a statement or question is made, and for the most part, the objective is not to make your job harder or to insult you on a personal level. Find the objective and you can answer and move on. It is the best advice and I use it every day.

Biggest influence in your life?
As it relates to a person, that would be my Grandma Wanda Ruth. She was a firecracker and overcame so much adversity in her life. She taught me to always be strong and trust my instincts. She encouraged the traits in me that others found “un-lady like.” She told me to be who I was, even if it did not fit into a certain mold.

What trait do you most admire?
Empathy. I think that the ability to understand where people are coming from, even if their opinions differ from your own. It is an essential trait to be successful in both life and business. I wish people would focus more on empathy and remember that we are all people with feelings, outside influencers and obligations.

Charlotte Ruth at play.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Take a breath before reacting. I have always been a Type A personality. I want to solve and fix an issue or obstacle as soon as it occurs. This was a catalyst for a lot of anxiety and missteps when I was younger. I would tell myself to take a breath and think about the issue or concern holistically, including any risks or issues that may come from the “solution.” I need to tell my current self this sometimes.

What is the first thing you are going to do when you are able to get back to some sense of normalcy?
So many things. I miss going on family outings with my husband and daughter the most. I want to be able to decide on a whim we want to go somewhere and not be held back. That being said, stay safe everyone and follow the advice of healthcare professionals. Keep those masks on, wash your hands and use common sense when acclimating back into society.

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