Breaking Through: 5 Questions with JLL’s Cecile Blanco

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To continue celebrating the accomplishments of our female leaders, we sat down with Florida’s woman-in-charge of all things marketing, for the next spotlight in our “Breaking Through” series. On the heels of impressive industry, peer and media recognition, Cecile Blanco, VP, director of marketing for Florida, shares her best advice and the struggles she overcame to get where she is today. Every quarter, “Breaking Through” articles feature JLL’s leading women professionals providing mentorship advice to women in business.

Cecile Blanco JLLCecile, a French native, learned early on to develop her “why”. This has fueled her motivation to build JLL Florida’s marketing department from scratch. Thanks to her dedication and innovation in the firm’s brand positioning and marketing, the firm has nearly doubled its revenue across the state of Florida over the past four years.

JLL’s belief in workplace diversity led her to co-chair JLL’s Women Business Network in Florida (which she was honored for with JLL’s Spotlight Award in 2016). While she concedes that commercial real estate still has work to do, Cecile is proud to belong to an organization placing inclusion and diversity at the forefront.

Q: What’s the best career advice you ever received?

My first mentor told me to ‘speak up, share your ideas and do not hold back’. I was encouraged to celebrate success and toot my own horn as needed. In contrast to many men, women can have a tendency to underestimate or downplay their own accomplishments. This was the very first piece of advice I received and it has remained relevant to this day.

Q: What advice do you have for young women just starting out in your profession?

Be self-aware—this is valid for any profession. You are only limited by your own beliefs so know your strengths and keep capitalizing on them. You also need to have a clear vision of where you want to go and articulate it.  It’s crucial to have clear goals in your career, and most importantly know your “why”. Knowing why will make the difference between wishing and executing. Another critical piece of advice is to show up as a genuine team player, who encourages and helps her colleagues, shares credit as appropriate, and rejoices in the success of others. Putting others down to build oneself up is a recipe for failure. Finally, identifying mentors and champions early in your career should have a significant impact.

Q: What has been your greatest obstacle(s) in getting to where you are today?

As the marketing arm of a professional services firm, we have to demonstrate our value and expertise internally just as our stakeholders must sell their value externally. The professional scope of marketing is not well understood by many. Marketing covers a multitude of components, from public relations to business development, lead generation, communications, branding, events, social media, graphic design, etc.  and stakeholders do not always understand the strategic extent of these components. It’s important to establish trust with our stakeholders by sharing the strategy behind our process and consistently show where we add value to our internal and external clients.

Q: Have you ever faced opposition based on your gender?

Not literally. But in a male dominated industry, gender biases are still alive and well. It resurfaces often in the little things of our day to day life at work. Today, I am proud to work for a company that puts diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our global corporate agenda. That’s why I got involved in co-leading the Florida Chapter of our Women’s Business Network a couple of years ago. It is a critical aspect of today’s corporate world and will drive the future of the economy.

Today, more than 85% of the incoming workforce is represented by women or minorities, and by 2020, 70% of college degrees will be earned by women. Many industries have made exceptional progress in the past 10 years. We still need to do better in commercial real estate but at JLL, we understand we need diversity and inclusivity in our thinking to face a variety of challenges and opportunities. It’s the absolute way forward for our people, our clients, and the bottom line.


Blanco with members of JLL’s Florida Women’s Business Network.

Q: Tell us about the new JLL brand. What motivated JLL to create and launch it and what’s the meaning behind it?

It is not quite a new brand—it’s a more concise representation what we stand for, what we value, how we behave and how we are perceived. Our brand has been shaped literally over hundreds of years of teamwork, ethical practices and excellence in service. We are one of the world’s leading commercial real estate firms with thousands of individuals bringing a personal touch and hard work toward achieving the ambitions of our clients. That brand will now come to life in everything that we do, enabling our visuals and our voice to seamlessly communicate our personality and culture. It helps us stand out in a sea of sameness, and in a changing world, it helps us keep a clear, bold and consistent brand that is built on our strengths and ambitions.

Q: The new brand promise is a call to Achieve Ambitions. Why is this important to the work that JLL is doing across Florida?

A: Our brand helps drive sales, get us noticed, gain client trust and attract top talent, especially in fast growth markets like Florida. In this market, or any other parts of the world, we are committed to helping our clients and our people achieve their ambitions. We believe it is the human side of business—it makes us better at delivering the business side of the business. We are making ambitions key to everything that we do for our clients, our people and our company. For our clients, our commitment to lasting, open and collaborative relationships, means we help them achieve their ambitions every single time.


Cecile Blanco, VP, Director of Marketing

Cecile Blanco serves as JLL’s Director of Marketing for the state of Florida. Based in Miami, she is responsible for providing overall marketing leadership to the market and her team, building a marketing platform, strengthening and protecting the JLL brand, enhancing new business development efforts, as well as developing and executing a multi-faceted marketing and communication strategy for JLL in Florida. She is also focused on developing and implementing integrated property marketing strategies for JLL’s Investor clients. Contact Cecile.