Jessica Verdi considers herself a people person, so it was doubly hard to market properties over video conference calls during the pandemic.
“It was definitely a struggle,” she said. “I had numerous pitches that were over Zoom, and it is incredibly difficult to gauge how they are feeling. You can’t use your arms or be emotive in the same way. You’re just a box on the screen.”
The New York native and Colgate University alum began thinking about becoming a broker while she was in college when her father suggested she might like the field. She got an internship at Cushman & Wakefield the summer after her junior year. A week after graduating, she joined a training program with Colliers to learn about the industry.
Verdi liked the aspect of the job that involved canvassing clients, meeting new people and figuring out what their needs are for workspaces.
“After 100 rejections I got my first meeting from a cold call, so that was really satisfying,” Verdi said. “Then I started to be more involved in negotiations and lease reviews. Negotiating is what’s fun to me now.”
Verdi would regularly go to lunch and coffee with clients and attend charity events three nights a week, but the pandemic changed her routine. Now she’s had to pivot to compiling slides for pitches over video.
Still, Verdi ensures her presentations contain a level of spontaneity while others are content to read off a script. She recently closed two deals, with health care and financial services companies, each around 10,000 square feet, and secured short extensions for The Economist and the law firm Thompson Hine.
In her free time, Verdi cooks, reads and plays tennis. Her favorite place to play is the U.S. Open courts in Flushing, Queens, where she played in high school.
“It was fun. It made us feel important even though it was a high school tennis match that didn’t matter,” Verdi said.—A.S.