Unlike many professional fields, there isn’t necessarily one path people typically take to end up working in commercial real estate. In fact, here in our JLL Boston office our brokers come from a wide variety of different educational and professional backgrounds—some were once History majors and others professional athletes. Our newest addition to the Downtown Brokerage team is no exception to this rule. His path to get here, however, is quite exceptional.
Hardy Allen joined JLL Boston this summer from an investment management firm where he spent a short time as an analyst before realizing it wasn’t for him. Understandable, given that Hardy was entering the workforce for the first time after serving seven years as a Navy SEAL where he was deployed to the Middle East and Africa.
“The transition has been bumpy at times,” Hardy admitted. “For all veterans wading into the private sector, there is a lot of uncertainty. For me, there were boxes I thought I had to check in order to be successful. It wasn’t until meeting with people in the Boston area – specifically Bob Plumb and Mike Byrne from AEW – that I understood there were opportunities in commercial real estate and other paths to success.”
What finance lacked, commercial real estate provided. It was collaborative, competitive, entrepreneurial, and highly interpersonal. “I think what appeals to me about commercial real estate is that no two days are going to be the same and no two deals are going to be the same,” Hardy said. “I know I will be constantly challenged which will make me smarter, sharper, and a more valuable asset to the team. I will also have the ability to compete and that’s something that really appeals to me.”
It’s not surprising to hear him say that, given that competitive spirit is in his blood. An athlete most of his life and former college lacrosse player, Hardy says his athletic experience helped make his transition into Naval Special Warfare that much easier, calling it “the ultimate team sport full of the most competitive people I’ve ever met.”
While seemingly worlds apart, Hardy actually sees many parallels from his time in the Navy to his future career in commercial real estate. In particular, he cites the importance of persevering in the face of adversity and paying attention to detail. “I think the biggest parallel is being part of a team and something that is bigger than you,” said Hardy. “It is evident that the leadership in place here at JLL has created a culture that’s very much team oriented and every effort you undertake should help the team achieve its strategic goals or objectives.”
If Hardy’s story sounds unique, it might well be. “I think in this market, the industry is under-represented by veterans, and hopefully as I get established, I can assist other people going through similar transitions,” he said. For Hardy though, he couldn’t have imagined his path going any other way. “I always envisioned myself getting out of the military and working in Downtown Boston. I am very fortunate to have landed at a great firm doing what I wanted, where I wanted to do it.”