Connections: Q&A with Monetha Cobb, Managing Director, Franklin Street of Atlanta

BEGINNINGS
Where did you start your real estate career?  I “unofficially” started my career in the conference room of the original New Market office when I was just 13 years old.  While I was in middle school, I would come to the “big city” from my small, rural Georgia town and spend several weeks with my sister who was a lease administrator at New Market.  She would take me to work with her, and I would do anything/everything from labeling marketing flyers to collating construction documents and assembling marketing packages.

CAREER
Name one person that has been influential in your career.  My mother has been the most influential person in my career.  I didn’t realize her impact until much later in life, but she was a loving mother of six, a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses, an excellent homemaker and an active member in our community.  She did it all—an amazing role model.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?  My biggest accomplishment to date is growing a Retail Tenant Representation division from scratch for Franklin Street.  Within eight years, we’ve grown from 10 retailer clients to more than 50 who are served by a committed team of 15 professionals in five different offices throughout the Southeast.  The best part is that we are still growing and have unlimited potential.

What tools or resources do you engage to help you grow as a professional?  CREW Atlanta has been a tremendous resource for my professional growth.  From the leadership program to networking and committee leadership to board positions, CREW offers so many growth opportunities.  It has enhanced my passion and sharpened my skills as a “connector”.  I have met so many new people and really enjoy connecting them to others within my network.

COMPANY
How did you land at Franklin Street?  A personal friend, Mac McCall, opened the Atlanta office for Franklin Street and invited me to launch a retail tenant rep division and join him for a great adventure of growing a national commercial real estate firm.

What is Franklin Street’s primary business focus? Franklin Street has multiple business lines to serve the needs of our broad spectrum of real estate clients.  Our business lines include:  Retail Tenant Services, Landlord Services, Capital, Insurance, Property Management, Project Management and Investment Sales.

Describe your job.  My primary day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing Franklin Street’s Retail Tenant Services (RTS) division, which consists of producers in five different offices.  I also lead the Atlanta RTS team and sit on the Franklin Street Board of Directors.

Share a bit of insight into the company’s culture.  Our leadership team has worked very hard to cultivate an open-door environment that encourages collaboration across all service lines and offices. Collaboration, Integrity, Hard Work and Accountability are the founding core values that the firm was built upon, and they are still the values we operate by each day.

Franklin Street has grown steadily over the past several years and has hired several new associates.  What characteristics do you look for in a potential employee?  We look for people who are enthusiastic about being a part of collaborative company that has a very ambitious growth strategy.  At every level of the organization, we need proactive thinkers and problem solvers who are willing to pitch-in when other team members need support.

What is on the firm’s horizon in 2018?  My division, Retail Tenant Services, just rolled-out an initiative called “Retailer 360,” which is targeted exclusively to retail occupiers who are in a growth mode.  Our goal is to serve as a de-facto real estate department for these companies so they can focus on their core business. 

TALENT
Are you currently looking for talent?  If so, what position & what skills are important for that position?  We are always looking for top talent.  Currently, we are seeking quality producers in various departments throughout the company.  Once those producers are engaged, we’ll need strong support staff as well.

Do you conduct most interviews in person or over the phone or video?  What do you look/listen for during the interview? We conduct first interviews on the phone and then follow-up with an in-person interview.  I expect a candidate to research our firm and ask relevant, company-specific questions.

Do you review social media profiles of candidates?  If so, have you ever ruled out a candidate based on their online profile?  Yes and yes.

What advice would you give someone who is just entering the Commerical Real Estate industry? I would advise a person new to retail real estate to meet with lots of people in a variety of disciplines in our industry.

What general comments can you say about the talent within the Commerical Real Estate industry? Recently, I’ve seen a large influx of people ranging from 22-32-years old who appear to be hungry for deal-making. CRE is attracting quality talent right now.

How does Poline Associates support your talent needs?  Poline knows the shopping center industry and has taken the time to understand our business and our culture so they can accommodate our specific needs.  They are incredibly well-connected within the retail arena so they know how and when to connect with our ideal candidate.

FUN FACTS:
How do you spend your free time?  Enjoying life with my family.  Traveling and playing golf.
Favorite restaurant? Miller Union
Favorite drink?  Margaritas, although I don’t drink them often enough!
Best vacation you have ever taken? My 40th birthday trip was amazing!  Argentina with girlfriends and Uruguay with my husband.
What keeps you up at night?  My dogs, furr real….
Where is once place you’d like to go, but have never been?  Peru