Title: Senior Vice President
Passion Projects: In addition to Jeff’s decades of success in commercial real estate, he is incredibly passionate about giving back to the community and serving others. Presently, he sits on the board of three Southern California nonprofit organizations.
Professional Accomplishments: Jeff has negotiated and structured over 8 million square feet of transactions valued at more than $2.1 billion for a number of national, regional and local companies. Jeff has also developed more than 2 million square feet of industrial space.
Personal Milestones: Jeff was valedictorian of his MBA Class at UCLA, and has finished one full marathon and 30 half-marathons. He is also an avid tennis player, incredible bowler, and competitor in the annual So Cal Ragnar Relay.
You’d never know by talking to Jeffrey Shepard, Senior Vice President of Hughes Marino, that he’s one of Orange County’s most successful commercial real estate brokers. There’s a reason for that. Jeff is far more interested in building relationships with others, giving back to the community, and growing as a person, than he is interested in telling you about his latest “deal.”
His typical workday offers a glimpse into his priorities, which lie first and foremost in forming meaningful relationships with others. The business, Jeff says, will follow.
5:15 am: Jeff’s alarm goes off. He dresses for his morning workout, and stops before leaving the bedroom to give his wife Diane a kiss and tell her he loves her.
“Not long ago, Diane mentioned that, by doing that, I was waking her up even more than my alarm already does. When I explained that it is my way of telling her that I was making a conscious choice to love her anew each day, she quickly said, ‘Ok. You can wake me up!’” Jeff says with a smile.
5:30-6:15 am: Jeff begins his day by reading devotionals for 10-15 minutes and asking God for help in remaining humble and being a servant-leader to those around him, which helps him start his days feeling centered. Afterwards, he spends 30-45 minutes in his home office responding to emails that came in overnight.
6:15 am: Dedication to physical well-being is hardwired into Jeff’s DNA, so within an hour of waking he’s ready to burn some calories. Whether he works out in the exercise room of his family’s Mesa Verde home, or drives to his local gym, his routine always includes cardiovascular exercise, with a bit of weight lifting and calisthenics thrown in for good measure.
7:30-9:15 am: Breakfast meetings are a way of life for Jeff. “Most days of the week I’m reconnecting with a client, or meeting with a valued business colleague or friend. Sometimes we brainstorm about how we can improve our businesses and help each other, but, for the most part, we’re brainstorming ideas for doing better in life, in general.”
9:30 am: Jeff uses his morning hours in Hughes Marino’s Orange County office for transaction related matters. He updates clients on the status of projects, initiates new transactions, and handles lease/purchase refinements and negotiations. Jeff also makes sure to dedicate some of his morning office hours to collaborating with his colleagues, providing mentorship to younger brokers, and helping others however he can.
11:30 am-1:00 pm: “Over the past decade the richness in my life has really come from taking my eyes off of myself. I love where I work, and I happen to be extremely good at real estate, but it is the depth of the personal relationships I have formed that have led to a meaningful life,” Jeff says. To that end, Jeff attests that he considers the most successful lunch meetings to be those wherein business is rarely discussed.
“I want to know what is going on in people’s lives. I care deeply about getting to know people, establishing relationships, and building trust. Business will follow.”
As for holding up his end of a lunch conversation? “I enjoy talking about my roles serving on the boards of three local nonprofits: Game Changer, The Child Abuse Prevention Center and Working Wardrobes, where I am especially passionate about growing the VetNet Program,” he says.
“I also constantly seek to learn more about the person I am meeting with; I try to live by the philosophy of “be interested rather than trying to be interesting.”
1:30 pm: Early afternoons are typically filled with new business development meetings. Though Jeff generally travels to clients’ offices to discuss imminent projects, as well as those forthcoming in the next 36 months, he does also welcome the opportunity to host clients at Hughes Marino’s office in Irvine.
“We have such a cool office that clients love coming here for meetings to see how we are truly living what we say — that one’s space can indeed speak loudly for the culture of your company, and help to fully engage everyone so that they give their very best.”
3:00 pm: Jeff spends the remainder of his afternoon back in the office focusing on client maintenance, outreach, business development, and internal Hughes Marino initiatives and marketing projects.
5:00 pm: At least once a week, Jeff attends a board meeting for one of the nonprofits he serves, or goes to an evening networking event. Other nights he’s able to head to the Newport Beach Tennis Club for a match with Diane, or with other friends he’s met through the club.
“When Diane and I play, we’ll often stay for dinner. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. We’ve met so many new people through the club, and those people now have become an important part of our lives. Although I love competing, stretching myself and learning new things, it’s much more about community than competition.”
8:00 pm: Jeff and Diane are either home from the Tennis Club, or have finished up dinner at home. Jeff notes that he is starting to cook for Diane as part of Hughes Marino’s year-long “mini-goal challenge,” which has nearly everyone in the company taking on a new goal each month in 2015.
Jeff and Diane are happy to spend their evenings cozying up with their two King Charles Cavaliers, Spencer and Bodie, a glass of wine, and often a reality singing show, such as The Voice or American Idol – though Jeff does admit to enjoying The Bachelor. Three to four times per week Jeff is also trying to fit in some practice time on the banjo, a new undertaking thanks to a cool present from Diane for his 55th birthday.
Later in the evening, he says, “I do generally put in another 30-45 minutes of work at night, but I’m really working hard to limit that and just be present with my wife.” These days that time is often spent thinking, planning, and talking about the couple’s three-week trip to Italy for their upcoming 10-year wedding anniversary.