Published On Jun 15, 2021  
in  Leadership & Development

PECO’s Chief Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President, Jennifer Robison has been named a Woman of Influence by GlobeSt. / Real Estate Forum and was nominated as a Cincinnati Wise Woman, a group developed to increase the base of qualified, connected women in the greater-Cincinnati area.  These recognitions are for good cause – her outstanding leadership.  Jennifer strives for excellence, setting and achieving goals while giving her team all the tools they need to succeed.  At the same time, she recognizes that engagement and a sense of belonging are what make people happy to come to work in the morning and ultimately set the stage for success.

Jennifer began her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young while studying at Bellarmine University.  She was hired full-time in the audit practice upon graduation and, true to her passion for people, eventually led recruiting efforts there as well. After over eight years in auditing, Jennifer decided to move into corporate accounting.  She joined Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 Company and one of the largest publicly-traded healthcare REITs, serving as Manager of Financial Reporting and then Vice President of Financial Reporting. 

After nine and half years with Ventas, Jennifer joined PECO in 2014 as Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer. In this role, she is responsible for all functions of accounting, excluding tax, but including treasury; billing; accounts payable; property accounting; corporate accounting; annual CAM and Tax reconciliations; disputes and collection of reconciliations; lease set-up; financial reporting; and fund accounting and reporting. Her achievements have included leading the execution of system-wide initiatives and overseeing complex internal and external reporting structures. However, Jennifer believes her greatest feats have been the continued development and growth of her team, the largest at Phillips Edison with more than 65 people.

As a mentor, Jennifer takes a holistic approach, focusing not only on professional development through formal and informal training, but on overall community building and championing the personal growth of colleagues both on her accounting team and across the Company. Jennifer played an instrumental role in the development of Philips Edison’s Networking Opportunities for Women (PECO NOW) program, a company-wide initiative dedicated to recruiting, retaining and developing women leaders at Phillips Edison, and she is still an active member of the committee’s advisory board.

We asked Jennifer to share the secrets to her success, advice she’d give to others looking to grow in their careers and more.  Here’s what she said:

What led you to a career in Commercial Real Estate?

After working for a REIT for almost 10-years, I was naturally drawn to stay in real estate.  Healthcare was definitely a successful segment, and I wanted to stay in another long-standing segment of the industry.  Grocery-anchored, necessity-based centers definitely fit that description.

What early career experiences set you up for success?

Building relationships of trust with those I worked with/for.  I had several leaders that saw my potential and took me under their wing to help me succeed. For that, I will be forever grateful.

What is the best advice you would give to women looking to grow in their careers?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort-zone or to ask for help or to speak up.  Use your voice and knowledge and watch where it will take you.

How can leaders keep their teams motivated and engaged even in the face of obstacles or conflicts?

Lead with conviction and empathy.  Have respect for different styles, but advocate for what is important for the team. Trust your team and do not micro-manage.

What do you believe are the actions and/or characteristics that helped you get where you are today? 

I spoke up and asked to try things earlier in my career. Also, I jumped in and helped in areas that were not my responsibility, but I wanted to learn and be involved.

(Networking Opportunities for Women)