The First Taste of Retail: The ZESTY Career Path of a PECO Leasing Associate

Published on May 16, 2018 in PECO Culture and Leadership & Development
Josh O Toole
Josh O’Toole
Leasing Associate

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From lemonade stand entrepreneur to garage sale connoisseur, Josh O’Toole’s path started out like many young children. However, his path eventually led him to Phillips Edison where he’s worked as a leasing associate for the past year. From a young age, Josh had a zest for real estate and property management sparked from his father’s investment lessons. Here’s the path that eventually led him to a leasing associate position at Phillips Edison.

Why do most children start a lemonade stand? To save for their college funds and learn about entrepreneurship, of course. Kidding. For me, the motivation was baseball cards. My two brothers shared this motivation, so at the ripe age of seven, I organized Team O’Toole and we jumped into the lemonade stand business.

Lemonade Stand Entrepreneur
We lived in Rohnert Park, California, and our house was perfectly located by a park that had a lot of foot traffic. Each weekend, we opened for business and slowly increased our baseball card count. As time went on, I learned that actually saving my earnings would lead to greater rewards. I started to think about other opportunities to earn more money.

Garage Sale Connoisseur
One day my neighbors and our family hosted a big garage sale. I was surprised at how many people showed up to buy things that we did not need anymore. Then it clicked that a lot of my neighbors just wanted this stuff out of their house. This led to my next entrepreneurial venture. I became a “garage sale connoisseur” by going around to my neighbors asking for things they would like out of their house, and then selling those items at my own garage sales.

O’Toole Lawn Care
Around junior high through high school, I got my hands dirty in the lawn care business. It was through this experience that I learned about customer service and that there were benefits to going the extra mile. Beyond simply mowing the lawn, there were extra services I could perform like weeding their garden, raking their leaves, trimming their edges, getting their yard ready for a party that I heard they might be having, etc. These weren’t services they were expecting (or paying for), but they appreciated that I took ownership. This strengthened my relationship with my clients and earned their trust. It also led to more referrals, expanding my business throughout the town.

Door-to-Door Salesman
Throughout my college years, I sold Daily Bread Freeze Dried Food Storage door-to-door. I went into each day setting a goal for myself: knock on 50 doors. However, once I got going, I pushed it to five more and then five more after that. By reaching these goals and then pushing a little harder, I reaped the rewards. I learned quickly that the more people you talk to, the more your sales increase.

Being a door-to-door salesman, along with all of these jobs in my earlier years, taught me the importance of determination. Never give up on something you want, always keep moving forward and never look back. These lessons have stuck with me to this current day and in my current position as a leasing associate at Phillips Edison.

Leasing Associate
As I got older and started to consider what I would be when I “grew up”, I couldn’t get past my interest in real estate. It was something I was involved in from a young age, learning from my dad’s business and real estate investments. I loved helping with leasing his spaces and property management. This early exposure to the excitement of real estate would lead me to get my real estate license and pursue a career in commercial real estate.

Why do I love it? When I find a good fit for a tenant, it is a great feeling to know that I helped them achieve their dream of starting a business, opening another store, or relocating to a better location. Beyond the other perks of the job, that is what really motivates me. I started my position at Phillips Edison one year ago and never looked back. Sometimes I miss the simplicity of those early years, but I’m thankful for where they led me and can’t imagine getting here any other way.
Josh O Toole
Josh O’Toole
Leasing Associate