Podcast | Adaptive Spaces

Shake It Up: The new playbook for office occupancy

August 15, 2023 38 Minute Listen

TWT Module S4E31

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CBRE’s Office Occupier Sentiment Survey provides current insights on how companies are approaching in-office and hybrid work. CBRE’s Global Occupier Thought Leader Julie Whelan discusses key findings and shares thoughts on several companies’ return-to-office strategies.

Shake It Up: The new playbook for office occupancy

August 15, 2023 38 Minute Listen

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Unique insights on what matters most today in commercial real estate.

How are some occupiers enhancing their office and employee experience?

  1. Flexibility: “One size does not fit all. You have to have standards, and we do. But you have to be flexible within those standards because people are working very differently than they worked in the past.” Jim Dobleske, Chair and CEO, Ford Land
  2. Wellbeing: “It's all about trying to find that balance. You've got to basically find a way to find that place where you can reset, recalibrate and re-energize.” Carim Khouzami, President and CEO, Baltimore Gas & Electric 
  3. Workplace Design: “Our building now… is very open, lots of natural light. There are no offices. I do not have an office. Everybody is in cubicles because we really believe that that's part of our open and fun culture, for you to engage with people.” Lisa Ingram, President and CEO, White Castle
  4. Culture: “Having the best workplace to go into isn’t going to mean anything if you don't have the culture that makes people want to be there.” Julie Whelan, Global Head of Occupier Thought Leadership, CBRE


Photo of Jim Dobleske

Jim Dobleske

Chair and CEO, Ford Land

In his leadership role at Ford Land, the real estate arm of Ford Motor Company, Jim Dobleske is responsible for Ford’s entire global real estate portfolio. This includes manufacturing, research and development, and office properties. As Chair and CEO, Jim oversees real estate, engineering and construction, energy and sustainability, global design, facility management services and workplace experience for Ford Land. Under his leadership, the Ford Land team is driven to deliver and sustain best-in-class real estate, workplace experiences and facilities globally.

Photo of Lisa Ingram

Lisa Ingram

President and CEO, White Castle

As President and CEO, Lisa is responsible for vision, strategy and P&L operations of the iconic hamburger chain started in 1921 by her great grandfather. White Castle has over 350 company-owned restaurant locations in the Midwest and Northeast. They also operate a Retail Division which sells frozen hamburgers and cheeseburgers in grocery and retail chains across the nation. In addition, White Castle manufactures their hamburger buns and hamburger patties as well as retail products in their eight manufacturing and production facilities.

Photo of Carim Khouzami

Carim Khouzami

President and CEO, Baltimore Gas and Electric

Carim V. Khouzami is the president and chief executive officer of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), the nation's first gas utility. Khouzami oversees safety, reliability, customer service, financial performance and BGE's commitment to creating an inclusive culture. BGE is Maryland’s largest electric and natural gas utility, employing about 3,200 people and serving more than 1.3 million electric and more than 700,000 gas customers in central Maryland.

Photo of Thomas Neltner

Thomas Neltner

Head of Enterprise Workplace Services, Fifth Third Bank

As the Head of Enterprise Workplace Services, Thomas manages all real estate functions for Fifth Third Bank. With over 1,000 branches and more than $200 billion in assets, Fifth Third Bank has a presence in the Midwest and Southeast of the country. Thomas recently oversaw the bank’s expansion of its new headquarters in Cincinnati.

Photo of Chris Noble

Chris Noble

Group Vice President, Property, Walgreens

With more than 9,000 locations, Walgreens is one of the largest pharmacy chains in the U.S. As the company’s real estate leader, Chris utilizes his two decades of experience at the pharmacy to guide strategy and decision-making throughout the Walgreens portfolio. Prior to his current role, Chris founded a private equity firm specializing in net lease properties.

Photo of Bob Sulentic

Bob Sulentic

Chair & Chief Executive Officer

Bob Sulentic has been President & Chief Executive Officer of CBRE Group, Inc. since December 2012. He assumed additional responsibilities as Board Chair in November 2023. CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, with 2023 revenues of $31.9 billion and more than 130,000 employees serving clients in more than 100 countries.

Photo of Julie Whelan, CBRE

Julie Whelan, CBRE

Global Head of Occupier Thought Leadership

Julie Whelan leads a global team of researchers tasked with identifying major trends impacting commercial real estate occupiers across all industries. Julie also works directly with CBRE professionals across the Advisory & Transaction Services business to advise clients on real estate markets and strategies around the world.

An expert on the future of work, Julie is particularly interested in how the fundamental shifts toward sustainability and flexibility are reshaping the strategy and utilization of space. As a public speaker, she provides critical context for both massive and subtle shifts in the commercial real estate market, and her analysis has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, Forbes, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Axios, CNBC and more.

With decades of experience working on both the client and services sides of the industry, Julie built her career creating data-driven insights that influence the C-suite on matters related to real estate in large institutions. Before joining CBRE, she was the Vice President of Global Realty Services for State Street Corporation, where she built a team responsible for analyzing the strategic and financial impacts associated with real estate decisions globally.

Julie earned a Bachelor’s degree from Providence College, a Master’s in Business Administration from Suffolk University and completed the Commercial Real Estate Program at Boston University. She lives in Boston and enjoys traveling the world with her husband and three young children.


Photo of Spencer Levy

Spencer Levy

Global Client Strategist & Senior Economic Advisor, CBRE

Spencer Levy is Global Client Strategist and Senior Economic Advisor for CBRE, the largest commercial real estate services firm in the world. In this role, he focuses on client engagement and public-facing activities, including thought leadership work performed in conjunction with CBRE Research. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Real Estate Roundtable’s Research Committee.


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