How San Diego CEO Jason Hughes Elevates Women in the Workplace
Jason Hughes is always enthusiastic about sharing the latest news on his firm, but when he talks about his wife, Shay Hughes, and her role at the company, he radiates joy. Spending the past 33 years working as a tenant representation expert, Jason Hughes says he was delighted to have Shay join him in launching Hughes Marino more than 11 years ago in San Diego. He admits he wakes up each morning thinking about how blessed he is.
“I have so many people say, ‘How in the world do you work with your wife?’ And I think, ‘How in the world could I have not worked with my wife?’" Jason Hughes says. “She's actually the secret sauce here. The real magic and the brilliance comes from her.”
In her role as president, COO, and owner, Shay Hughes is involved in all facets of the company, from long-term planning and operations to company culture and maintaining client satisfaction. The power couple met the summer before beginning college at Pepperdine University. They eventually married and moved to San Diego to officially establish roots together.
Jason Hughes Celebrates Working With Wife Shay Every Day
“Shay is the most amazing woman,” Jason Hughes says. “I couldn't imagine this life professionally, or certainly personally, without her. She is the light of my life every day. And she really brings so much magic to our company [and] so much love. I think the maternal instinct that women have makes them by far the superior species.”
The San Diego CEO admits he’s not just paying lip service. He says it’s something he truly believes.
When the company started, two women were on board, and now the brand consists of more than 50% women.
“I feel like women bring something that is not represented enough in business, especially in the commercial real estate industry,” Hughes says.
Working in the commercial property business, Jason Hughes has seen firsthand how competitive and challenging things can get — and how a woman’s perspective can help strike a balance.
While he has found it difficult at times to work in the industry, he says Shay has shed light on a sometimes difficult business.
“What Shay has done is brought this different level of humanity, care, love, [and] empathy to an otherwise morally rudderless industry.”
As business partners and parents, Jason Hughes says he and his wife have always been very supportive of each other. As their children got older, she was able to put more time into their business and help develop it into what it is today — one of the largest exclusive tenant and buyer representation firms in the nation.
“We've tried to be this beacon of light in an otherwise pretty dark industry,” Jason Hughes says. “That's one of the things that all of the brokers that join us, and our operations team members that join us that have had experience at other companies, without exception they say, ‘This is just night and day.’ Everyone that has come from this industry to our company says this is beyond what they could have ever had hoped for. And that's very fulfilling for us because what we're trying to do is get back to enjoying the journey, and love who we're working with.”
Building and maintaining a company culture Jason Hughes believes in has also been a direct result of Shay’s involvement, according to the San Diego-based business owner. Hughes says Shay takes pride in making sure their team feels motivated and inspired, and has all the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to succeed.
Gratitude Still Part of the Attitude at San Diego Company
“Since day one of opening, we’ve always made our company culture and the happiness of our team a top priority,” Shay says. “Our team works together with unprecedented operational support.”
Jason Hughes points out his company’s nationally recognized culture is another reason so many clients want to work with their firm in San Diego as well as other cities, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Denver, and Seattle. As for Hughes? Working with his life partner really seals the deal.
“There has not been a moment that I'm not incredibly grateful to have her by my side,” Jason Hughes says. “If anything, it's overwhelming and sometimes exhausting trying to keep up with her because she's so freaking good. She's incredibly brilliant. I couldn't do this without her. [I] would never want to do it without her. She's the love of my life. Every moment and I feel incredibly blessed. She's very, very special.”
Published by Samantha Brown