Cresa Employee Spotlight: Joe Rattan
Cresa is committed to building an inclusive workplace that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our employees. Our employee spotlight series gives our team members the opportunity to share their unique experience.
Joe is an accomplished marketing leader with 20+ years of experience developing and executing award-winning visual campaigns that communicate and connect with targeted audiences. He is recognized for creative strategic thinking that increases value by growing awareness and impact. Joe joined the esrp team in 2018, prior to its merger with Cresa in 2022.
Left: Joe with his husband
Right: A sampling of Joe's artwork
What is your name, office, and position at Cresa?
Joe Rattan, Cresa Dallas (Frisco and Arts District offices) Vice President Marketing.
How long have you worked at Cresa?
I have worked at Cresa for one month and am approaching four years with esrp.
How did you get into the industry?
For 25 years I ran Joseph Rattan Design, my marketing and branding firm. I had the privilege to work with companies including Apple, Exxon, International Paper, Brinker International, Mirage Resorts, Sony Music, Texas Instruments, and Neiman Marcus. Some of my work is included in the permanent design collection of the U.S. Library of Congress. It was a great experience, but I wanted to try the in-house side of the business and found an opportunity at Colliers (International at that moment in time). I worked in Dallas, and over six years began supporting and building their brand and team across Texas. I was named one of five subject specialists, nationwide, to assist marketers with concept and idea generation. I then made the move to esrp after meeting with Sharon Morrison and the partners of the firm and realizing what an amazing team they had built. It was a culture and approach I had not experienced before, and I have continued to be thankful for the opportunities it has presented. I was very happy to find that same culture and spirit at Cresa and am looking forward to diving in deeper and helping where I am able.
What are some challenges you have encountered during your career and how did you overcome them?
Wow…the longer you live, the more challenges you can consider! This challenge was physical but had a profound effect on every aspect of my life. Without going into too much detail - nine years ago I broke my left tibia and took out my left tibial tendon. A little over six years ago I required surgery to rebuild my foot which resulted in three months in a wheelchair, five months in a boot and crutches, and several months of PT learning to walk again. Over the long period of inactivity, I gained A LOT of weight which created its own set of issues, and a doctor wanted to put me on pre-diabetic meds. I declined and said I would take care of it. I had to get a plan together to get myself in shape. Over the last three years, I have lost 120 pounds and made some big discoveries that apply across my life and work. It really is 99% mental prep and about 1% physical follow-through!
Surround yourself with positive energy and positive people. Understand that everyone around you is dealing with SOMETHING and kindness is always appropriate and needed. And the most difficult thing to overcome is the fact that so much negativity can come from INSIDE yourself and that it is so much easier to extend kindness to others than it is to yourself. And the biggest takeaway was that I can’t do this on my own. I am thankful every day for my faith and that I am in a place where I am surrounded by people who are empathetic, kind, encouraging, and fun.
Why are you passionate about what you do?
I’ve created visual art since the time I could hold a crayon in my hand! I found my true passion for this when I learned to combine creativity with communication, studying Design Communications at Texas Tech University with Frank Cheatham. He was tough, demanding, and inspired his students to go further and dig deeper. I had the great opportunity to join Woody Pirtle (Woody is an iconic American designer and an AIGA Fellow) who taught me how to distill and refine visual ideas and was a master of typographic design. These people, and so many others, continue to stoke my passion for what I do.
Are there any projects or contributions to your local Cresa office, that you would like to share?
One day, after I had worked to prepare a presentation for a large California-based company, the presenting advisor texted me during the meeting to tell me that the CEO held up our piece and said, “this is the best piece of co-branding I have ever seen.” It was a testimony and affirmation to the approach we take to find out who the client truly is…how they think, what they do, and what they value…and then speak and act accordingly. It should be about them, their brand and culture, and not about ours. We are here to facilitate their success first. My Dad always told me to work for the success of others, and when you do, you won’t have to worry about your own, it will come naturally. I am thankful to work in a company that understands this.
What organization(s) are you currently involved with?
I am very involved with the Dallas Chamber Choir (a 24-voice classical vocal ensemble) as a singer and as the designer of their brand. Last year DCC was awarded America’s Prize as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the country. The brand statement: Many Voices. One Heart. Speaks to the organization’s commitment to musical excellence and their pledge to affirm and celebrate composers/singers of all genders, identities, races, and orientations. I have supported Dallas Children’s Theater with design and marketing assistance for over 25 years. This organization introduces meaningful theater productions to children and families and offers a summer program to teach children all aspects of theatrical production in front of an audience and behind the scenes.
How did you become involved with this organization?
I am a trained opera/classical baritone and have sung on stage and in concert in North America and Europe. Before my son was born, I did stage performances, then moved to concert work. My love for music and theater led me to these organizations, and to several churches I also support. It is a small community, and some wonderful people invited me to participate.
Why is their mission important to you?
Music and theater (storytelling) are important to our lives and culture. It communicates and touches us in ways that are profound and important. This is especially true when children get to experience this. It is something that can be an important part of their lives whether they pursue it as a profession or a passion.
What has your involvement with this organization taught you?
Any performance endeavor requires you to be vulnerable and to share a part of yourself. It can be very frightening. We all feel vulnerable when we are pushing for a goal or meeting new people/challenges. I have learned that fear can either cripple you or fuel a stronger “performance” if you trust your preparation.
How can other people get involved?
Especially over the last couple of years during the Pandemic, the arts and organizations that support/create them have faced critical challenges. We need art, artistry, music, creativity, and culture in our lives. We can all do something to support these organizations with time, talent, and funding. Find something that speaks to your heart and then find a way to support it. It starts with awareness and then takes follow-through!
How do you think we can better promote diversity, inclusion and belonging within the CRE industry?
Visibility. It starts with us standing up and living as our authentic selves and asking for what we need. That is probably one of the hardest, yet most productive things we can do. Awareness. We can also position ourselves to be kind and receptive friends and colleagues who welcome honesty from the people with whom we spend a profound amount of time. Create a safe space around you that welcomes people to be who they are, flaws and fabulous! Desire. Foster a true curiosity and appreciation for each individual and utilize all that they bring to the table…experience, wisdom, humor, expertise and perspective.
Cresa is doing a wonderful job in creating a space and supporting groups within the company to foster understanding and awareness. Now, we as individuals must commit some time to receiving what is offered.