The Right Questions For…
Sarah Kruer Jager, Monarch Group, Principal, Investment & Development
When you’re a little kid, and both your mother and your father are financially-savvy entrepreneurs, Sarah Kruer Jager says “you just naturally pick up on it from conversations around the house.” So, it is no surprise that today, at age 28, Jager is a principal in a private real estate investment and development firm that is co-owned by her father, Patrick Kruer. Patrick’s partner, Ron Stone, has a son named Ryan who also works for the firm.
TRQ: Are there challenges presented in working for a family-owned firm?
SKJ: There’s no challenge to it. Working in this firm is wonderful, and working for my Dad is like icing on the cake.
TRQ: What is involved in your job?
SKJ: We’re primarily into apartments and we do everything from soup to nuts to get a project identified, acquiring land, getting permits and ultimately developing the land. I’m involved in all of these things. I work with brokers, do financial modeling and am always looking around for projects. I’m also a founding member of the Monarch Investment Funds real estate private equity funds family.
TRQ: Why Monarch? You graduated from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with high distinction. Plus, since you went to this school on a four-year, full-tuition athletic scholarship, it seems as though you would have had many career paths and job offers coming your way.
SKJ: I initially joined UBS Investment Bank in Chicago as an analyst in the Mergers & Acquisitions and Diversified Industrials Group. I was learning a lot and actually loved living in Chicago, but a family loss caused me to want to be closer to my family. My Dad offered me this opportunity and I jumped at it.
SKJ: I’m married to Jason Jager whom I met at the University of Michigan. There aren’t many people whose arms you would have to twist to move to San Diego, but I did have to persuade Jason that San Diego would be a great place for us. Happily it has all worked out and we both love our lives here.
TRQ: When did golf become a big part of your life?
SKJ: I started playing golf when I was 10 years old and am told I was a natural from the beginning. At one time I wanted to be a professional golfer, but I changed as I grew up and saw different avenues which could be pursued.
TRQ: Is golf still a big part of your life?
SKJ: Definitely. I only get to play about once a month, and I’m very involved in the Pro Kids Golf Academy for underprivileged
TRQ: What are your core values?
SKJ: People, people and people. Its all about treating people right.
TRQ: What is an important memory of something your mother, Barbara Bry, taught you as a young person?
SKJ: Mother didn’t try to direct our lives or careers. She was always supportive and happy no matter what avenues we were pursuing.
TRQ: I’m told you are a role model for the importance of networking. Tell me about this.
SKJ: I love being involved in the political environment and with nonprofits because it’s good for our own business and good for the community. I’ve learned so much and have met so many smart, fun people during my involvements in the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leaders program, with the California Task Force on Youth and Workplace Wellness, with a fairly new organization which my mother helped start called Run Woman Run and most recently have been helping to organize the Herb Klein Leadership Series with my friends Keith Jones and Trevor Blair.
TRQ: Do you manage to find time to read?
SKJ: I’m currently reading “Game Change.” I read lots of newspapers, blogs and Websites online, like San Diego News Network (another one of my mother’s many endeavors), voice of sandiego.org The San Diego Union Tribune and, of course, The Wall Street Journal.
TRQ: Most prized item?
SKJ: My wedding ring and my golf clubs!
TRQ: San Diego has been called America’s Finest City. What it is going to take for the city to earn that moniker again?
SKJ: There are lots of problems between the business community and organized labor. I don’t see either side working very hard to come to the table to find common ground. Taxpaying residents need to speak up and be a part of solving this problem.
Mayor Sanders has done a heck of a job with some very tough problems and is making much needed progress. The “strong mayor” form of government has proved itself to be working as it forces accountability.
TRQ: Might you run for public office some day?
SKJ: Maybe. I love this city and wouldn’t rule out any way in which I can make a difference.
Gail Stoorza-Gill is an independent marketing consultant and serves on the boards of Security Business Bank of San Diego and voiceofsandiego.org. Send your ideas for prospective people to feature to The Right Questions, (619) 223-4815 or at firstname.lastname@example.org