AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
JZ Jake Zachariah
B2B Product Marketing Manager
A few of the many reasons I chose to spotlight JZ is because he is most proud when spotlighting others (now that’s a sign of great character); he shares my belief that life is too short for small talk, and he is so willing to give his time in a volunteer capacity. Even though we haven’t met, I have to say that if there was an award for “Most Approachable Online Presence,” he would win. Thanks for being a shining light in our industry!
I love dissecting words and looking for greater meaning like the word Apartment. What sets you “Apart” and why are you “Meant” for the multifamily industry?
Probably what most sets me “apart” from others is my ability to connect with others on a deeper-than-superficial level in a relatively short amount of time. Life is too short for small talk, so I’m all about diving right into the deep end of having great conversations about big ideas instead of the latest news or weather.
I am “meant” for the multifamily industry because I care for people and love to see people grow. Whether that’s growth in their capability to do their job better, growing their career in the industry, or seeing someone settle into their new home and new life and feel safe enough to grow that life into something beautiful – that drives me to keep giving to this industry. I’m not sure you can truly be successful in multifamily if you aren’t seeking ways to care for and help others grow!
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
My experience joining multifamily is similar to many stories I’ve heard and seen over the years – I was a resident in a community and became friendly with the amazing people in my office and the service team. They liked me enough to suggest a few times that I should consider joining them!
When it all changed was that I went into the office early to pay rent after an overnight shift doing retail inventory – they said “You know where you’d never have to work overnight? On our team!” I learned a little more about the job, the benefits, and I already loved the people, so I applied, and it’s been a full career of working alongside amazing, friendly people ever since!
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream is a surefire way to put a smile on my face.
As a bonus, I could forever and at any time listen to the massive Solé Bicycles Fixtapes series – it’s hours and hours of the most amazing funky, nu-disco, vibing tracks commissioned by the bicycle brand from some of the best musical artists.
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
Jump in and figure out what is the easiest for you to do, then volunteer for that as much as you can until you’re seen as an expert. In a shorter time than you expect, you can leverage that expertise for more opportunities to shine!
Volunteer in your local associations. Giving first to the larger group is one of the surest paths to more opportunities.
Give your residents some grace. We manage people’s homes where they keep their most valuable people and possessions – their family, pets, memories, and keepsakes. If things go wrong in what is supposed to be the safest place for them, it’s no wonder emotions can run high. In the end, they’re neighbors in our community and we should proceed while remembering that fact.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
I have several moments that would fall into my proudest – and each one of them is when I helped point the spotlight on someone else to help them shine! There are so many amazing and talented people who aren’t able to attract the attention they deserve, and I will forever jump at any chance I can get to help nudge them into the spotlight that they deserve. It was done for me several times by several amazing people, and I’ll keep paying that forward as long as I’m able to!
Who is your mentor and why?
I’m fortunate enough to have a few people in my life I’d consider a mentor, so I’ll share a few who have made an indelible mark on my career and in my heart:
Steve Wunch has been a friend and trusted adviser from the very beginning. We had a chance meeting in a training at my first multifamily job and he’s helped me find my path through multifamily ever since. FRIEND TO THE END! 💛
Nancy Lovell was my Regional Manager almost ten years ago when we met and nudged (pushed 😉) me to step into the spotlight and own my talents and expertise. She taught me the real value of volunteering in my local industry associations (IREM + NAA Affiliate) and I’m forever grateful for her encouragement.
Jessica Romero has been a friend and someone I consider a mentor for years. We met while I was onsite leasing and she was in sales for a supplier partner and we just hit it off! Months and months can pass and we’ll pick up the phone without hesitation to chat about the next big turn in our career. Her advice and perspective have been one I’ll cherish forever.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
The Mountain is You, by Brianna Weist (and I cannot recommend this read enough to literally everyone I meet – it’s life-changing!)
A few quotes from this that will stick with me forever:
"You must mourn the loss of your younger self, the person who has gotten you this far but who is no longer equipped to carry you onward."
"What you believe about your life is what you will make true about your life."
"In uprooting, you are not allowing yourself to blossom; you are only comfortable with the process of sprouting."
"Being mean to yourself first will not make it hurt less if other people judge or reject you."
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
I’m in love with the mountain views in Colorado and everyone should have an opportunity to experience the views, the sunsets, and the vibe in a community named “38 Evergreen.”
What is your most memorable vacation?
The second trip I took to Denver and decided it was the place to move my family to has to be the best and most memorable. I remember every day of the trip felt so comfortable, like I’d already lived here for years, and not at all like I’d experienced on other trips – after we moved, almost every day has felt like “a vacation.”
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
I’d spend that day working on my freelance business helping small business owners with marketing, branding, and sales automation. In my career, others have used their expertise and influence to help me open doors to opportunities – and I recognized that I could use my expertise and passion to help small and local businesses “open doors” to grow and thrive.
But the weekend is still always reserved for hikes in the mountains with the family + dogs and friends!