AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
Strategic Management Solutions, LLC
I am not sure you can find a person with a bigger heart than, Keir Schutte. Hanging with her is like wearing your favorite pair of jeans. You know, the ones you’ve had for 20 years and will NEVER get rid of because they’ve seen you through it all. That’s her. She’s AMAZING and will literally give you the shirt off her back and you won’t catch her saying a bad word about anyone. I guarantee that when you connect with her, your day will get more beautiful – much like her favorite song!
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?
I am different; I feel certain that everyone that knows me would agree! I beat to my own drum; thank goodness it has always worked for me. I have always fought for the underdog (whether that is the worst property, my employees, or residents in need), and (ironically) these days, I literally do with my animal rescue! ;) I run an animal rescue/sanctuary nonprofit and use part of our management office for the Headquarters. 😊
I am meant for this industry because my forte has always been value-add, distressed and mismanaged apartment communities. And there have been, and still are, a LOT! I really dig cleaning things up and turning around tough properties. I love customer service; we shouldn’t be in this business if we don’t care about people.
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
I have been in this industry for 30 years! I was only 13, ok ok, 23, when I started, and it obviously stuck! I had a couple of tours on the supplier side but always ended up back on the property management side. I didn’t plan to be in property mgmt., we know that very few people do. The apartment community I had just moved into in Va. Beach (ex Hubby was Navy) was hiring part-time and I figured I would try it out, and here we are…..
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
Beautiful Day - U2. This is a song of hope, our capacity for love, but there are times when we feel emotionally full. But we all have the capacity to make progress, to look for hope and beauty in the world. It is our choice how we interpret, reflect on and focus upon what is around us.
So, make it a Beautiful Day. ;)
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
To do this job correctly, you cannot be faint of heart, you ‘must’ care about the Residents and your staff, you cannot be lazy. If you are committed to working hard and doing it right, you will always have a career. However, you MUST make time for yourself and your loved ones and/or family.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
This most recent accomplishment, Strategic Management. When the Owner asked me to manage their properties in-house and, on top of it, I told them the only way I would do it is if they bought the office bldg. in my hometown so that I could use it, also, for my Rescue Headquarters. This would also give me a facility to use to give back to the community, also. It isn’t easy, but to be able to combine the two efforts has been an incredible personal accomplishment. It is still a work in progress, but I am committed, and very stubborn;).
Who is your mentor and why?
I am VERY fortunate to have worked for some of the best companies, and most of all, to have worked for the best of the best. In timeline order: Regina Harris, Judy Gogel, Matt Lawson, Katherine Masterson and Alex Jackiw.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
I really can’t narrow this down! Reading was my outlet as a child, with a very challenging homelife, so many books were/are dear to me.
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
Well, I don’t own it, but I manage a teeny one here in Lebanon, IN for my Boss/Owner/Partner and I was able to name it Melrose Place on Washington! We gutted the 12 units, added washer/dryers, smart thermostats, etc. and I knew people were going to jump on the local neighborhood Facebook pages complaining that the rents were too high, so I figured I would give them something else to talk about, and it worked! There were comments like “I want to live there just because of the name!”.
What is your most memorable vacation?
Italy, for my daughter’s small wedding. We had all our kids together. Everyone had a blast and there was so much love and many happy, fun, and loving memories together. The best part is we ditched the tourist spots, found small towns, and played a lot of it by ear. :-)
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
Well, I would most likely still work a little bit. However, of course with 60+ fur and feathered residents, there’s always something to do with my rescue! Plus, my goal is to advocate for better policies for pets, especially dogs, in apartments in the next year(s).