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AMPressions

AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry

If you have the pleasure of knowing Laurie or have her part of your multifamily network, it comes as no surprise that “betterment” is her mantra. She is continuously improving something whether it be her team as EVP, Operations at Camden, her relationships, or herself. If you only read her answer to question #4 in this interview, you'll walk away feeling enriched. Laurie has paved a tremendous path in the multifamily industry and I promise that if you connect and follow her, you too may share in her passion for betterment!

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?

Like many others in our industry, I find energy in working with others. I enjoy championing people and their betterment and the betterment of the organization. Success for me is about creating value through meaningful relationships, meaningful work, and shared experiences. It’s about seeing others succeed and achieving their goals.  It’s exciting to see members of my team and peers in the industry influencing positive outcomes and advancing professionally. 

How and when did you get your start in the industry?

I joined the industry in 1994 as a career change following 9 years working in Washington, DC. I attribute multifamily as my meal ticket back home to Texas. My first role was the Director of Ancillary Services during a time many operators were going public and looking to create innovative revenue opportunities. It was a time of pioneering and collaboration across the industry. I joined Camden in 1999 where I have been having fun ever since.     

What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?

“I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas always makes me smile. It brings me back to Camden’s annual management conference in 2010 when 400+ team members from across the country surprised our co-founders, Ric Campo and Keith Oden, with a flash-mob dance to this song. It was the first time we had ever performed the dance together as a group and we killed it! Check it out on YouTube…it’s entertaining.

 

What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?

  1. Invest in relationships and develop a strong network of connections that build influence and open doors. 

  2. Be open to opportunities. Raise your hand and be willing to take a risk. It’s all about the journey; not the moment in time.

  3. Be genuine, kind, and sincere.

 

What is your proudest moment in multifamily?

That’s a difficult question as there are many.  However, in 2016, I had the pleasure of serving as President of CREW Network, an international commercial real estate organization dedicated to supporting the achievements of women. My timing afforded me an opportunity to serve during tremendous change -- change within the CREW organization and change in the business environment as the need for diversity within commercial real estate became a business imperative. 

 

Who is your mentor and why?

I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have many trusted advisors who have mentored, coached, and encouraged me to take risks and push beyond my comfort zone.  I’ve learned to use discomfort as an indicator of opportunities instead of something to be afraid of and avoided.  This is where I have gained some of my greatest learning and confidence.  

 

What book has left the biggest impression on your life?

Good to Great by Jim Collins. When I first got to Camden, we read the book as a Leadership team. To this day I use many of the guiding principles, one in particular: face the brutal facts. As soon as I see an issue surface or sense there is a problem, I try to nip it in the bud. Get it out on the table and get it resolved. We waste too much time and energy when we don’t confront issues, especially differences, in a truthful and timely manner.

 

If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?

In Telluride, Colorado. I would name it Sanctuary on the Slopes. 

 

What is your most memorable vacation?

My first trip to Europe with my daughter and a couple of girlfriends. I enjoyed every minute of eating and drinking our way through Rome, Tuscany, Florence, and Barcelona. We did a truffle hunt while in Italy that is on the top of my list of best experiences.

 

If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?

On the lake at our home away from home enjoying time with family, friends and watching the beautiful sunsets.  

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Laurie Baker

Executive Vice President, Operations

Camden

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