AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
Isn’t it funny that even if you are connected on Facebook, you still don’t really “know” someone? I love that this interview gave me some new light into LuAnne. Speaking of light, if you have ever seen her in person, you might say she lights up a room! She has fantastic energy and you can tell that she will bulldoze anything in her way – in a way that only a distinguished woman from the south could! And now, I will forever picture LuAnne when I hear 70’s anthems!
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 think what possibly sets me apart from others in a leadership role is 1.) my perseverance and 2.) my ability to hire/retain great people. First, what I mean by perseverance is I am not afraid of a challenge. In fact, you could say I thrive on challenges. I love finding ways to overcome objectives and create success during difficult circumstances. Secondly, in my career, I have been fortunate enough to hire and work with so many amazing people. Some of my Regional Vice Presidents and Regional Managers have been with our company 20+ years. And they are the best of the best!! I am meant for the multifamily industry because it is all I have ever known. I started leasing apartments in college and here I am 30+ years later!
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
As mentioned above, I started leasing apartments while I was in college in Birmingham, Alabama. Once I finished school, I took some time off to decide what I wanted to do. I met Karlton Jackson, our CEO, who at the time ran Lane Company, the fee management arm of Johnston American, in the mid-80s. I started working for him in 1985 and became a partner in 1998. Multifamily is the only industry I have ever known.
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
More Than a Feeling by Boston (I’m a ‘70s Band Girl!)
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
The three tips I would give someone interested in a career in multifamily would be:
1) You must be adaptable. In our business, every day is different. You have to be open to finding diverse and unexpected solutions to problems and challenges.
2) Be ready to work hard. The multifamily industry sometimes requires long hours and inordinate effort. However, I have found that the rewards for hard work are well worth it.
3) Understand that you cannot succeed alone. You need loyalty from your team, your residents, and your vendor partners.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
Good question! There are so many daily accomplishments achieved by the teams in my portfolio that truly keep me motivated. But, I guess the biggest individual accomplishment was receiving my CPM® designation from IREM.
Who is your mentor and why?
Another good question! Although I have had numerous mentors in the multifamily space, I would have to say that my biggest mentor is my mother. She raised four very strong-willed children who have all been successful in their own way. She is the most honest, strong, and kind woman I know.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
First let me say that I am NOT a reader, which is funny since my husband is an author. And since my husband is an author, I think I should say that his book, Relationomics (by Dr. Randy Ross) is the most meaningful to me. It has excellent principles for personal and professional relationships.
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
It would be somewhere on a lake, maybe Lake Oconee, southeast of Atlanta, GA. And it would be named Lalaland, where I sometimes wish I lived. 😊
What is your most memorable vacation?
In the summer of 2013, the entire family, along with several extended family members, spent 2 weeks in Italy. It was amazing and a vacation of a lifetime!
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
Unfortunately, right now, I would still be working. However, in a perfect world, I would spend it outdoors…walking, biking, or kayaking.
LuAnne Acton Ross, CPM®
Executive Vice President & Partner
JMG Realty, Inc.