AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
What can I say about Matt that his smile doesn’t already tell you? He is one of the most genuine people I have EVER met in the multifamily industry. He lights up a room but isn’t afraid to challenge an idea or ask questions. He is someone who I’ve always admired and who always gives the best hugs. If you are looking for someone to add to your network who you know will give it to you straight but also give you the shirt off his back, it’s Matt.
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?
My hope is that being approachable always sets me apart. I always find it funny even when I tour today and see professionals in this industry that seem like they don’t like interacting with people. BREAKING NEWS- there are hundreds of them living in the community so you might want to smile! I know I am ‘meant’ for multifamily because I am the best version of myself when I’m helping other people.
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
Believe it or not, I sold a pair of shoes to Lindsay Rudzika when I was an Assistant Manager at Aldo store on Michigan Avenue downtown. Shortly after she connected me to Elizabeth Williams who was looking for a Sales Consultant for a new management contact Village Green had taken over in Lakeview at 2833 N. Sheridan. It was love at first phone call. The way Elizabeth spoke about the company and had a passion for what she did left such an impression on me I wanted, no I NEEDED that job. I stayed with VG for years and moved into their Corporate Housing division as a new challenge to try something different. The furnished side eventually led me to Suite Home where I am today.
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
I know a Place, Muna
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
1. Patience. Try to stay calm (I'm laughing while I'm typing this bc my team will facepalm reading it) sometimes things work themselves out. Not everything needs an immediate reaction.
2. Always try to understand that people are doing the best they can, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Empathy goes a long way, and it’s not the same thing as sympathy.
3. Never say no to networking or getting out of your shell. You never know what connection may lead you to your next adventure.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
My proudest moment in Multifamily was volunteering within a membership I had so much respect for, The Corporate Relocation Council of Chicago. I was always a wallflower at the events because I didn't know anyone when I first started. Their Board needed help with social media for the conferences so very casually told someone I was interested. I was terrified because I had NO idea what everyone did there and lacked the institutional knowledge, I thought everyone else had. Volunteering took me out of my head, made me feel useful to the group, and eventually led to friendships that felt like a family there. About a year later I was asked to serve on the board as a Communications Chair for a two-year term. It stands out to me as my proudest moment because I learned that getting out of myself and helping other people is always a tool you can use to find a sense of belonging.
Who is your mentor and why?
I’ve had so many because of the rotating roles I’ve had in this career, which is one reason I love multi-family. I’d have to say Elizabeth Williams showed me that a career path doesn’t have to feel like work if you allow yourself to have fun with it and laugh at yourself sometimes (puppy breaks help too). I’d be remiss to not mention my current boss, who started out at a friend, Jennifer Breen. Jen taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned, that there aren’t any substitutes for hard work, that success is NOT an accident and that persistence and dedication are differentiators in a world where everyone is trying to take the easy way out. I wouldn’t be where I am today without either of them being a part of my multi-family story.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. It was one of the first books that introduced me to the concept of leaning into discomfort for growth and inner strength. I read it when I started a journey into sobriety almost five years ago and it really did change the way I interact with myself and others. ‘Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
Anywhere near water, with four REAL seasons (I’m a Midwesterner for life) and with greenery nearby. I’d have to name it Tobel Manor because that's what we always called my parent’s houses growing up. I grew up with a family of four extremely social siblings, and numerous cousins our ages so it was always organized chaos and felt like a sorority/fraternity. It was my first multifamily setting if I’m being honest, ha!
What is your most memorable vacation?
It would be a toss-up between Italy and Greece. Both trips were for close friend’s milestone birthdays and so many memories were made for a first time visit in each country. The history in each is just unbelievable, and I loved how much time we spent exploring cities by foot.
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
I know I’d always spend it one of two ways 1.) learning something new/ practicing something I’m learning Or 2.) doing something physical outside.
Matthew Tobel, CCHP
Director of Business Development
Suite Home Chicago