AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
Has someone ever made an impression on you that you have never actually met but yet you still felt a connection? That’s how I felt the times I have seen posts on LinkedIn from Stephanie. There was one post in particular about “creating your own seat at the table.” I appreciate her push for more boldness and leadership amongst women and how we all need to continue to lift one another up!
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?
In one word…People. People are my reason for existence and the fuel that ignites my fire each and every day. In the apartment industry, I get the opportunity to meet and work with different people. I have been often told that my smile lights up a room the moment I enter it. My goal is always to make people happy and leave them better off than when I first interacted with them. My passion for people is what others remember most about me. I enjoy helping others find their seat at the table, encourage women to gain more confidence, and help parents find a balance between their family and career. And finally, I thrive on challenging the status quo. I certainly do not have all the answers, but I am good at having uncomfortable conversations that discuss controversial topics to move the needle further for companies and employees in the future.
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
The year was 2006 and I was a senior in college, attending Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. I was searching for an apartment when the Property Manager asked if I had considered a career in property management. My response was clear. Not only was that not my intended path, but I honestly did not know much about the property management industry. Besides, I had ambitions to teach deaf children. The manager was consistent that my personality was a great fit. The icing on the cake for her selling strategy was letting me know they could work with my college schedule; I would be paid commissions on all leases and I would receive a monthly rent discount at my new apartment. She was very persuading, and I am always open to new adventures, so I decided to give it a whirl. When I started, I was impressed with the impact I could quickly make on the lives of others. It was such a rewarding feeling to assist others in finding their new home. I enjoyed getting to meet new people and I loved that no two days were ever alike. To say there is never a dull moment working in property management would be quite the understatement. Flash forward 14 years and I could not be happier with working in the apartment world.
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
I love music as it feeds my souls and allows a great creative outlet. While it’s difficult to name just one song, if I was driving down the road, you will hear my best concert singing Alicia Keys “Girl On Fire.”
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
Be consistent. There is a limitless opportunity with a career in property management. Find what you love most about the industry and develop a career path to get you to your ultimate goal.
Everything we do is all about the resident experience. Embrace it, get creative, and make a difference.
Never stop learning. Education is everything and this industry is constantly evolving. Take time to invest in yourself with industry credentials and education courses.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
At the end of 2011, just one month after giving birth to my second child, I made the difficult decision to leave my current company and take the leap to be a Property Manager. I was nervous, scared, and unsure if I could effectively lead a troubled team with so many property challenges, not to mention being a mom of two kids under the age of two. I officially started in January 2012 overseeing 300 apartment homes and leading a team of eight employees. I implemented new ideas, took risks, and became family to my team. The silver lining from my first chaotic but impactful year as a PM was when I was named the 2013 Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) of the Year by the National Apartment Association. To be recognized nationally is a huge honor that I will never take lightly.
Who is your mentor and why?
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by strong women from the early age of birth. My mother sacrificed so much for me to ensure I was well taken care of, educated, and loved. Her independence, strong work ethic, and big heart set an amazing example early on for me to follow. My success as a mom and professional is largely attributed to her.
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
“Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. She unapologetically says everything most women think but may not say out loud. As a woman, it is so important to find my voice and use it in a positive and intentional way to make a difference in the world. She talks about the struggles of balance, motherhood, relationships, and just life in general. Her words motivate me to know I was made for more than just what I am doing.
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
The name of my community would be The Trilogy and it would be located at my favorite vacation destination in Myrtle Beach, SC. The name “trilogy” comes from the nickname for my children. I am a mother of three and all three have the same initials. Their names are Tyler, Tinsley, and Taylor and with the birth of my third child, came the ending to a perfect trilogy.
What is your most memorable vacation?
I like to think that all of our family vacations are memorable. And while many come to mind, there is one that sticks out the most and it happens to also be the most recent. In October of 2019, my husband and I celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. Before we got married, I told him that if we made it to 10 years, I wanted to renew our vows. In my generation, couples are less likely to stay married. Ten years of marriage in today’s generation is equivalent to 25 years for my grandparents. We planned a vow renewal ceremony at our favorite beach in South Carolina, where our children and my parents were present. The weather was perfect during sunset as my son walked me down the aisle and my children watched my husband and I reclaim our love and commitment to one another. We celebrated the entire week in Myrtle Beach as a family, making so many great memories that I will never forget.
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
This is simple, more family time. So much of the workweek is spent working, laundry, cleaning, errands, and other adult duties. I would use this day to focus on family and fun. Maybe a trip to the beach, a ride on our boat, a swim at our community pool or an afternoon of fun board games. I am fortunate to work for an organization where we have flex scheduling. I work 9 extended weekdays and have the 10th day off. Every other Friday I get to spend the day finding balance and doing something I love. That normally involves my family, sunshine, and water during the warmer months.
Manager, Industry Operations
National Apartment Association