AMP Interviews with the biggest movers and shakers in the Apartment Management Industry
Vicki Sharp, CALP, CAPS, CDPM
The Sharp Solution
Although I’ve never met Vicki, she is definitely on my list to see speak! We have a lot in common – even trying to, as she puts it, “escape the industry.” I tried too and we see how that worked out! Vicki is a consummate cheerleader for others. She puts others first and jumps into action (without being asked). Even though she’s retired from the 9 to 5 grind, I have no doubt that we will see her speaking around the country doing what she does best – motivating others!
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?
TOUGH QUESTION!I’m not sure anything truly sets me “apart” because I think that most long-term folks in this industry have very similar traits. We want to put people first. We want to see our team members excel in what they do. We LOVE to recruit people to this industry. Personally, while I love working in all aspects of our business, my passion is training and coaching. I love it when someone tells me that I made a difference in their lives when I was just really doing what I always do. As to why I am “Meant” for this business, that’s a question for God. I firmly believe He put me on this path. I did try to “escape” the business once, and went into hospitality, but I guess it didn’t have enough drama for me! Seriously, I can’t answer the “why”, but can only thank God for being here. I met my husband in the business, and we’ve had such a wonderful life as we have worked and grown in this industry. So many blessings…
How and when did you get your start in the industry?
Most of the people who have been in my seminars have heard this story… But here goes...
Like most of us, I didn’t plan it. During my senior year of high school, I enlisted in the US Army. I left for Basic the day after graduation. While I enjoyed my time in the Service re-enlisting wasn’t for me. The day after I got out of the Army, (and spending one night back at Mom and Dad’s), I jumped out to find a new job and an apartment. We lived in Arlington, Texas, but I found myself driving in Dallas and for whatever reason, I pulled into the parking lot of an apartment community. The manager was super busy with others in the office and a phone that wouldn’t stop ringing. Keep in mind that there was no such thing as an answering service in 1974! The phone was driving me crazy, so I finally answered it and took a message.
When it was my turn and the manager asked what I needed, I said I was looking for an apartment. She grabbed a huge ring of keys and said, “Let’s go”. That was qualifying in 1974. As we were walking to the vacant apartment, she asked where I worked, and I told her about just leaving the Army and looking for a job. She said “Well, I’m looking for an assistant manager and you answered the phone, so…. If you want the job, it’s yours!” Hired in the parking lot and started work after seeing the vacant apartment. Been in this crazy business ever since!
What is one song that always puts you in a good mood?
Only one? I love Country, Jazz, and Spiritual, not always in that order.
For Country, I love “Fancy”. It’s a great song about doing whatever you have to do to improve your situation. I really love Reba’s rendition because she added the ending that was missing. For Jazz, there used to be a group in Austin called The Brew. I love everything by them because it’s just all upbeat Latin Jazz that gets me going. Gotta be careful listening while I drive though. I tend to speed up! For Spiritual, I will always love “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. It’s a great reminder that God is always watching over us. More contemporary, I love “Our God is an Awesome God”. I love singing with that one! LOUDLY!
What are 3 tips you would give someone considering a career in multifamily?
Get ready to be busy!
No 2 days are alike, so you have to be flexible.
Keep in mind that this, too, shall pass. Residents can be a real pain, but the joy of solving their issues and helping someone find that perfect new home is immeasurable. This is a Heart business first.
What is your proudest moment in multifamily?
I have a couple. Personally, it was when I was installed as the President of the Austin Apartment Association. To be elected by your peers is incredibly humbling and exciting.
As for our family, it was when my husband, Joe, was installed as the Chairman of the Board for NAA. Having watched all he did to earn that role, especially the 7 years he served as the lease task force chairman. While bringing the TAA lease to NAA was the initiative of Chairman Hap Hunnicutt, it was Joe that he tapped to chair the committee, leading the way to have 48 states now using the NAA lease was amazing. To see where the lease is today, and the financial impact it makes for NAA just makes me so proud of Joe.
Who is your mentor and why?
Like others, I have a couple of mentors that impacted my work life and my personal life as well. Anne Sadovsky is someone who I have admired since I met her in 1976. I always said I wanted to be Anne when I grew up. I still do! Her commitment to helping others grow their strengths in nothing short of amazing.
Other than Anne, I have to say that Patrick Appleby (Winn Residential) had the most impact and is someone I try to emulate even today. Patrick showed me what a real leader looks like, instead of just being a boss. He connects to others in a way that makes them feel special, learning about their lives, what’s important to them, and how to lead people to do what needs to be done. Even when I “stubbed my toe”, Patrick didn’t get mad. He just showed how things could have been done better. Anyone who gets a chance to learn from Patrick should jump on it!
What book has left the biggest impression on your life?
Seems to be whatever I read last or am reading now. Seriously, there are SO MANY books out there, and I am a voracious reader. I get thoughts and ideas from every book I ready, whether it’s Simon Sinek, or John Sanford. I seem to find motivation and ideas everywhere!
If you ever owned an apartment community, where would it be and what would you name it?
YIKES! What a tough question! Assuming I would want to be involved with the day to day, I would want the community to be in Maine, preferably in a seaside town. We love Bar Harbor, so I would enjoy a small community there. I think I would call it Peaceful Harbor as that’s the way I would love for us all to live.
What is your most memorable vacation?
I have to say our honeymoon. We toured New England for 2 weeks in late October with stops in Vermont, Montreal, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Neither of us had been to New England, and we loved every town, little restaurants and pubs, and the scenery. It was fantastic!
If our country went to 4-day work weeks, how would you spend your 5th day?
Well, probably not a fair question to someone who has just retired from the 9-5. But Joe and I love to travel, so I think we would do a lot of short trips. Otherwise, it would be spent playing golf, or just hanging out together at home.