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Catching Up with NARPM Women’s Council for Property Managers
Christina Wade and Kesha Jenkins of the Women’s Council for Property Managers join The Property Management Show to talk about the progress that’s been made since the last time we talked about the launch of this initiative.
We’re revisiting the mission of the council and talking about some of the things that have come out of it. There’s a lot of insight and many success stories that have really empowered women in the property management industry.
Women’s Council for Property Managers
The Women’s Council for Property Managers is a NARPM group that was founded with the goal of equipping women to grow professionally and personally. The council enhances professional development and networking opportunities for women in property management so they can step into leadership roles that they may desire to fill but don’t feel prepared for.
This is for any woman with any role in any property management company. All that’s needed is a desire to grow and expand in any way. It’s a challenge to step out of their comfort zones to access the tools that are needed to succeed.
Success Stories and Successful Events
Kesha’s first event happened to be a fair housing event, which was extremely informative and shared lots of knowledge. The event itself went off without a hitch and she was surprised that after 22 years in the property management business, she still managed to learn a lot during that event.
This is why the Women’s Council for Property Managers is holding these meetings. Even though everyone in the room has been in the business for some time, there’s so much yet to be learned and discovered. By learning together, the women in the council are supporting their own careers and they’re supporting one another. After joining, Kesha quickly felt empowered to step out of her comfort zone and lead the Sacramento NARPM chapter.
During another event, a property manager was really struggling because she could not find the answers she needed to a particular challenge within her own company. No one was willing to help her, but the women at this even surrounded her with support and encouragement. They provided referrals to specific people who could help her and get her the answers she needed. This was transformative: understanding that even when it seems no one is willing to help, there’s a support network willing to provide direction.
Everything that had been envisioned for this council is actually happening, and Kesha and Christine say it’s been uplifting to witness. The purpose and the mission of the group is actually coming to fruition at these events.
Taking Risks to Yield Results
Anytime you start something new – whether it’s a company or a podcast or a group, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Maybe no one will show up. Maybe no one will get involved. Maybe it will be a complete flop.
That’s a risk in trying something – but for the Women’s Council, it’s exactly what women in the industry have needed.
Any backlash against the group has been due to people not understanding the mission. It’s not intended to put any one group ahead of another. It’s supporting people who want to step into leadership positions within their industry and their community.
Community is at the core of this movement. Like-minded people are getting together to share knowledge and tools and they’re lifting each other up.
Property Management Communities are Out There
Something that may not be obvious to all property managers is this: There’s always a community that’s willing to help. If you approach one community and it’s not a good fit, keep looking. Many smaller groups and communities can be found within the industry. You’ll find the right fit.
Generally, people in property management are accommodating, and once you find your tribe, you will notice a big difference in what you’re able to do as a group. This is especially true within an organization like NARPM, which fosters a true feeling of camaraderie among professional property managers.
Christine and Kesha recommend looking for local groups and online groups. Facebook groups can be great, as long as you’re cautious. There’s a lot of hate and negativity on social media, but you can quickly find the same handful of people who are genuinely helpful and always positive. They’ll be willing to help, and instead of being combative, they’ll want to assist you in finding solutions.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people personally. Christine notes that Brad Larson was extremely helpful in getting the Women’s Council started because she got in touch with him to talk about it. If someone doesn’t respond, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean anything except that you aren’t meant to connect. Keep looking and keep trying. As you take steps forward, the right people will show up to help you meet your goals.
Start with your local associations if you’re not already a part of them. And, if you don’t see a group out there, why not start one? Be the person who helps someone else, because what you put out there is what you’ll get back.
That’s an important thing for everyone to hear.
If you drop in and out of professional groups and associations, you won’t be nearly as successful as if you become fully engaged.
How to Be a Force for Change
Not every market in the U.S. has its own NARPM chapter.
So, if you want to gather a lot of talent together, start locally. Talk to other property managers in your area. Those who belong to NARPM are there because they want to change the industry and make it better. You can start right there in your hometown. Get together with other property managers and start something. If they don’t want to work with you, move further out until you find the people who do.
Kesha is actually doing this.
In Alabama, Brian Jenkins has been trying to establish a NARPM chapter in Birmingham because there’s a real need for it. The industry is growing in Birmingham and Mobile and Montgomery, but right now local property managers have to drive to Atlanta for their regional chapter meetings.
Kesha is working with Brian and local Alabama management companies to set up a NARPM chapter. There’s a huge community of residential property managers who need this resource.
You’ll find that once you get a few people willing to work on something, it snowballs. Momentum is built – even after some initial hesitancy. Encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone once you’ve done that yourself is really encouraging.
The status quo is comfortable. It’s tempting to stay there. But, as the Women’s Council and its members have realized, there might be something better on the other side.
Avoiding Burnout and Doing Too Much
Maybe you want to get involved and access resources like what’s available at the Women’s Council, but you’re just too overwhelmed. How do you move forward when you’re burning out?
This will depend on what energizes you. Maybe there’s one person in your life who can lift you up and get you moving in the right direction. Maybe you just have to do it for yourself.
Kesha says that she came very close to burnout because she was putting 100 percent of herself into everything she was doing every day. She was a property management superhero and the president of Sacramento NARPM, sometimes working until midnight.
She talked with her husband, she began working with a therapist, and she learned how to make some space for herself outside of the work so she could save her strength and her peace of mind.
Taking some time away, traveling, and building a support system made all the difference.
If you’re bogged down and overwhelmed, do what you need to do to find balance. Start somewhere small. You’ll get your insight back and you’ll find your people.
A lot of the typical property management groups you may find are hyper-focused on growing the business and getting more doors. On the surface, it seems like what all property managers are supposed to do, but it doesn’t have to be your priority. Those doors will come. Revisit your priorities as a person and as a business. You don’t have to play the grow game just because everyone else is.
Christine says it’s important to remember that you’re more than a property manager. You might also be a wife or a mother or a partner. You may have other priorities. That’s okay. She says that if she’s not raising good humans, what’s the point of being a good property manager?
A lot of women have a strong desire not to fail. Women want to prove they’re worthy to be in their position and that they are capable of wearing multiple hats while being successful.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Learning More about the Property Management Industry
Kesha says she was surprised to learn how many men in property management are actually supporting the women leaders they work with. Her boss Ted has been helping and encouraging her for 15 years. Brad Larson has been a huge supporter and Tony LeBlanc has been extremely helpful in providing support and resources.
Men attend the events hosted by the Women’s Council, and they are proud to do that.
If you like what you’ve heard in this podcast, and you’re interested in joining an event or being involved in the Women’s Council for Property Managers, make sure you’re following the upcoming events. Stay tuned because as the council gets bigger and stronger, the growth will provide new opportunities.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at Fourandhalf, and we’ll put you in touch with the leadership at the Women’s Council.