Given that all of our news lately is so depressing, I want to take a moment to talk about something good. Is it poor timing to write about great things when the world is still dealing with such weighty issues? Perhaps, but I think some of us out there are ready to hear a different narrative. We’re all still in the midst of an unprecedented year, but we strive to find the joy in everything as it’s the only way forward. Here’s a glimpse of joy in our little world.
A global crisis is an interesting thing. All of the business experience in the world, all of the training, any special designations or continuing education classes you’ve taken can’t prepare you for something of this nature. As the pandemic bloomed, we followed it along and sharply curtailed operations along with the rest of the country. During the shutdown we had a number of employees leave permanently, whether it involved a career change or relocation.
Now, emerging from the crisis, we find ourselves not just reopening the office, but rebuilding it from scratch. The vast shift in staffing, combined with an altered local real estate market, has brought about the largest changes we’ve seen in our company in years. A renaissance is in the making, a rebirth of a rock-solid organization that will make us better at everything we do.
And we couldn’t be happier. Stress and fear are benched. Joy, you’re on deck.
The Secretary of Defense ordered all moves canceled until June 30th, which certainly has an effect on our business being in the heart of a military community. Coming back in mid-May, we realized we have a ticking clock: on July 1 the floodgates will open and we’ll be busy processing vacancies, move-ins, and sales on a post-pandemic level. Despite the time constraint, we’ve elected to not just hire, but to restructure in all the areas where we have seen inefficiencies. New positions have been created, duties have been reassigned, and we’ve engaged in more training and staff development than ever before.
Our first new hire was LaShaundra, who works directly under Letitia in our Leasing Department. She’ll be the smiling face you see the next time you come by. Shortly after, we brought in Monique to complete the picture, and to assist with the smiling. Our Maintenance Department will see the greatest changes. Formerly run with two Directors, we’re excited to announce Diane Taggart as our new Director of Maintenance, who will be running the inside and outside teams. Diane comes to us with a vast amount of property management experience and we look forward to the improvements she has in store.
Working under her are two new Client Service Reps or CSR’s as we call them, Latasha Riley and Jermigha Garcia. Latasha also comes to us with a background in property management so she’ll be a strong asset to our maintenance efforts. Jermigha also comes to us with real estate experience and enthusiasm that can’t be matched. And let’s not forget Kailee, our new social media Intern. Kailee is a senior at UMHB studying marketing. In the last couple of weeks, she’s completely revamped our online presence and keeps us prevalent in your news feed.
Along with the new staff comes new policies, and as I’ve said in this process “there are no friendlies.” Nothing is sacred and nothing is safe. We’re evaluating our lease, our management agreement, our application process, and how we handle repairs, maintenance, and assessments. While grueling, time-consuming, and sometimes stressful (perhaps stress hasn’t been benched yet), Priscilla and I haven’t felt this fully engaged in a while, and it feels great. Long days, working at night in the home office, but the satisfaction of not leaving any stones unturned. Like a thorough Spring cleaning, we’re sweating through the process but thrilled to see what we produce on the other side of it.
The fun doesn’t stop there. While in the eye of this hurricane we also revamped our marketing. We have radio spots on three different stations, cautioning buyers and sellers alike to be careful about what they sign. More recently, our first-ever TV ad hit the airwaves to send an encouraging message about the plight of our community in the midst of the crisis. With that crisis now waning, we’ll be relaunching the TV spots and producing a real estate commercial that needs to be seen so buyers and sellers alike can protect their interests. It’s going to be a great summer!
Along with the office restructuring, we’re still moving steadily along with the new office build in downtown Belton. For safety and security reasons, we built a wooden wall serving as a barrier at the front of the construction site. Never missing an opportunity to market the company, we worked with our ad agent to produce a wrap that covers the wall with our logos and messaging about the birth of this new business in the Historic District. I thought the project was complete until the crew stepped back out last week and installed the words “Gateway to Progress” over the construction door in the wall. It seemed fitting for not just the building, but everything else we’re working on and has set the tone for the rest of this year.
We found our joy in the midst of this crisis is hard work. Taking on tasks that seem mountainous until you’re on the summit and realize it wasn’t that bad. We hope you have found your joy as well, and can’t wait to run into you at the Vive Les Arts Theatre or a local restaurant, once this whole thing is behind us.
Pretty soon it will be, just hang in there.