From Activities Coordinator to Regional Manager
In our seventh installment of Profiles in Success, a series where NAA talks to successful apartment professionals to learn how they got to where they are, who inspired them and what their biggest challenge was, we visit with a Regional Director from Central Virginia.
Name: Renee Pulliam
Company: Matrix Residential
Title: Regional Director
Years in the Industry: 20
What was your first apartment job: As a Social Director, I planned resident activities and leased apartments at a new construction community in Glen Allen, Va.
Describe your job now
I oversee a portfolio of approximately 1,200 units in Central Virginia. I wear several hats, but my primary responsibilities include leading my team to maximize my owners’ investments. My portfolio includes stabilized assets and three new construction lease-ups. I lead 25 associates and focus on providing them with opportunities for growth. I also build our Matrix culture.
Who was your greatest influence in the industry (how did they influence you)?
Gloria Jacobs was an instrumental mentor for me through my involvement in my local apartment association. She taught me how to lead by example and to think globally for future growth. I also learned to never take “no” for an answer from Gloria!
What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was serving as 2014 Virginia Apartment Management Association (VAMA) President and leading the association through a merger of seven local affiliates into one state association. There were several dynamics involved in this process, and strong communication was a key factor in our success. Several board members, association staff and myself embarked on a “traveling road show” to visit local affiliates throughout the state. For several months, we spent countless hours in meetings and on conference calls. Ultimately, VAMA had a successful merger and is a stronger association as a result.
What is your goal in the apartment industry?
Regardless of my “day job,” my goal is to be a mentor for others in the industry. I thrive on helping others to meet their professional goals.
What has the apartment industry given you, personally and professionally?
This industry has given me the opportunity to impact the lives of countless people. I have had the opportunity to build a strong network throughout the country with my association involvement at the state and national level.
What’s your favorite apartment industry story?
I have several, but one of the most memorable was meeting Michael J. Fox at the NAA Education Conference (now known as Apartmentalize). My NAAPAC Ambassador team won a contest by raising more than $20,000 for the NAAPAC and our prize was meeting Michael J. Fox. It was pretty cool, especially because I had a childhood crush on Alex P. Keaton.
What’s one thing you or your company does that sets you apart?
Our company culture is second to none. We place an intentional focus every single day on creating exceptional experiences for those who live with us, work with us and invest with us.
Success is best when shared. How do you or your company find ways to give back?
Matrix raises thousands of dollars each year for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the American Heart Association and countless local charities in our various markets. Additionally, several of our associates volunteer for apartment associations in our various markets. I teach classes two to three times each month through VAMA, including the CAM Financial Module, Everyday Financial Management and Fair Housing. I also serve on several state and national committees.
What volunteer roles do you currently hold?
VAMA Board of Directors, Chair of the VAMA Legislative Committee, NAA MarComm Committee, NAA Lease Advisory Committee, NAA G.I.V.E.S. Committee.
How has your experience as a volunteer helped in your career?
In addition to networking opportunities, my volunteer experience has enabled me to learn so much about our industry. I have a passion for legislative issues, and I have learned so much about how they affect our business. I was also honored to participate in the NAA Lyceum program, which provided additional knowledge about our industry and the structure of NAA.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I spend most of my free time as a soccer mom to my two children who are both elite-level travel soccer players.
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be an attorney. Now, I am able to fulfill that dream through my service on the VAMA Legislative Committee and by teaching Fair Housing certification courses throughout Virginia.
What do you want to be doing five years from now?
I want to move up the corporate ladder within Matrix and continue to expand our management footprint in Virginia. I also want to become an NAA Region I RVP.
If you could talk to yourself 10/15/20 years ago, what would you say?
Realize that you may have some unpleasant experiences along the way, but use each as opportunities for growth and learning.
What’s your favorite quote?
Keep it Movin’!!!
What’s your favorite song/musician?
I have several, but the first that comes to mind is Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer!”
What’s the biggest difference you see between our industry today and when you started?
Technology for sure! I sure don’t miss the Rent Roll days (but I can somehow still remember the names of those reports!).