Climbing the Career Ladder From Leasing Agent to VP
Over the next few months, in our Profiles in Success series, NAA will talk to successful apartment professionals to learn how they got where they are, who inspired them and what their biggest challenge was. This month’s success story originates from deep in the heart of Texas.
Name: Sherry Jordan
Title: Vice Presidents, Operations
Years in the Industry: 38 years
What was your first apartment job: Part-time leasing consultant while in high school
Describe your job now.
Every day is surprise! That is what I love about this business. I have a great team of individuals who I work with and they make my job fun and enjoyable. The ultimate responsibility of our job is to achieve the owner’s goals and objectives and manage the assets for profitability. If there is a challenge, we find a solution and fix it. We help each other since we are better together than working alone.
Who was your greatest influence in the industry (how did they influence you)?
Kathy Whitman, former EVP for LumaCorp, helped me to grow by leading by example. She had a way of teaching while making you feelthat you discovered the answers on your own. She could discipline someone with a smile and that person learned what they did wrong and how to move forward with new knowledge. That person would then leave the meeting with a smile on their face and had the determination to improve.
What was your biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?
Having a fire at a community always brings difficult times. Based on my experience, I am able to help lead and rally my team to assist our residents. I bring a calm presence to the situation and help the staff place our residents. Most of my teams have never experienced recovery from a fire. It is traumatic. I had a leasing associate who was new to the business and had only been with us for a month. After the fire, she was like a deer in the headlights. By the end of the day. she was amazed at how smoothly everything went and how much help we were able to provide the residents. Afterward, I told her, “Welcome to property management!”
What is your ultimate professional goal in the apartment industry?
I wanted to become President of my local association [The Apartment Association of Tarrant County] and achieved that goal. My year as President ends soon. While serving, I have enjoyed getting to know apartment professionals on a local, state and national level.
What has the apartment industry given you, personally and professionally?
Professionally, it has provided a fantastic career that I have loved since the day I started. I enjoy helping people find a home, leading my teams while watching them grow and solving problems. I also enjoy networking and meeting new people.
Personally, I have made so many wonderful friends. I have known some of them for more than 30 years. Being part of this industry has provided for my family in so many ways. I am very grateful!
What’s your favorite apartment industry story?
This a favorite story for me because out of tragedy comes so much love and generosity. Back in the 90s, I managed a property that was in a Zip code where incomes were below the poverty level. We had a fire at our community two days before Christmas that was one of the worst I’ve seen. Our residents lost everything. I had a friend who was a traffic reporter for a local radio station and he put the word out about the fire while he was on the air. You would not believe the line of cars coming to the property to drop off items or provide cash in support of our residents. We had so many donations and an outpouring of support from the community, that the kids had the best Christmas despite the unfortunate situation. One little girl came up to me and said, “Miss Sherry, I had the BEST Christmas! My living room floor was covered in toys. I have never received so many presents before.” It just warmed my heart that these children had a wonderful and memorable holiday and a smile on their faces after they had just lost everything. The parents were amazed at how generous the community was when it came to helping them get through their difficult circumstances. They thought there wouldn’t even be a Christmas for they and their children to celebrate.
What’s one thing you or your company does that sets you apart?
What sets our company apart is its culture and its reputation. We have a “family” atmosphere, which is demonstrated by the large number of tenured employees. I work for some amazing men who “do the right thing” every day. They take care of their employees and their vendor partners.
Success is best when shared. How do you or your company find ways to give back?
We started “LumaCares,” a program that encourages our teams to give back to their specific communities. They hold coat drives, canned food drives and toy drives. Our employees help the Ronald McDonald House, local missions, homeless shelters and a special needs home by providing a Christmas dinner and presents.
What volunteer roles do you currently hold?
I participate in the local apartment association community service projects. I have volunteered at the Union Gospel mission. For several years, volunteering with The Senior Source program, I visited a senior with dementia. My task was to make sure she was cared for, had the proper clothing, was not being abused and was fed well fed.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, participating in girls game night, having fun with anything that takes place close to the water, and during the fall, watching my Dallas Cowboys! Wine tasting events are another fun pastime.
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be a news reporter.
What do you want to be doing five years from now?
Exactly what I am doing right now!
What’s your favorite quote?
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude about it.”
What’s your favorite song/musician?
Taylor Swift tops my list.