“My RPM Story” – Michelle McKenna
By Michelle McKenna
I began my career in retail sales, designing and building custom frames for customers. My experiences, although in an entirely different industry, helped me find my passion for working with people and designing solutions to fit their needs — and ultimately led to my career in RPM.
I am so grateful for my tenure at Equity Residential. I got my start there after seeing the amazing passion and drive of a leasing consultant, Maria Lewis, who was touring me around the property where I ended up choosing my first apartment. Over 10 years ago, she painted a fascinating picture of a leasing consultant. She made me want to start a career with Equity and follow in her footsteps. It was a totally different career than I was in, but I had Maria to inspire me. She pushed me beyond my comfort zone to take a leap of faith and apply for a position.
Now I’m a community manager in Laguna Hills, Calif., after working my way up from leasing consultant to assistant manager, and then senior leasing consultant. I believe my ability and desire to connect with others helped make me successful. Initially, this spirit allowed me to help many individuals and families make difficult decisions about where to call home. As I progressed in my career, this same spirit helped me work in cohesive team environments, take on training opportunities, and become a mentor at Equity.
I always say, you never know what the RPM industry holds for you until you start working there and realize how many moving parts it has. To say this industry is vast is an understatement. From recruiting to talent development to investments to capital projects teams, green initiatives, sales, retention, management, legal, administration, maintenance, facilities management — the list could go on forever! For me, the difference between an RPM career versus other industries is that there are so many opportunities for every type of person.
I became an RPM Careers ambassador to share why I love my job, my company, the opportunities available, the learning opportunities, the tight-knit family I work with, and the challenges each day brings. I hope to inspire people who may be at a fork in their life, or just out of college, or unsure where they fit in professionally. I have learned life-long skills and want to share my experiences to help others find a career in an industry they may have otherwise not considered — where they can learn, grow, foster their strengths, and most of all, be themselves!
If you know someone who would make a great RPM Careers ambassador, email Sarah Levine.