What do you want to be when you grow up?

Mainstreet-Equity

I grew up wanting to be many things; a police officer, lawyer, sports therapist, but never once did I say I want to be a “landlord”. I fell into this career. After studying Criminal Justice, I called my dad and said “I’m not sure what I was thinking; I don’t want to be a cop.” My dad quickly stated, “I could have told you that”. Fast forward and a move to Calgary, still wondering “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Having grown up in small town Saskatchewan, population around 4,000 at the time, then moving to Medicine Hat at 16 which was devastating, life changing – 40,000 people in one place; I won’t know everyone, what will I do? Five years later I am off to the metropolis of Calgary, one million people, still a bit naïve and not sure what I was going to do “when I grow up” thinking where do I start in this big, unknown city. The truth is, I was still a small town kid…but I had big dreams.

I started with Mainstreet Equity Corp. in a temporary position in 2003, helping out at Trevella Park Townhomes; 218 townhomes in Forest Lawn. This was great, however I faced a very big obstacle; What was property management? I had no idea at this point what my duties were at this large site and to be honest, training on what to do was non-existent. I was met with the keys and a good luck and I watched the Manager at that time drive away. I sat down in the office, called my sister, who offered my temporary services to Mainstreet, and asked; “Shaudia, what am I supposed to do here?” I am sure she wanted to help but the reality was that she had no idea as she worked in the head office, directly for the president of the company, so she had no experience on the sites. I hung up the phone and thought, Ok Sheena, sink or swim, the choice is yours! I am by no means a ‘sinker’; I have never been a ‘sinker’ so that day was not about to change anything. Little by little I figured out what I was doing. Property Management wasn’t so bad after all and I had some great mentors along the way.

After 12+ years in this business I have learned many things. I have worked in nearly every position (except accounting, which is not my forte) and on my journey from a temp manager/cleaner to the VP, Operations I want to share some advice/quotations that have pushed me along the way

  • Be Humble; don’t forget your beginnings
  • WACTEO – We Are Customers To Each Other (treat everyone the same, fairly and with respect)
  • “It is supposed to be hard; if it was easy everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great”
  • Don’t give up, even if you miss the first time; keep pushing
  • In your journey to success accept blame and spread the credit to your team
  • If you want to be heard, you have to learn to listen first
  • You won’t always make the right decisions. Figure out what went wrong and change it or learn from it
  • Leadership can’t be taught
  • If you are willing to be a leader, then you must be willing to feel alone; leadership comes with tough decisions and you won’t always be popular
  • Be decisive & forthcoming
  • Be confident & never stop learning
  • Don’t take things personally
  • As a leader, you are only as good as your team. Doesn’t matter how good you are, you can’t do everything alone
  • Opportunity looks a lot like hard work
  • Build a life, don’t just live one, build one

 

Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.

Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.

About the Author
Sheena Keslick

Sheena leads the operations teams overseeing Mainstreet's property portfolios across Canada. As part of Mainstreet's senior management team, she is also responsible for setting policy, developing operational systems and team building.

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