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Getting to Know Kimberly Box, CAM

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Kimberly as she was touring several properties in Beaumont, and we sat down to talk so I could know more about her. Hear about how she got into the property management industry with her humble beginnings and her role of overseeing financial and operational management of the properties and her "hands-on" approach.

Melody: Hi Kim! Thank you for your valuable time and sharing your career experience with us. I did notice your credentials followed after your name. What is "CAM"? 

Kim: You're more than welcome! It stands for "Certified Apartment Manager". It is a program offered by the Houston Apartment Association that enhances the skills of an apartment manager that is looking to build upon their current knowledge. The CAM curriculum consists of 8 modules and can be completed in 6 weeks to 12 months. You can visit the HAA website, and it will have more in-depth information about the program.

Melody: I will! And how did you become the Vice President of Operations at Ascension? 

Kim: Well, I have always worked in big companies, and I wanted to do something different and try working in a small firm. Jim Wood the Ascension President interviewed me in 2010, assigned me my first property, Tierra Del Sol, where I was the manager for about one year.

Melody: Oh wow, how was that experience? 

Kim: The community predominantly was Spanish-speaking and I rocked it! Then Jim Wood moved me to Princeton Club and Sheffield Square, I was in these communities for about 9 months before I moved to the properties I really wanted, Brillante and Lagua which consisted of 800 units and took up a whole city block. Here I used to joke that I was the major of my little area. When I took over these properties, they had a combined occupancy of 25%, but 2 years and a full rehab later the property sold at 93% and under a 1% delinquency rate. 

Melody: That's amazing!! I'm sure you did a little bit of marketing.

Kim: Oh, we did a lot of marketing, especially in-person marketing since this was before digital marketing was a thing. We went to lots of businesses, sent out flyers, directed mailed, hosted events, human directionals, anywhere we could go we were there. EVERY DAY, somebody went out to do in-person marketing for two hours. The key is to make sure each day you have marketing supplies ready for the next day and to execute the plan. 

Melody: Why do you love it? 

Kim: I'm happy here. Jim's fair and I like the people I work with. I Iike the aspect of meeting new people and I enjoy the people I meet along the way. I met Tanesha Stone, one of our Regional Supervisor on a patio 21 years ago at Green Tree Place Apartments. I met Teri Jacobs, our Ascension Staff Accountant at Falcon Ridge Apartments. I love the apartment industry. Working in the apartment industry has been a way that I provided for my family.

Melody: Right, the job market. It goes up and down, but it doesn't matter as much in the apartment industry. 

Kim: People always need a place to live and with that you need to have maintenance and people to run it. And that's where Ascension comes in. 

Melody: I'm sure it's a tough industry. Any advice for new people going into it? 

Kim: When you get into this industry, you just don't do one job. You do a variety of jobs. It's not just what's in your job description. Your job description doesn't really mean anything. You will be everybody. You will be maintenance if you have to. From leasing to whatever needs to be done. You have to be willing to do what it takes. You're a leader on your team. You're a teacher. You're a counselor. The residents come to you for all their problems, and you'll be there for them. 

Melody: I agree. People skills, empathy and having emotional intelligence are important. Thank you so much Kim for sitting with us and speaking about your career experience. I'm sure we learned a lot today and found something valuable to relate to.

Byline Melody Rodsuwan, Ascension Marketing Specialist

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