MHN interviews Melissa Prandi, MPM, president and CEO of Prandi Property Management, which is located in San Rafael, Calif.
MHN: How did you get into the multifamily industry?
Prandi: I started March 27, 1982, as a receptionist with no [idea that] I would purchase the company from the owners five years later. We have a mix of single-family homes, small residential and apartments.
MHN: If you weren’t in multifamily, what would you be doing?
Prandi: I can’t imagine doing anything else, but I have also done a ton of speaking and teaching so guess I am doing what I love.
MHN: Who has been the biggest inspiration during your career?
Prandi: My dad taught me about inspiration. He started as a rookie police officer in 1959, went on to be a Juvenile officer and became a Sergeant, and then he announced he was running for the elected Sheriff’s Position against his boss. He paid the price during the election but never gave up. He was elected Sheriff of Marin County and served four terms, four years each and no one ever ran against him. He retired on top and was a big believer in giving back. This is something I live by—work hard, play harder and always give back to your community. If not money, give time or both.
MHN: In terms of work, what keeps you up at night?
Prandi: Hot flashes! Seriously, the fact there is so much to do. Sleeping is over-rated. I love doing things when they pop in my head, so I work a lot in the middle of the night. I am not a worrier or one who stresses about things. I think I am up at night because I am doing things, writing, reading, sharing, preparing for my next workshop, speaking, etc.
MHN: What’s the best part of your workday?
Prandi: Best part is speaking in a room filled with people who want to learn more about my career I still love after 30 years. So walking in the room, meeting new people, speaking, teaching and learning from the audience.
MHN: What one story in your career stands out in your mind?
Prandi: Ah, there are so many! Maybe the eviction where the guy decided we wouldn’t evict him if he were naked, or the employee I fired that said she would leave and she would be coming back every day until I changed my mind—I changed the locks. As you know, in the property management business, there is something new or different sometimes daily but definitely weekly. The stories/excuses still come in about why they can’t pay their rent on time.
MHN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? 10 years?
Prandi: In five years, my son will be the president of Prandi Property Management as we have a succession plan for him to buy in the corporation over a five-year period. He already wants my private office. In 10 years, still in the property management business, not running two companies, but still speaking and teaching others, sharing stories and best practices. A few new e-books will have been written. The Prandi Place, my new company where property managers come for education, motivation and inspiration, will be doing great. Who knows where technology will be in 10 years. I will continue to be in a great relationship and enjoying time with family and friends and traveling to at least one new destination per year.
MHN: What advice would you give another that you wish someone would had said to you?
Prandi: I wish I would have trusted my instincts, listened to my friends and my dad and got out of a “sociopathic and abusive” relationship earlier. I surrounded myself with wise old souls and plenty of mentors so advice comes often and in many forms. Hire people smarter than you and empower them to do their jobs. Learn from others—remember, we never stop learning. Listen—everyone has a story and with every story is a lesson learned…