Yolanda Pawula, Property Manager, Fox Valley Villages

MHN interviews Yolanda Pawula, property manager of Fox Valley Villages.

MHN interviews Yolanda Pawula, property manager of Fox Valley Villages.

MHN: How did you get into the multifamily industry?

Pawula: After I left the hospitality industry, I had a dear friend who worked as a leasing consultant and told me how much she liked her job. One day, a position opened up at her company and I jumped at the opportunity. It was very similar to the hotel industry, just not as transient. I have been hooked ever since.

MHN: If you weren’t in multifamily, what would you be doing?

Pawula: Prior to being in this profession, I was in hospitality working for the Hotel Sofitel, which I enjoyed so I would have to say that I would still be in the customer service profession. I love the day-to-day challenges and the sheer enjoyment of meeting new people every day.

MHN: Who has been the biggest inspiration during your career?

Pawula: There have been two great inspirations in my career. My first inspiration would be the property manager I had when I started in the industry. She was an amazing woman who handled everything with the greatest of ease and was also very supportive of those under her. She helped me understand the business and learn how to accommodate even the most upset residents. I would not have gone back into the multifamily industry if she had not been in my life. The second is my current boss, an amazing lady with a lot of responsibility that she handles with ease. I aspire to be able to handle as much as she one day. It is difficult position to be in and I hold her in the highest of regard. Whenever I have a difficult situation that I cannot resolve on my own, she is available to lend a hand and help me in the right direction to solve the problem.

MHN: In terms of work, what keeps you up at night?

Pawula: I would have to say that worrying about any items that I did not accomplish during the workday. I always worry that I may not have resolved [issues] or called back residents who were awaiting for my response. This is my greatest worry in the evening hours. I would never want to have one of our residents upset and unhappy because I dropped the ball on something. Without the residents, we would not have such a satisfying job, so they are my top priority at all times.

MHN: What’s the best part of your workday?

Pawula: The best part of my workday is when I can make one of my residents happy. That is the first thing I tell my partner about when I get home. He is always amazed by how much one person can enjoy what they do so much.

MHN: What one story in your career stands out in your mind?

Pawula: I had lived on-site at one of our properties earlier in my career and had this wonderful elderly couple that lived directly below me. During my nightly walks throughout the community, I would often see the wife walking around, somewhat unaware of her surroundings. I would gently go up to her to escort her home. She had Alzheimer’s, and this was a weekly occurrence for her. She passed away after a few years, and when she did, her husband and children thanked me for taking care of their mom. The reason this story sticks out to me is because I truly felt as I had made a difference in someone’s life, and that would not have happened if I were not working in this industry.

MHN: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Pawula: This question is very hard to answer at this point. I love being a property manager right now and handling the day-to-day things that come up with the residents. Sometime in the future I may want to go into the regional manager part of the business. As for right now, I love having that one-on-one relationship with the residents and staff. There is nothing I love more than to either help someone find a new home or solve an issue that arises with a current resident. I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else right now.

MHN: What advice would you give another that you wish someone would had said to you?

Pawula: Not to stress the small stuff. There are always going to be hard days and there are always going to be some situations where you cannot make everyone happy, but don’t let that affect how you feel about the industry. I made that mistake once and left the industry for several years before I realized that I just can’t see myself doing anything else. The reward is worth the trials and tribulations of the business.