Kayla Grayson Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- My biggest career achievement would have to be earning my current role as Senior Community Director. I experienced adversity throughout my childhood growing up through the foster care system but have always had a unique drive to be successful in life, despite the odds. While attending college I accepted a part time leasing position and little did I know I was starting my promising career in the Multi-Family industry. I have always had a natural connection with potential renters searching for an important purchase in their life, their next home. Given my background I think this provides me the extra compassion and understanding to help others find their next home too. I was leasing for about four years, when I accepted a position as Assistant Manager with my current company, and I was ecstatic for the potential I saw with this new journey. In just the short five-year span I have been with my company I have had two notable promotions and countless achievements. The first included my promotion to Community Director of The LINQ Lofts + Flats to oversee the opening and lease up of this new community in 2017. This was my first project as a Property Manager, and first lease up project as well. I was responsible to work directly with our development and construction teams to open the community and lead a successful lease up. We leased up in just under 11 months, built a thriving community, and went on to win several elite industry awards. I knew this project was going to set the tone for my career, and I wasn’t going to let this pass me by.
My responsibilities continued to grow from there, as I then helped open the Seaplane Commercial Building in Downtown Kenmore delivering a new sit-down restaurant to the town square and Lake Washington Physical Therapy Clinic as well. In early 2019 I accepted a new position of Senior Community Director and added The Spencer 68 community, an additional 222 units. In my Senior position, I now oversee the entire downtown square, spanning four different sites, totaling 343 units and 33,000 sq/ft of commercial space. I am an active member of NAAEI as well as the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association and attend many industry networking events. I currently lead a team of 9 individuals across my sites which is my true passion and favorite part of my job. I am proud to say that last year my leasing team member, Amanda Lockleer, went on to win the 2019 WMFHA Emerald Award for Leasing Consultant of the Year 1-150, and my other leasing agent, Jazzmine Eisen, is a top 5 finalist for the WMFHA 2020 Emerald for Leasing Consultant of The Year, and we will be finding out the results at the award show in March. I am ultimately only as successful as my team. Watching them grow and achieve their goals is all I could hope for, and something I consider to be a huge career achievement of mine as well. I am so happy with where I am at in life, being so young at a Senior level position I know things are just getting started and I am so excited for the future!
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- My passion above all is teaching others and watching their success and career growth. I love to inspire others and genuinely get giddy with excitement when I discuss new ideas or potential growth opportunities with my team members! My ultimate career goal in the rental housing industry is to either hold an executive position within a company or start my own business with a focus on world class customer service and employee performance and growth. I think this is vital within a company to have someone with the ability to lead, motivate, and strengthen individuals and company growth. I would want to develop my own program based on the experience and insight I have gained in the industry with a focus on customer service and being a brand ambassador. I would be able to provide insight on what it takes to be successful with a focus on award winning sales and leasing strategies with a thriving team. I would love to be able to lead team workshops and training courses and work directly onsite with properties struggling or under-performing as well. I would be able to implement my program and customize it to any company or property and create a tangible way to measure success based on the goals of my clients. When we hone in on our goals and areas of improvement with real ways to track performance, that’s when we really start to see success and I want to be a part of this!
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- Sustainably breaking the digital barrier within the rental housing industry is the key to tomorrow’s tour. How can we tap into the technology that is available and evolving to enhance the customer experience, while preserving that personalized customer experience and touch? In today’s world our consumers want all purchase decisions to be on demand at their convenience. Our customers do not want to make time for a tour within their crazy schedules, they want it to be available when suitable for them. Self-guided tours are emerging through the industry and starting to become a resourceful benefit for residents and developers. With the increasing number of units added each year, developers also face a challenge of leasing a community up as fast as possible within the constraints of business hours and payroll. Self-guided tours seem to be the intersection point and solution to both parties. Of course, there are several barriers to work through with self-guided tours, but the concept has the potential to change the rental housing industry. That is however, with just one caveat. While self-guided tours provide a convenience to your prospects in many ways, this is at the cost of losing the human touch of the sale and connection to your client, that set you apart from the competition and build that forever connection.
There are however tools that we can utilize to enhance this customer experience, and that’s with the help of Augmented Reality. With the ability to utilize augmented reality, this not only would assist the leasing agent during a tour but would also assist the prospective residents while on a self-guided tour. We currently utilize 3-D tours and 360-degree cameras to shoot different amenity spaces and available homes, but we have the potential to do much more. We could ultimately have prospects somewhat “up-load” their furniture to our device on the tour so while touring different floor plans they can see real time their personal furniture in the space. This is creating the value and helping the prospect visualize themselves in the home that they are touring. We could even take it a step further and add their pets or personal belongings to the AR tour for that real “homey” touch! Additionally, on the tour of the community, there could be anchor points serving as a guide where we are able to have the prospective tenant essentially “play” a story at each step of the tour. People love personal stories and making connections, and this is key! For example, we could have QR codes through the tour that tell the story. At the craft room amenity space you might scan and see the latest project happening, the dog wash station you might see Sarah washing her pooch Bruno, or the Community room you might watch the last resident event in action, a fun paint and sip night! The possibilities are endless, and this is a technology that could change the industry forever.