Cristina Caruso Career Background
What is your biggest career achievement?
- St. Jude Thaddeus is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes. His name serves as the inspiration for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Aside from St. Jude being Greystar's philanthropy, finding the cure for childhood cancer is a personal goal. To date, I’m most proud of my involvement in helping children live, scientists learn and St. Jude further its mission of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
As the Community Manager at 319 Bragg, my team and I hosted a carnival on-site that included: A popcorn machine, a cotton candy machine, an inflatable slip-n-slide and snow cones. All items were available, with a donation. Our community at Bragg is predominantly sorority girls. We partnered with the sisters of Tri-Delta, who are also partners with St. Jude, to create an event that would assist in treating and defeating childhood cancer. “Carnival for a Cure” as we coined it, would go on to raise over $1000 in a matter of hours! Hosting this event at 319 Bragg gave the Auburn community a glimpse of how Greystar and its team members conduct themselves. One of our core values at Greystar is service; and making it our top priority by giving our time, knowledge, and experience to serve the needs of our customers, community, and team members. I was inspired to find a connection between my day-to-day operations and our residents. Student Living focuses on enriching the lives of our residents in the most fundamental years of their lives. We had multiple residents let us know the effect St. Jude and Childhood Cancer had on their own lives - some of them being survivors themselves.
The apartment industry builds communities. I feel we’re also responsible for growing our surrounding communities along with our business. Knowing that Greystar is dedicated towards acts of service, I was motivated to spearhead an initiative that would foster a positive workplace culture and build strong relationships with our local community.
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — so they can focus on helping their child live. Benefits such as ours at 319 Bragg are how we are making a difference in the lives of St. Jude families. Blessed was I to be able to be a small part of St. Jude’s mission - Find Cures & Save Children.
Check out highlights from Carnival for a Cure: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTkMqmSHGpp/
Join Greystar™ in supporting St. Jude: https://tinyurl.com/y8patw3y
What is your ultimate career goal within the rental housing industry?
- You’ll often hear within the Student Housing sector - “I never thought a part-time job in college would become my career.” For 5 years, I have been so lucky to have been surrounded by managers and leaders who have been generous with their knowledge. Forging my path in any avenue in-between Operations and Senior Management is my career goal.
With Greystar, I have been able to continue to grow and improve myself both personally and professionally. I graduate this May, from Florida International University, with my Master’s in Business with a specialization in Real Estate. Following, I will be pursuing a Master’s in Legal Studies from Florida State University, my alma mater. My educational ventures will aid me in making my career goal attainable.
My current position has also allowed me to broaden my exposure to senior management and my discovery into operational objectives. Operations and management are the foundation of the real estate industry. I want to be in a position that will set the pace for this industry. I look forward to the future success of the industry!
What's one rental housing trend you have your eye on?
- The industry is required to embrace a culture of constant change and innovation. Something that will change the rental housing industry is gender-inclusive housing (GIH). Gender-inclusive housing allows for individuals to live together regardless of biological sex. Inclusivity is especially important to Millennials and Generation Z who have accelerated the movement to make everything we write, say and do more inclusive. The catalyst for change begins with the rental industry and its leaders.
In the student line of the industry, our responsibility is to elevate the college experience. We’re also committed to creating a safe and inclusive space. Housing is fundamental and can be a stressor to an incoming student. The time students spend in their living space is exponentially larger than that of the classroom. Homes provide security, control, belonging, identity, and privacy etc. Per Campus Pride, since January 2022, over 400+ universities offer gender-inclusive housing. Greystar, too, has pivoted and embraced this movement within our communities. With this offering, we allow students control over their living situation and help ensure that their needs are met. This initiative is also critical to keeping LGBTQIA+ students safe on campus. GIH is supporting fostering an environment that acknowledges the diverse needs of our residents.
There’s No Place Like Home! The rental industry is consistently looking for ways to accommodate emerging markets. The progression of GIH is changing the rental housing industry. Organizations want to create spaces where any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. The trend in producing rich residential experiences is how the rental housing industry is utilizing GIH. Through our business, we have to be aware of the impact of our decisions. Choosing inclusivity will not only impact our bottom line but improve society as a whole.