There are people I get to meet in this industry of ours that have such an impact; they shape how I look at things or make decisions. The opportunity to meet such people make up the the little surprises that make me feel so grateful for what I get to do for a living.

One such person is Danette Kammeyer, a community manager in Indiana. I connected with her at NAA Apartmentalize a few years ago, and she has been kind enough to send me some of her writings during that time. As many in her position know, managing a senior apartment building in small town, mid-America is hardly glamorous. Benefits and pay can be modest, and the only travel can seem to be to the nursing home or funeral home. The work can be overwhelming, with a variety of challenges. However, Danette and so many community managers across the nation see their work as a blessing and a gift and wouldn't want it any other way. With her permission, I've published her past work on the ManagInc blog page, but when she sent this to me recently, I asked if I could publish it for a larger audience, and I'm so happy she said yes. 

This is what is so beautiful about the multifamily housing industry. It's the people like Danette who make our world a better place and teach others (like me) what "Good" looks like. 

 

One of “those days”

It had been one of “those days.” You know them. You’ve had them. When the residents are cranky for no good reason and every smile you try to deliver is sent back marked with a “return to sender!” When the building you work so hard to maintain is cranky and toilets start overflowing and lights burn out right before your eyes! When a phone call comes in and you answer it with a big smile and happy attitude only to hear the distinct sound of a marketer's call! Yep, it had been one of those days. Reports were due. Files needed attention and even my desk was dusty! UGH! Just one of “those days.”

Until the littlest thing changed it all. It’s amazing how one of “those days” can be turned around with the sweetest unexpected gift. You see, I had hung a wreath on my door with the words, “Welcome Home” in the middle. When I made it, my thought was, “I hope everyone that walks into Terrace Ridge Apartments feels at home here.” Now, I know that’s a stretch, but I dream BIG!  (Wink,wink) I mean, I am a property manager and some days it’s not a walk in the park. Unless, you’re talkin’ a dog park that hasn’t’ been cleaned up!!

Anyway, back to the wreath. It’s been hanging there for a few weeks now. And I’ve gotten a few compliments that have been very kind. It’s proven to be a good addition to the décor. But yesterday, it became a sweet gift right back to me.

About two months ago I had a resident leave for the nursing home. At the time she left, her family wasn’t sure she’d make it back. Thankfully, she worked hard and was able to come home! Back home to Terrace Ridge Apartments. Her daughter, Robin, came to me and said, ‘I want you to know that when we rolled mom into the lobby area here, she looked up at your door and said,’ “Isn’t that nice, Danette made a 'welcome home' sign for me!” Robin said, ‘I started giggling and told her that you probably didn’t make the sign just for her, but for everyone that walked in the building.’ And her mom’s response was, “oh, but it’s still so nice to see.”

It is a simple wreath with the words, “welcome home” in the middle that helped remind me why I do what I do, and more importantly, why I love what I get to do. Serving here at Terrace Ridge comes with “those days.” But it also comes with deep friendship, joy, laughter, compassion and love. And it’s “those days” that I need to remember and cherish!

I explained to Robin through misty eyes, that it was indeed meant just for her mom. That I wanted everyone to feel welcomed when they walked through the doors of Terrace, her mom included. Her response was, “well, she did and so do others, myself included.” Her comment became the sweetest little gift that landed in a tender spot in my heart because it had been one of “those days.”

Danette Kammeyer

Community Manager