Because people are at the core of Stream’s success, we’ve learned to identify the most talented individuals that contribute to our unique culture of service and leadership. As Stream continues to grow its business and people, we are taking this opportunity to spotlight our talented employees from all service lines, cities, and departments. These individuals are selected because they have had a significant impact on Stream, the commercial real estate industry and the local community.
For those that don’t already know her, we would like to shine a spotlight on:
Kim Morgan, Managing Director of Property Management at Stream Realty Partners in Atlanta, was recently named a 2020 Women of Influence by the GlobeSt.com in the category of Property/Facility Manager for Real Estate.
GlobeSt.com says, “Being recognized as a ‘Woman of Influence’ is a prestigious honor and a credit to your organization as well as the personal achievement and success of your employees.”
So, how did Kim get into property management and what makes her a woman of influence? And while we are at it, how is a woman of color using her diversity to challenge the industry norm? Liz Sheff, COO at Stream Realty Partners, stated it perfectly, “Kim has a great story to tell and continues to walk the path less traveled to carve a way for other female leaders at Stream. She is entrepreneurial, a go-getter and extremely hard-working. Those key attributes are a summary of who is successful at Stream.”
How long have you been in Property Management (PM) and how did you get into it?
I started my career in Property Management in 2001. I was previously a leasing administrator for three brokers at CBRE. I liked what I did, but I am passionate about establishing long-term relationships, and I was not getting that on the brokerage side with turning around short-term leases. I found an amazing mentor at CBRE, who was director of PM at the time, and she told me about her role and building relationships with tenants. I knew I would be good at that.
Where did you start in PM?
Since I had a bit of commercial real estate (CRE) experience on the brokerage side, I started as an Assistant Property Manager (APM). I had my first interview for a PM position on my 30th birthday. So, to those that are scared of career changes in their 30s, it was the best decision I ever made.
When you were in college, what did you study and did you know about PM?
No one my age knew about PM when we were in college. If you said PM, most would think about the people who worked in apartment complexes. It was not associated with CRE. I graduated with a degree in elementary education. While I love kids, parents are a different story and we weren’t trained on how to deal with them. I also did not like the bureaucracy of the educations system.
If you could describe yourself in five words, what would they be?
Assertive, social, smart, loyal and passionate. Should I keep going? (laughs)
What do you love most about your job and/or property management?
What I love about my field or industry is that no day is ever the same. Anyone in PM will tell you that. You get to meet a slew of different characters. This is also an amazing career for working moms. It is not rocket science, but you do have to have common sense. And I’ve learned in my leadership role that having sense is not common. (laughs)
What I love about my role now is that I get to mentor young people into this career and help them reach their career goals. Being able to help Stream get to that next level of where we are building and producing leaders is really exciting! And being a leader in this industry and person of color, I’m extremely proud to represent my community. If I can do it, anyone can do it—if they set their mind to it.
What is the hardest lesson you learned early on in your career?
Words matter. Be careful what you say because the words you choose make an impact.
Expand on that a bit. Did that ever get you into trouble?
This is a funny story now that I’m looking back on it. When I first entered into the industry, I was so eager to impress. I was put in charge of a project and we were trying to decide if we were going to do capital improvements. I wanted to be proactive and show that I could control the situation to my boss. I sent a letter to all tenants saying that capital improvements were being put on hold indefinitely. I thought it sound smart. Little did I know, indefinitely means never. I thought it meant temporarily put on hold. I never received my boss’ approval on this letter and well… the client was not happy when his tenants received notice that these much-needed capital improvements weren’t taking place. My intentions were good, but I almost got us fired by the client for saying the wrong thing. I picked the wrong word. I rarely use the word indefinitely to this day. (laughs) Many important learning lessons here, but most importantly, you have a boss for a reason. You can still be passionate and eager, but lean on them for their experience and proofing skills.
What is some career advice you give someone early on in their career?
Humble yourself and work hard.
What do you tell people that are eager to move up and take on more work?
Trust me, I understand where you are coming from. But it takes time. Give yourself a few cycles of doing the job well (not average) so that when you make the jump, you are 100 percent ready for it.
You talked earlier about a mentor – having one and being one. Can you expand on that?
In all industries and service lines, particularly in a function like PM, it’s really easy to get caught up in the mundane. A mentor will help guide you through that so you don’t get stuck. They can show you how long the path should take and the things you need to look in to, i.e. certifications, continuing education, organizational involvement, etc. A mentor will guide you on your journey and keep you on the right career path. They also help to make sure you are patient and demonstrate understanding and help you evolve and grow. No one can take away your education and the work you’ve done to make yourself better.
Let’s talk about the award. You were named a 2020 Woman of Influence. What an honor!
Honestly, I didn’t know much about it. A mentor of mine within the industry sent me a text message letting me know that she was putting my name in the hat. It means a great deal to just be considered—especially being new to Atlanta and a person of color. It is a great honor.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your professional career thus far?
Being the first black female director at Stream.
On the topic of race, what are you going to do to make sure that we continue diversifying not only the firm, but your field?
A lot of it has to do with exposure. Most minorities, such as Black, Latino, Asian, etc., are not exposed to this industry. They don’t even know this role could exist for them.
So how are you going to address this?
I’m working with Stream on an outreach program for inner city kids to come and shadow our office to expose them to the field and CRE as a whole. We are also reaching out to the historical black colleges of America to bring them in. We need to be loud to get a hold of these young minorities to show them what they can do in this big world.
Last question. You’ve been in PM at a few different companies. What makes Stream different?
It is a family environment. I’ve worked at companies smaller than this and small is not always synonymous with family. Stream is family. They take ownership of wanting to ensure their employees are happy. That means everything to me. I love the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. The founders, Mike and Lee, have a mindset of whatever makes the most sense is what goes versus what has always been done will be done. They are flexible and building something better. I take pride in a company that takes everyone’s opinions into account.