Shawn Handrahan Helps Change Real Estate for the Better

As president and CEO of Valet Living, Shawn Handrahan is deeply committed to advancing the careers of women in the multifamily housing industry

Shawn Handrahan, Valet LivingPhoto: Courtesy of Valet Living

For ten years, Shawn Handrahan supported the multifamily industry on the operations side as the leader of HD Supply’s multifamily division, seeing firsthand how the rental landscape was evolving in a period of unprecedented growth, and how the wants and desires of the renter were changing as well.

Today, he serves as president and CEO of Valet Living, a nationally recognized full-service amenities provider to the multifamily housing industry. He started with the company in 2012, back when it was called Valet Waste.

“As I was considering the position, I quickly realized this wasn’t a waste company at all,” he recalls. “Rather, it was an amenity service company that was creating exceptional living experiences for residents and driving net operating income for its communities.”

Using his decade’s worth of knowledge from his previous job, Handrahan helped to bring in new technologies, new services, and top-level talent. He also created an opportunity for Valet Living to become the premier services provider to the multifamily industry that it is today.

“I’ve always tapped into diverse talent to maximize informed decision-making from all walks of life. It just makes sense,” he shares. “I have been lucky to be surrounded by exceptional female leaders and talent throughout my entire career, and it has made me a better leader by learning from different perspectives on how to drive an organization to greater heights.”

He notes he’s had the privilege to work under former HD Supply CEO, Anesa Chaibi, who taught him a great deal and informed the leader he became.

“Her strength, focus, attention to detail, empathy, and compassion for our associates is something I try to emulate to this day,” he explains. “I also have two incredible women on my executive team, Chief Marketing Officer Patti Girardi and General Counsel Isorys Dilone. They continue to inspire me with their leadership, and both set a high standard for our company that we all aspire to emulate. They are both role models for me on a personal level as well.”

“I’ve always tapped into diverse talent to maximize informed decision-making from all walks of life. It just makes sense.”

Even at home, he’s influenced by his wife and two daughters. “They continuously amaze me with their strength, knowledge, empathy, and compassion,” Handrahan shares.

Those relationships were a big driver behind Women Empowered, a Valet Living program that helps women at Valet Living better support other women through a variety of different activities and events.

“I’m incredibly proud of the program as a whole, but I’m probably most proud of how widely women utilize it at Valet Living,” Handrahan says. “It’s easy to say that your company supports women, but we really wanted this to be an effective way for women to support each other. The engagement that we’ve seen with the program is a significant measure of success for us.”

For example, the initiative provides webinars that encourage personal and professional growth, including the popular “Connecting Competence with Confidence: Building your Strategy for Success,” keynoted by Grace Killelea, best-selling author of The Confidence Effect.

“We livestream events from our own female leaders, such as Patti Girardi speaking at the SharpHeels Career & Leadership Summit, which provided excellent advice and tips on successful career planning,” Handrahan notes. “We also bring in female leaders from around the country for lunch and learns that we stream through watch parties held at different locations and record for the future.”

One of Handrahan’s favorite aspects of the program is the Women Empowered Challenge, where associates create a video message geared to women in the company that answers the broader question, “How do you set the standard at Valet Living?” Then they post their answer on the internal Women Empowered page and encourage other associates to do the same.

“Gender and racial diversity increase innovation and ensure a better output at any company.”

For the past decade, Valet Living has partnered with Camden Property Trust executive Laurie Baker, whose relentless commitment to advancing the careers of women within the respective organizations as well as across the multifamily housing industry is one of industry legend.

“Women are rising to key leadership positions within the industry, and Laurie Baker is a shining example,” Handrahan says. “We admire Laurie as an executive who always brings a unique and necessary perspective to the table and one who is a true servant leader.”

Handrahan believes having women at all levels of the company adds value—no matter the industry.

“Gender and racial diversity increase innovation and ensure a better output at any company,” he says. “At Valet Living, female leaders at every level of the business are continually driving the business forward, whether that’s coming up with ideas of how to make our processes more efficient, building relationships with clients, or mapping out new lines of business. The company is at its best with empowered women in it.”