Rebecca Guenther is both completely attentive and a blur of positive energy all in one conversation. The senior vice president at Beztak Properties is intent on fulfilling her organization’s goal of reaching fifty thousand units under management in the next thirty-six months.
Over the course of the last sixty days of 2021 alone, Guenther has brought three thousand new units to the organization that she says will hopefully help answer the demand that was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our clients saw our fluid and proactive approach to meet evolving service preferences during the pandemic,” Guenther says. “It made us successful despite a challenging time and caught the attention of conventional and institutional owners nationwide.”
Beztak, a vertically integrated real estate firm, serves as a leading provider of development, construction, investment, and property management services. While the pandemic certainly altered the outlook for Beztak’s third-party management expansion, albeit temporarily, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“The adoption of remote work has changed the supply and demand balance in some markets across the nation and many clients are seeking deals where renters are choosing to lay roots,” Beztak explains. “Fortunately, we’ve had a long-standing practice to utilize the best technologies and innovation, meaning that we’re equipped to operate adeptly in any market or location.”
Navigating the challenges of the pandemic required Guenther and her entire team to value transparency and communication above all else. The SVP, who has always prioritized being available for late client calls, says her comfort with bypassing the formalities of a scheduled meeting made her more adept at taking on the challenges of 2020 and 2021.
“A client doesn’t normally call just to chat. So, if they’re calling, I want to make sure that they can speak to me,” Guenther says. “I think that type of accessibility and transparency instills confidence with our clients. Even if it means delivering tough news, I know that when I’m honest and open as well as working to provide solutions, our clients appreciate it.”
She adds that her own leadership is deeply connected to the core values that Beztak works to instill in all its people: excellent, ethical, and effective operations.
Development Wherever It May Lead
Beztak’s fully integrated operations isn’t just a benefit to its clients. Guenther says it allows for employees to grow and develop into new and expanding areas. This journey begins with Beztak’s Manager-In-Training program.
“New employees coming into the program may not be familiar with real estate or multifamily properties, but what I think is valuable about the program is that it provides on-the-job training where they learn each facet of the business over a six-month timeframe,” Guenther explains. “They get exposure to so many parts of the business and leave excited about taking on a property management role. We’ve also had people emerge with more interest in accounting or marketing.”
She adds that the program has allowed Beztak to develop a strong bench of resources as the company continues to grow. And as those leaders accumulate more experience, they may choose to enter Beztak’s executive level leadership program.
Recently, Beztak rolled out its quarterly President’s Club training, a daylong event where Beztak’s top associates in a variety of settings come together by invitation to dig into high-level challenges that they might face in their next roles.
“One of the exercises we conducted was roleplaying where they had to work through a multifaceted challenge, including presentation of the problem and proposed solution with ownership,” Guenther explains. “We take the time to pick apart each scenario, and the feedback we’ve gotten on the training has been so positive.”
She says that especially at present, the hunt for talent is extremely challenging, and it only makes sense to continue investing internally in associates who want to grow and develop toward the next level in their careers.
Finding Yes People
When it comes both to identifying internal talent and bringing in new hires, Guenther recalls a conversation she had with two of her VPs after a recent interview. “We all agreed that [the candidate] was a ‘yes person,’” the SVP remembers.
It dates back to advice that current Beztak COO Elizabeth McCririe gave Guenther much earlier in both of their careers at a former employer. “She told me that no matter what was asked of me, to say yes,” Guenther explains. “Even if you have to step out of your comfort zone or you end up disliking it, say yes because you’re going to gain experience that will be valuable.”
Guenther says it’s the attitude she looks for in her team, in hiring, and more generally, in the kinds of people she surrounds herself with.
And while the SVP’s role doesn’t allow her to walk the units of Beztak’s nationwide business as much as the old days, she says it’s still something she looks forward to. It gives Guenther a chance to walk side-by-side both with clients and internal colleagues she’s helping develop.
Over the next sixty days, it’s doubtful she’ll walk all three thousand new units, but you get the feeling she’d like to.