Her title might bring to mind images of a theater company or a Broadway musical, but Sara Jo Light, United Dominion Realty Trust's new executive vice president and director of talent management, is all about real estate. Light comes to UDRT from The Taubman Co., where she was senior vice president of human resources.
Q: What appealed to you about this job?
A: Joining a company in an important place in its growth curve and the opportunity to make a difference.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
A: Help the company and its associates work together for their mutual benefit. We are focused on leadership excellence and providing a work environment that enables associates to truly be engaged in their work.
Q: What do you enjoy about working in the multifamily industry?
A:Since I've only been on the multifamily side of the business for a few months, I'm more comfortable discussing real estate in general, which in my experience is a fast-paced and competitive industry. Senior leaders know their customers and their competitors very well, which keeps everyone focused on product quality and the bottom line. As institutional investors are becoming increasingly interested in this sector, it places more pressure on quarterly earnings performance, and continuing to make the best long-term decisions for everyone requires a delicate balance. This increased focus on product quality, the bottom line, and quarterly earnings requires strong leadership and exceptional employee performance–which makes talent management a top priority.
Q: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you about your career?
A: "Do what you love; love what you do. If not, change something." I've never "planned" my career moves, but I've always focused on what gives me an opportunity to excel and gone after those chances.
Q: How would you describe this industry in terms of career opportunities?A: Exciting! The people I've had the opportunity to meet in this industry take great pride in what they do. Whether it's taking a blank piece of land and turning it into a lovely community, helping a family find a rental home that meets all their needs, keeping the grounds beautifully groomed, or managing a large portfolio while keeping abreast of economic changes–we provide interesting careers for people with all sorts of diverse interests.