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Aug. 03, 2021

BBC’s Denise Pons Recognized by NAA for RPM Careers Week Challenge

BBC’s Denise Pons Recognized by NAA for RPM Careers Week Challenge

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

This well-known powerful quote resonates with many people. For Fort Story Family Homes Community Manager Denise Pons, it’s her life’s mantra.

The mantra has guided her throughout her life—as a young girl living in a military family, a professional making the decision to change her career path later in life, and someone who has hundreds of military families looking to her to find their home and community. Making a connection with the recruiter for another position also got her to her current role, which she says is her dream career.

When the National Apartment Association (NAA) released its themed challenges for its annual Residential Property Management (RPM) Careers Week, Denise knew right away she wanted to participate in Finding Your Dream Career Friday.

The challenge tasked RPM professionals to write a short post about how they landed their careers. Denise submitted her response and soon learned she was one of the finalists for the award. Through a vote on social media, Denise won.

Her winning submission reads:

The REST of your life or the BEST of your life…that is what I had on my mind as I left my life in Washington DC. Two layoffs in four years…I knew that there had to be something better than that. From my position in a builders’ association that worked with the multifamily housing industry, I saw something special. These professionals not only made a difference in their resident’s lives but also in their communities. As a daughter of a career Army officer, I found my niche in military housing and, in turn, chose the BEST of my life.

Denise began her professional journey in marketing, which isn’t surprising to anyone who knows her creative nature and how connected she is to people. She transitioned into roles within the construction industry, including at a housing and builders association. From there, she began working for a multifamily property management company and started to hit her stride.

In 2017, Denise was approached by a recruiter working for Balfour Beatty Communities for a role that would require a lengthy commute. Though she passed on the opportunity, she kept a good relationship with the company. Then the opportunity came up to work closer to home as the community manager at Fort Story Family Homes.

“The job at Fort Story allows me to give back and ‘serve’ my country, in a sense, as my family has,” says Denise. Many members of her family, including her father, were career military service members.

Growing up in a military family shaped Denise as a person in every way. In her own words, she refers to that part of her life as “magical, as she learned how important being part of a community was and forged friendships that would last a lifetime. Since day one at Fort Story Family Homes, her goal has been to foster a similar sense of enchantment for the children who live there, and there’s no question she’s left her mark on them.

“One of the sweetest gestures a resident has ever done for me was a little boy whose family was moving away in the early days of the pandemic,” Denise recalls as she pulls a T-Rex toy from her office shelf. “Of course, contact with residents was a bit different at that point. He brought me this to protect me from the ‘sickness.’ I’ll never forget it.”

Maya Angelou’s words reflect how Denise acts toward people and an attitude she recognizes in other people, especially her manager, Billy Lawson, whom she credits for being the professional and employee she is today.

“In our region, we’re blessed to have a regional property manager who empowers us to be heroes through sound business management and development, creativity, patience, and above all—kindness,” says Denise of Billy.

What’s next for Denise? To continue representing Balfour Beatty Communities as a committed and kind community manager. She’s in this position for the long haul and looks forward to finishing her career with the company—choosing the best of her life.

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