The first time Heather Williams saw an Optima building, she was awestruck. A lifelong Arizona resident, Heather was fascinated by the hanging plants and Modernist architecture that was so different from anything else in the desert and was immediately intrigued. After doing some research, she found that the promises and values at Optima were something she wanted to be a part of. Heather joined our team in 2017 with the opening of the first tower at Optima Kierland Center. Fast-forward to 2020, Heather is now the General Manager at Optima Kierland Apartments and runs the entire property, orchestrating details both large and small (including providing a five-star resident experience and hosting some spectacular Super Bowl parties). We sat down with Heather to talk about her journey and how her experience at Optima has evolved since she first saw our buildings.
Tell us a bit about your background and the role you play at Optima.
I’ve had a really varied background ranging from marketing to insurance to credit card processing, but they all encompassed high levels of customer service and creating a positive experience for the client. In my role as General Manager, I’ve had to become fluent in all parts of our business operations, so it’s been beneficial to pull from my experience in different industries. The role I’m in now at Optima gives me the opportunity to collaborate with different departments within our organization, so I’m constantly able to learn from some of the brightest minds and best problem solvers I’ve ever encountered.
What drew you to Optima initially, and what’s kept you working there?
Everything about Optima speaks “exceptional”. I strive to give my best in everything I do and I’m so fulfilled at Optima because I know that all of my colleagues also give their best. When you get the opportunity to work with people who are solution-oriented, genuine and collaborative, a lot of barriers start to come down and you can achieve some pretty incredible things. We have a wealth of resources and communications tools at Optima, so it’s always easy to know what the company’s goals are and what we are trying to accomplish and it’s really inspiring to know you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
How do you view the concept of community at Optima? How might it differ from other properties/buildings?
The attention to detail in Optima buildings is unparalleled. Everything about the way they are designed lends to creating an experience of living well and that has a huge impact on the way people interact with one another. When people choose Optima, they are choosing a lifestyle and we see a lot of connections with people formed as a result. The wealth of amenities in Optima communities inspire our residents to get out and use these spaces as an extension of their homes and they really get to know their neighbors as a result. We’ve seen so many friendships formed and even a wedding from the relationships people are able to make with one another here!
Optima has a distinct set of values that really differentiates it from other companies. Which values really speak to the work you’ve done at Optima?
When making decisions, I always have one particular core value in mind – do the right thing even when it’s hard. In our industry, a lot of decisions are bottom-lined and based on budgets. We’re owner managed, so our decisions are not always financially-driven. Everyone at Optima just wants to do right by people. I know without a doubt that our goal on our Property Management team is to create the best possible experience for those who visit and live in our communities, so I try to always view the perspective of the person I’m working with and make the decision to do the right thing, even if that means it creates more work or is more challenging.
I’m also really inspired by the concept that “we all create” and I feel that every day. I’ve seen ideas at Optima come from all corners and be implemented in record time. It’s a really empowering feeling to know I don’t just work for a company, I’m an active part of it and I can impact how we grow and move forward.