Our team is the heart and soul of Optima; the living embodiment of our values in action. We recently sat down (virtually, of course) with Barbie Clemons, Leasing Manager at Optima Sonoran Village, to talk about her journey working with Optima and what she loves most about being part of our team.
Tell us a bit about your background and the role you play at Optima.
I started out in sales and customer service before working at Optima. My experience ranged from working at a clothing company to managing bars and restaurants. I loved being in a fast-paced environment but wanted something new and got my real estate license.
An Optima recruiter brought me on board as a Leasing Agent at Optima Kierland. At Kierland, we leased up so quickly. The pace and the environment fed my soul. So after a year of different positions at Optima Kierland, I moved to Optima Sonoran Village and headed lease-up on the new tower. I was excited for the challenge: we were already 100% leased at Kierland and I couldn’t wait to work on the 800 units here. Within a year, I was promoted to the Community Manager/Leasing Manager role. It’s been amazing. I love this company and I love what I do.
What drew you to Optima initially, and what’s kept you working there all these years?
I was drawn in by the opportunity to use my skill set in a new environment. I’d done retail and hospitality and wanted something that would mix the two of them together — because in hospitality, I missed the sales portion, and vice versa. At Optima, I get to do both, all the while building long lasting relationships with residents and finding them homes they’ll stay in for a long time.
I’m constantly challenged here: can we hit this number, can we get to the next level? It’s very progressive and that’s my favorite part about working here. This is a company looking to change and move and evolve, instead of doing what everyone else does.
How do you view collaboration and mentorship within Optima?
What I love about Optima is that it’s a collaborative team and environment. My voice is always heard. No matter what level I was at in the company, I could approach someone and say, “I have an idea, can we try this?” Even on the building side — we’re under this umbrella where we can touch everything. For example: when Optima Kierland was under construction, they asked us for feedback we’ve received and we told them residents want more closet space. The construction team pivoted and included that in the next tower.
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 and your methodologies?
There’s a solution for every problem: that value resonates with me. I’ve worked every position that Optima has on the property management level — I’ve done leasing, leasing manager, and even right now, I’m filling in for a business manager position we have open. So I’ve gotten to be versatile and learn every aspect of the company in order to help out. To live and breathe and be part of a progressive company, you have to be that way. I love, love, love that it’s one of our core values. We can figure it out. Optima is always open to ideas that are outside the box.
What are some things you’ve learned during your time at Optima?
Teamwork makes the dream work. It takes every single person on your team to make properties run and to make us successful — whether that’s construction or our executive team. They really meld the mind; we talk at every level and we get to bring ideas to the table. That’s something I’ve learned and love about this company, and something that I was missing from other companies I’ve worked for. You don’t feel like a number here, you feel like your name and your voice matters.