From Leasing to Regional Manager
This is part three of the weekly series featuring the profiles of African American leaders in the apartment industry throughout Black History Month. An initiative of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, these interviews aim to highlight our existing leaders and promote inclusion within our organization.
Teryl Tarver, Regional Manager with Franklin Street Real Estate Services, is a fierce worker and humble woman. Having been a BAAA member for many years and through various positions, we are lucky to have been able to sit down with a very busy Teryl.
Q: Hi Teryl! Tell us how you got started in the apartment industry.
A: I was working at Lawyer’s Title as a title searcher and the company merged with another company, reducing the staff by 10 members. So, I registered with a temporary agency and my first assignment was as a leasing agent.
Q: How did your previous experience before property management help prepare you for your current career?
A: My previous experiences prepared me by providing me the opportunity to deal with customers and build my customer service skills.
Q: Let’s talk Diversity & Inclusion. As a whole, how do you feel the rental housing industry is doing in its D&I efforts?
A: Although the rental housing industry has made great strides in D&I since I first began many years ago, I do feel that there is still more that can be done. For example, when I walk into a leasing office that has a diverse staff, I immediately feel welcome but offices that don’t have such a diverse staff often make me feel like they’re too busy to even notice that I’ve entered and am in need of assistance. Unfortunately, I have had many of those experiences. All people should be addressed the same regardless of race or appearance.
Q: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice when first beginning your career in Property Management, what would it be?
A: I would tell myself to always be ready for the unexpected and cross-train often so that you can always wear more than one hat or be able to switch hats at a moment’s notice, if necessary.
Q: February is Black History Month. It means many different things to different people. What does Black History Month mean to you?
A: Black History Month reminds me of the struggle with equality that the Black community has faced throughout the years and the progress that we have achieved. We have come such a long way, yet the fight to be treated the same as other races is still relevant.
Q: What level of support do you feel there is for minority professionals seeking to enter our industry? What advice would you give them?
A: Honestly, I don’t feel that there is much support. In this industry, who you know matters more than what you know and since there are few minority managers, there are few minority individuals that are able to break into the industry. If the manager in an office is Hispanic, then the staff will be predominately Hispanic. If the manager is Caucasian, then the staff is predominantly Caucasian with maybe one or two staff members that are Hispanic for translating purposes.
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: To stay 100% occupied, 100% collected, and 100% renewed at all times.
Q: What are you most proud of and/or trying to achieve? Personal or professional!
A: I’m most proud of the fact that despite the obstacles that I’ve faced regarding race in this profession, that I was still able to prove my value and become the person that I am. I managed to excel from a leasing agent to a Regional Manager as a Black woman in this business and there are very few like me that can say the same thing.