After five months of feeling physically ill and depressed, and after seeing many doctors and leaving with no answers, Erin Brown’s health took...
Vice president and asset manager, Jacobs Property Management
Years lived in Columbia:
All my life!
Tell us about your job:
My team and I manage about 500 residential investment properties in the Columbia and mid-Missouri area for just over 50 private property owners. I have seven team members. I love being able to serve my team as their leader and also serve our property owners and resident base.
Who is a mentor in your life?
Jim Yankee, with Flat Branch Home Loans, has always been someone that I have looked up to and trusted. As the key leaders in our organizations, we face many of the same obstacles. We began our leadership journeys in our respective companies around the same time, and it has been a blessing to be able to bounce ideas and thoughts off of him on a regular basis.
What are some misconceptions about your job?
Sometimes I think that people believe that all we do is collect rent and hand out keys. Our service to our customers goes so much deeper than that. When we sign a management contract with a property owner, they’re handing us an investment worth tens of thousands of dollars. We take care of the homes as if we own them ourselves. We also provide the level of customer service to our residents that we would want to receive ourselves.
What is the single best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is my team! I love the people that I work with like family. I am always encouraging both personal and professional growth amongst the team, and this helps us perform better as a whole.
What was the last professional goal you accomplished?
The most recent professional goal that I have achieved has been amazing growth in our managed portfolio. We have grown the portfolio by 25 percent this year, and historically we’ve been accustomed to a three to five percent annual growth.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by achieving goals. I enjoy setting large goals for myself. I break them down into smaller pieces in order to track my progress. The dopamine release that I get when achieving the steps toward a larger goal helps me stay motivated to keep moving forward.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t operating in my current role, I would be working for Dave Ramsey and his team at Ramsey Solutions. The financial and business products and tools that Ramsey Solutions offers have truly changed my life and my business. I wholeheartedly believe in their mission to change people’s lives for the better.
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
The accomplishment that I’m proudest of is the development of my team. What I have found is that the better the team, the better the company. Thus, I have been very intentional about our hiring process and professional development to ensure that we have the right people in the right seats on our bus.
What’s your favorite community project?
The most rewarding community project that I do is teaching and coordinating Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I have coordinated the class eight times and every class has been unique. There is nothing more rewarding to me than to see families turn their finances around and start winning with money. It’s a great feeling to know that because I teach the class all of my team members and most of my family have been able to make positive changes with their finances.
What is the single biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
The single biggest lesson that I have learned in business is that people matter most. Whenever we are dealing with a client, customer, or co-worker, it’s vitally important to remember that they are a human being, not just a number or unit of production. I strive to treat others as I would like to be treated. As simple as it sounds, this little act can make all the difference in the world.
What is your favorite business book you’ve ever read and what impact did it have on you?
One of my favorite business and leadership books is “Extreme Ownership,” by Jocko Willink. Jocko is a former Navy SEAL and uses this book to take SEAL training tactics and apply them to the business world. He talks about how a leader should take ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of their team. He also discussed the importance of self-discipline and clear communication.
If you had unlimited funds, what is the one specific thing you would do to improve Columbia?
If I had unlimited funds, I would overhaul the Columbia airport, giving it the opportunity to have direct flights not just to Dallas and Chicago, but all over the country.
What is one goal you have for 2017 and how do you plan to achieve it?
I already have a number of goals set for 2017, and many of them are an extension of goals that I set for myself this year. My 2016 reading goal was to read at least 12 business and leadership books, and I am on track to finish that. My 2017 goal will be to read 14 business and leadership books. Leaders are readers, and the content in these books helps me to stay relevant and motivated in my professional life.
What trait do you most want in a co-worker or employee?
I want team members that are humble, hungry, and smart. Patrick Lencioni writes about these character qualities in his book “The Ideal Team Player.” When looking around at my team, I’m encouraged by how many of them exude these traits on a daily basis, and I consider myself highly blessed.
If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could improve one thing about myself, it would be to instill a more natural sense of self-discipline. When I take the time to set goals and I’m intentional about getting things accomplished, I feel great about myself. The discipline of working off of lists and being organized is a learned skill for me. Self-discipline is an important character quality, and I work to improve mine on a regular basis.
What do you do for fun?
I love to travel! Whether it is a two-week Disney vacation or just a night away, I’m ready to go! My favorite way to travel is on a cruise ship. I have been on five New Kids on the Block cruises in recent years.