Culture Profiles

Employee Perspectives: Celebrating Those Who Help Make Us Extraordinary

Our mission is focused on creating sanctuary for those we serve. That mission applies to not only our residents and clients but also each other. We want to celebrate some of the many employees who are going to work every day, providing exceptional service to their residents, customers and clients, amid these stressful times. And we thank all our associates for going above and beyond, and for your dedication to delivering truly extraordinary experiences.

These employees came highly recommended by their leaders and we spoke to their colleagues who know them best to hear their stories. Read them below:

Resident Experience Associate Justin Carvajal | Essex on the Park | From the Perspective of General Manager Kerry Slickmeyer

Essex on the Park General Manager Kerry Slickmeyer told us that before officially joining Bozzuto, Justin was a collaborative partner to the Essex on the Park team—he was general manager of the first-floor restaurant tenant that connects to their lobby, Grant Park Bistro. Suddenly, like so many service industry workers, his world was turned upside down overnight when he and his team members at the restaurant were laid off because of the effects COVID-19 has had on the restaurant industry. Fortunately, Essex on the Park was looking for a full-time resident experience associate position, and Justin accepted the opportunity with open arms.

Tell us about Justin—what makes him unique?

Justin came to Bozzuto with over ten years of hospitality experience, beginning with his early days in the kitchen assisting his parents with food prep at their family-run restaurant. He has a magnetic personality, unstoppable drive for success, recommends the best hidden gem restaurants in Chicago and not to mention, has an incredible personal style.

What have you learned from him?

Through supervising Justin, I am reminded how resilient human beings can be when faced with uncertain and unexpected circumstances. As a leader, Justin acts, assesses and adjusts to new situations quickly and with intention, which is something I not only admire but also continue to work on in my own leadership as my career journey progresses.

What is the essence of how Justin continues to create sanctuary?

Justin has a natural positivity that lifts every colleague and resident he encounters at Essex. Justin describes himself as “quirky, a bit nerdy and spicy,” which translates to a real-life authenticity that even our toughest residents can appreciate. Justin’s concern for his friends, family (at home and at work) and our residents is evident in the kind words and stories residents choose to include when leaving Essex on the Park online reviews.

What makes Justin stand outwhy should we be celebrating him?

He deserves to be celebrated because he is with Bozzuto for the long haul and has dreams bigger than himself. The love and support he shows our team members, his passion to push our community to #1 for online ratings and reviews and his wonderful ability to find humor and lightness in the darkest moments are to be commended!

Graphic Designer Aprile Smith | Corporate Marketing | From the Perspective of Senior Director of Marketing Noel Carson

You probably see Graphic Designer Aprile Smith’s work every day, whether it’s signage, a Bozzuto corporate ad on social media, social distancing floor decal or a flyer in a property lobby or elevator. Every day, Aprile creates the visual content that communicates our commitment to sanctuary and maintains the integrity of our brand values.

As Senior Director of Marketing Noel Carson explains, there aren’t a lot of positions within our company that interact with every division and touch so many different aspects of the business. Aprile has never taken this opportunity for granted and consistently finds creative, impactful ways to capture the essence of our core values through visual representations of our company.

Tell us about Aprile—what makes her unique?

Aprile maintains the best attitude despite any storm. She’s always willing to dive right in and face any challenge that presents itself. Her commitment to carving out time to continuously learn new design skills and expand her knowledge inspires those around her to do the same. She even uses her own social media as a form of creative blogging outside of work—her love of design is woven into everything she does, especially in the way she brings such bright, personal style to our team.

What have you learned from her?

Aprile always reminds me to take a moment to reflect and breathe. Thankfully, during this tumultuous time, our company is continuing to grow and expand—faster than ever. We are all moving a mile a minute. We can all sometimes forget to take a moment to breathe. Aprile always makes it a point to say good morning—virtually through Skype—before I start to look at the deluge of emails in my inbox first thing. It’s such a little thing but it makes a big difference. Attitude is everything—she always sets me up for a great day.

What is the essence of how Aprile continues to create sanctuary?

Aprile quite literally exudes sanctuary through graphic design. The graphic language she supports is our essence—our Bozzuto voice.

What makes Aprile stand outwhy should we be celebrating her?

It’s rare that an individual has the opportunity to touch and affect so many aspects of an organization in a visceral way, but Aprile does just that. We are in the business of service and hospitality, and a large part of that is communication. We want to make sure that our communications are visually conveyed in a way that reflects our brand truth and tone of the organization. Aprile has been and continues to be integral to that process and is absolutely worth celebrating.

Leasing Manager Liridona Hoti | OneEleven | From the Perspective of General Manager Nick Petropoulos

OneEleven General Manager Nicholas Petropoulos told us about how hard Leasing Manager Liridona Hoti works to earn the trust and respect of their residents. She remembers details and celebrates special moments in their residents’ lives, such as new jobs or engagements, and comforts them during times of difficulty. For example, Liridona was giving a virtual tour to a new resident who was returning to the US after a year abroad and he shared how happy he was about getting to have beer from local Chicago brewery, Revolution Beer. On his move-in day, Liridona made sure there was a case of Revolution beer in his refrigerator waiting to greet him. During the height of the COVID-19 shutdown, many of the community’s residents were stuck in other parts of the country. Liridona followed up with them, watered their plants and FedExed mail to them weekly.

Tell us about Liridona—what makes her unique?

Liridona was born in Kosovo. Due to unrest during the Yugoslav Wars, her family came to America in 1999 as refugees and settled in Chicago. As the oldest of five siblings, Liridona is a very caring and family-oriented person—traits that really show in her work at our community and her ability to connect with residents. She also enjoys spending time in the sun along the Lake Michigan coast in the summer.

What have you learned from her?

I have gained an appreciation for slowing down and enjoying all the small moments in life from Liridona. Even if it’s a 10-minute coffee break on the terrace, really embrace the moment. When you do this, you will have a clear mind and spirit to be successful.

What is the essence of how Liridona continues to create sanctuary?    

Liridona has a very warm and welcoming personality. She loves connecting with people and learning about them so she can cater their experience towards their desires. She credits this to when she first came to America and was welcomed here with loving hospitality. Ever since then, she has been committed to giving back and sharing the same hospitality that she received with every person that she encounters.

What makes Liridona stand outwhy should we be celebrating her?

Liridona is the epitome of Bozzuto. She is the prime example of Toby Bozzuto’s famously coined phrase “family taking care of families.” Her strength, perseverance and loving nature makes her an essential part to my team and the entire Bozzuto community.

Regional Director of Resident Services Darren Irabor | 30 Dalton | From the Perspective of Senior Vice President Amy Medugno

Regional Director of Concierge Services Darren Irabor has been an instrumental part of the Bozzuto family for a long time. He’s known for being a dedicated, hard-working individual—always looking to gain more knowledge and share it with his team. Senior Vice President Amy Medugno notes that among his many contributions to the company, he helped develop the in-house concierge program, a tremendously meaningful initiative for others’ career growth.

Tell us about Darren—what makes him unique?

Darren is an amazing asset to our Bozzuto Boston team. He started with Bozzuto as a concierge many years ago and has developed and grown the in-house concierge program to what it is today as our Regional Director of Concierge Services.

Darren is extremely hard-working, always willing to learn and is very good to his teams. He is also a wonderful dad to his little girl Aria.

 What have you learned from him?

Darren is always focused on elevating everyone on his team and expanding their knowledge and career path. He has taught all of us so much about the experience of our concierge associates.

 What is the essence of how Darren continues to create sanctuary? 

Darren constantly focuses on improving the resident experience at every community. He spends a tremendous amount of time training and coaching each concierge and holding them to the highest level of standards. He cares so much about our residents, all of our associates and making every experience memorable and special.

 What makes Darren stand outwhy should we be celebrating him?

Darren stands out because he has always been extremely motivated, driven and passionate about everything that he does. He has grown through his career organically through his commitment to excellence and continual self-reflection and improvement. Darren is always looking for ways to learn and interested in gaining more knowledge and experience. He brings so much value to the entire team and has a breadth of varied experience and perspective that makes us all better.

Resident Experience Associate Samuel Wyand | The Sinclair | From the Perspective of General Manager Carl Bledsoe

Resident Experience Associate Samuel Wyand has been an instrumental member of The Sinclair team since transferring to the community last year following a property disposition. General Manager Carl Bledsoe has often observed Sam interacting with the residents at their community, going above and beyond to make them feel taken care of. If Sam notices a resident seems upset or unlike themself, he makes a point to speak with them and find out how they’re doing. He takes the time to create meaningful connections with his residents, letting them know that he is always there to help them with anything they may need.

Tell us about Sam—what makes him unique?

Sam’s philosophy about work is to have a good attitude and be as helpful as possible, not just to residents, but also for other team members here at The Sinclair.

What have you learned from him?    

I have learned that Sam is willing to go above and beyond for anyone, and I mean anyone. Whether they are a resident, staff member, vendor, delivery person, etc., Sam makes it his mission to be as kind and helpful as he can be. This is something that is truly a learning experience for all who are looking to emphasize the Bozzuto brand and what it means to be part of Bozzuto Management Company.

What is the essence of how Sam continues to create sanctuary?    

Sam continues to create sanctuary for everyone at Sinclair by genuinely caring about them and how they are doing. Sam will be the first to greet anyone who enters The Sinclair with “How are you?” or “I hope you are having a great day!” Sam will also check on residents and staff members who are having a tough week, intently listening to them and looking for things he can do to help. Even if it is something as simple as just letting them know that they can come and talk with him if they need, he will be there. Sam is what helps make The Sinclair a home for our residents.

What makes Sam stand outwhy should we be celebrating him?

As mentioned before, Sam is a standout employee because he truly understands what it means to amplify the Bozzuto brand to everyone and anyone. Even talking on the phone, you can tell that Sam is smiling and ready to assist you with all that he can. Sam is an employee that we should all strive to look to for an exemplary employee and friend.

Property Manager Conny Matos | Miro Brickell | From the Perspective of Regional Vice President Adanise Cross

Regional Vice President Adanise Cross has many examples of how Property Manager Conny Matos has gone above and beyond to take care of her residents and team members. Early in the pandemic, Conny took great care of a family whose loved one had passed, connecting with them to ensure they were taken care of, ordering food for them, calling to see how they were doing and even arranging for them to take care of the recently departed resident’s pet.

Conny checked on quarantined residents and arranged “no-contact” food and package delivery to their apartments. She hosted live music concerts on residents’ balconies, no-contact pop-up happy hours, virtual contests and left “motivational post-its” on residents’ doors when the pandemic first started.

Tell us about Conny—what makes her unique?

Conny is passionate, hard-working, a team player and extremely loyal. She truly has Bozzuto’s best interest at heart and will do what it takes to ensure the company’s reputation is intact.

What have you learned from her?    

Conny makes me want to work harder. She’s extremely professional and even in instances where she could relax, her professionalism is shown in every aspect of her job.

What is the essence of how Conny continues to create sanctuary?    

She is a true believer of our core values and goes above and beyond to ensure her residents are taken care of.  She always has a team mindset and has come to work on her day off to help address issues in support of her team. She understands that how we recover from issues is just as important as getting it right the first time around.

What makes Conny stand outwhy should we be celebrating her?

In addition to her passion and concern for our residents, client and teams, Conny exhibits the confidence and professionalism that we look for in our managers. She’s dependable and on time. She does what she says she’ll do, so I never have to doubt things will get done. She is a proactive team player, anticipates the needs of her team, residents, the client and even the company and makes recommendations to improve things. She regularly comes to the table with ideas on how to resolve problems instead of waiting for advice.

Project Manager Lisa Alban | Bozzuto Construction Company | From the Perspective of BCC Project Executive Rob Rodgers

Bozzuto Construction Company (BCC) Project Executive Rob Rodgers admires the way BCC Construction Project Manager Lisa Alban steps in to assist other projects with subcontractor purchasing, even when it’s not her responsibility. During the pandemic, she and her team prioritized the health and safety of their team members, identified possible supply chain interruptions and tracked potential issues early to make sure that material shortages wouldn’t impact their ability to deliver the project on schedule.

Tell us about Lisa—what makes her unique?

Lisa is a great project manager on her second full project with Bozzuto. She just earned her MBA from Mount St. Mary’s University in May 2020 after taking night and weekend classes in addition to her workload here at Bozzuto. She also enjoys the microbreweries around Frederick, Maryland, where she lives.

What have you learned from her?    

Lisa really enjoys teaching her assistant project managers and making sure that they are positioned to gain experiences and learning opportunities that will ultimately help them to achieve their career goals and be successful team members.

What is the essence of how Lisa continues to create sanctuary?    

Lisa keeps the needs of our owners and developers at the forefront of everything she doesalways doing her very best to create a product that everyone involved can be proud of. She truly cares about delivering high-quality projects on schedule.

What makes Lisa stand outwhy should we be celebrating her?

Lisa has a very bright future ahead of her here at Bozzuto. She’s an incredibly hard worker who gets better every day.

Director of Resident Concierge Services Tisa Holloway | Apartments at CityCenter | From the Perspective of General Manager Sarah Egerton (Coda at Bryant Street )

Wherever Director of Resident Concierge Services Tisa Holloway goes, her residents know and trust her. When they worked together, Coda at Bryant Street General Manager Sarah Egerton was continually impressed by the way Tisa made it a point to connect with her residents about their needs, preferences, habits and more. She makes her residents and team members alike feel at ease with her proactive approach, and they listen to her when she has suggestions to make life at the community even better.

Before the official recommendation came to deliver packages and perishable items to residents during the pandemic, Tisa and her team were among the first to start delivering them, knowing the less the residents had to worry about coming downstairs, the better they’d feel. Sarah describes her as more than a concierge—she’s a member of the family to her residents and team members alike.

Tell us about Tisa—what makes her unique?

Tisa is a strong leader and sets a high standard of service at her property. She takes the time to be proactive to meet each resident’s needs and is truly the heart of any Bozzuto community and on-site team.

What have you learned from her

Tisa has taught me so many things. We have worked together for over three years, helping each other learn and pushing each other out of our comfort zones from one building or situation to the next. Overall, consistency is key. She is consistent no matter what is happening outside of work and keeps a steady beat day after day for the community. She leads by example, showing the core values, day in and day out.

What is the essence of how Tisa continues to create sanctuary? 

She is proactive. Since she is always a step ahead of a resident or situation, they usually don’t need to think or ask for help. She inspires her team to understand the needs of their residents, and how to ensure they receive continued services no matter who is on the front desk shift. The residents trust Tisa and know that she has their best interest at heart. So, if things may not work out as planned all the time (maintenance-wise, delivery-wise, etc.), Tisa’s trust and connection with residents gives them peace of mind.

What makes Tisa stand outwhy should we be celebrating her?

Tisa stands out as a co-worker and employee because she puts everyone at ease. There is nothing too big or too small for Tisa to do. She is proactive and always a step ahead of any event, situation, celebration of a resident or employee, etc. Anyone would be lucky to have Tisa as a part of their community.

Superintendent Tony Most | Bozzuto Construction Company | From the Perspective of BCC Project Executive John Heagy

Bozzuto Construction Company (BCC) Project Executive John Heagy appreciates BCC Construction Superintendent Tony Most’s dedication. He said Tony’s most recent project, a student housing project, was, at the time, the biggest damage risk that BCC had taken on a third-party client project if completion was late. Amid the pandemic and the project’s critical timeline, Tony was on the job site nearly every day for an entire month—including Saturdays and Sundays. His team delayed their time off, working through subcontractors being absent, to ensure sure they were on-site for the final stretch, and ultimately, the project was completed early.

Tell us about Tony—what makes him unique?

We all strive for a work-life balance. Tony is at the site late—working weekends and ensuring that he does whatever it takes to be on top of everything happening on his site. Despite their demanding schedules, he and his wife make sure they are actively engaged in their daughter’s life and her activities. He must draw strength from Phil Collins’ music turned up to maximum volume on the way to way to the site at 5 a.m.

What have you learned from him?    

Much like his hero, football quarterback Tom Brady, Tony leads by example, and team members are inspired to do whatever they can to keep up and match what he does. It would be tough to work with him and not put in your best effort.

What is the essence of how he continues to create sanctuary?    

No matter what the specific project is, he looks at the big picture. Tony sees that the ultimate goal is delivering homes, and everything we’re doing day-to-day is to reach that goal of delivering a quality product in a timely manner. He makes decisions with this goal in mind.

What makes Tony stand outwhy should we be celebrating him?

Tony lives by our core values. He’s constantly working creatively to find ways to exceed expectations on delivering a perfect product and is always going above and beyond our client’s expectations.

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