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From Leasing to a Project Management Career at Fairfield

January 18, 2023

Later this year, Anna Leger will celebrate her 20th anniversary at Fairfield. As Senior Project Manager, Anna is integral in leading the planning of projects for Property Management and other groups at Fairfield from her location at our corporate headquarters in San Diego, CA. But her career trajectory wasn’t linear, making her a prime example of the opportunities Fairfield offers and the support our organization gives associates to follow their passions.

Apartmentality: Describe your career path since being at Fairfield.

Anna Leger: I first started with Fairfield in 1999 at Nobel Court in La Jolla, CA as a Leasing Agent. I had heard amazing things about Fairfield and met the leasing manager in passing. I loved her energy and passion for her job, and she is the one who ended up hiring me. It was a large conventional property with a lot of leasing activity, which made it a great place to learn the business quickly. In 2000, I transferred to Canyon Rim Apartments as a Leasing Manager and Bookkeeper. Because this was a tax credit property with several program layers with different requirements, the property was like nothing I had done before. In 2003, I took a brief leave to explore other career options and after just 6 weeks in a sales position, I realized I had made a mistake. Fortunately, there was a similar position available at The Stratton and I was welcomed back to the Fairfield family.

Apartmentality: What made you want to return to Fairfield instead of seeking another new opportunity?

Anna Leger: In the sales role I didn’t stand behind the product. Selling it felt inauthentic. At the same time, I felt micromanaged instead of supported. It was an easy choice to come back to Fairfield because of the culture, which I consider authentic and full of support. And I believe in our product! Returning was more alluring than gambling on new organizations, because I really love the culture at Fairfield and I knew that I could find the right role for myself to grow within the company.

Anna Leger Project Manager team building event

Anna with her Fairfield colleagues at a team buildling activity. 

Apartmentality: How did you make the leap from working on site to corporate?

Anna Leger: In 2004, there was a position created to support our five HUD properties called an Affordable Housing Specialist. Since I had experience working at tax credit properties, it was a natural transition. I traveled to different locations to support new team members in learning and executing the program requirements. I also offered some technology support. It was a nice balance between working on site and a full-time desk job. Looking back now, as a social person, sometimes I miss the interactions with residents. It makes me glad our corporate office is full of great people to talk with. It helps fill that void.

Apartmentality: There was one more big transition that took you out of the field. What was that?

Anna Leger: In 2005 I had to make a life/work balance decision: I had a baby and was not willing to travel anymore. Fortunately for me, Fairfield had the need for a new position to be created around the same time, and it was the perfect accommodation for me. I became the Compliance Support Administrator to Gina Metzger, Director of Affordable Housing at the time. (Gina is now our Senior Vice President of Affordable Housing). In this position, I supported all of the communities with industry updates, prepared and submitted reports to state and local agencies, and worked with acquisitions, sales and asset managers to ensure enforcement of requirements. It used my knowledge and experience with tax credit properties and cemented me in corporate life. It also spoke volumes about the culture that made me return to Fairfield in the first place.

Apartmentality: At this point in the story, you’ve excelled up the ladder in roles related to affordable housing using expertise gained along the way. When did you make the leap into project management?

Anna Leger: I transitioned to yet another newly created position in 2012 that took me out of the affordable world and immersed me into something completely foreign. In this new project management role, I was responsible for managing and implementing new technology. That meant everything from project planning and discovery all the way through vendor selection, contract negotiation, development and testing.

Apartmentality: Fairfield has a large Training & Development department and regularly emphasizes personal and professional development to our associates. What support and training did you get to make this huge transition?

Anna Leger: I have had access to education all along the way. In earlier roles, I was encouraged to take HUD (The U.S.’s department of Housing and Urban Development) courses and achieve external certifications related to affordable housing. For this new role, Kim Bender, President of Property Management, specifically recommended some classes for me to take. And I had a ton of support from my mentor, Meredith Olsen, who taught me the fundamentals of project management and organizational systems. It was a lot of hands on learning!

Anna Leger and Meredith Olsen

Anna Leger and Meredith Olsen at a leadership conference.

Apartmentality: What do you like about working in the multifamily industry?

Anna Leger: When I was on site, it was about seeing the happy faces of a family when I handed them the keys to their new home. In my position now, I love to rollout technology that helps the on-site team achieve their day-to-day tasks in the most efficient and streamlined way so that they can continue creating those positive experiences for residents. I think that is what Fairfield does well in the industry; we make people feel like they are at home and not just another transaction.

Apartmentality: In your opinion, what makes Fairfield a great place to work?

Anna Leger: THE PEOPLE! The culture. The work/life balance. And because I truly enjoy what I do and who I work with. Life throws you a curveball sometimes, and your situation may need to change. At Fairfield, I’ve always been supported in both my professional life and my personal life, and I’ve never felt guilty for having both. In all the various positions I’ve held, I’ve never been afraid to go to someone else at the company and have a conversation. I always feel welcome and that my opinion matters. As a company, we have acquired more properties, built more homes, added more investors and seen executives come and go, but the one thing that always stays consistent is that our Fairfield culture puts people first - and that is why I stay!

Join the Fairfield Team

Anna’s exciting career path is just one unique story of the possibilities at Fairfield. With headquarters in San Diego, corporate regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, and Washington, D.C., and on-site team members at communities across the country, Fairfield is hiring across the country. Whether you're looking for a role in property management, maintenance, or any number of corporate support functions, consider working at Fairfield! Explore open positions at our corporate offices and communities nationwide and apply today!

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