What is a culture ambassador? Why does it need to be more than just a buzz phrase? Drew Williams shares the secrets to propelling not only your career but being a positive force for the people you work with.
Our Special Guest: Drew Williams from Common
A seasoned Multifamily Professional, Drew is a trainer, speaker, freethinker, leader, and a full-on sponge for all things multifamily. Drew fell into what he knew would become a lifelong career with property management starting as a leasing consultant & working his way up the ranks. When Drew was hand-selected to become a Certified Trainer with one of the nation’s largest multifamily housing providers, he found his “WHY” by working side by side with future property management all-stars. Drew shares the greatest achievement in his career thus far has been being able to take a hands-on approach and front-row seat to the execution of his fellow industry peers and colleagues blossoming into the stellar business professionals they are today. Drew is impassioned by being an involved member of an industry of people, an industry about people and feels just as passionately in that regard today as he did day one on the job.
Like most people in the industry, Drew started almost 12 years ago as a leasing agent. He has grown to work in management, business development, and training throughout his career. But it wasn’t until he attained his NAA and IREM credentials that his career hit a turning point. Then Covid hit. While in quarantine, Drew started thinking about his career and his “why.” Why did he do what he did? His “why” was people, which led him back to training. He realized and was thankful for all the people that had helped him throughout his career, and he wanted to give back—leading him to become a culture ambassador.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
What is a culture ambassador?
A culture ambassador needs to be more than a buzz phrase. It is based on your values and on creating a safe place for your team members. A place of collaboration and fun where everyone has a seat at the table. You need to show empathy as a leader and foster genuine rapport and connections. A culture ambassador has an attitude of gratitude and leads by example to create a positive work environment.
Culture ambassador and education—lead by example.
It boils down to this; knowledge is power! At first, I was focused on having the letters behind my name, but then I realized that I was investing in myself by pursuing education. This gave me validation and a sense of purpose and pride. You need to put your time, effort, and finances into education to stay at the forefront of your industry. And even though I have my designations, my days of learning are far from over. What I do is educate, so I lead by example and encourage everyone I work with to do the same.
A favorite book of mine that is a must-read is called Radical Candor – Be A Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. This is a fantastic, life-changing book that I recommend everyone read if they are truly ready to be a culture ambassador and lead with inspiration and purpose.
Advice for those working towards or are in a leadership role—final takeaway
The very essence of great leadership is influence, not authority. Be a leader, not a boss. Be kind, practice active listening skills. Get to know your colleagues and your team. Live authentically and serve with humility. Exercise some grace. Give when you don’t have to. Don’t ask anybody to do anything you wouldn’t do or that they haven’t already seen you do. The world will only be changed by your example, not your opinion. Always err on the side of integrity, character, and respect. Don’t be the loudest person in the room. Let the work speak for itself. Care personally but also challenge directly.
What one actionable tip could you share that has served you well as an educator?
No one has ever drowned in sweat – Get to work!Drew Williams
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