All business leaders feel pressure on their shoulders throughout their careers. Whether it’s due to their expectations, the expectations of their colleagues, or frankly …
A Great Motivator | Jenni McKenna
Owner & CEO
One of Jenni McKenna’s, Owner & CEO of McKenna Property, qualities that have made her a great leader is her dedication to customer service. She is always thinking about the level of customer service they provide to both the tenants and owners. When implementing new procedures and systems, a serious discussion is held between all team members on how they can leverage these additions to improve their customer service. “This results in most of our systems being oriented around the experience of the client and ensuring that they have nothing but pleasant thoughts of us. When owners and tenants leave reviews for McKenna Property Management saying that we have provided the best experience they have ever had with a property manager, I see that this focus on customer service is paying off.”
Jenni feels an important aspect that she has harnessed to achieve success is the importance she puts on a family. “When I started the company, it was a family venture meant to provide for my immediate family and allow my father to live his dreams.
However, as the company grew and I hired additional team members, I started seeing and treating each of them as if they were a part of my family,” she elucidates. “I made myself the Human Resources department and always left my door open so that my team members could come to me with any issues they were having. The business then became about not only my blood family, but my work family.”
A Support System
Through networking opportunities such as NARPM, Keller Williams Family Reunion, and BOLD, Jenni has met so many wonderful future female leaders. She provides mentorship and advice to these female business owners on how to tackle issues such as customer service, team member satisfaction, and process refinement. The biggest way that Jenni feels she supports female business owners is through the service McKenna Property Management provides. “Real estate is the gateway to building financial security and many of our clients are women using investment properties as a vehicle to do just this,” she says. “Once you purchase an investment property you become a business owner, and my mission is to take away as much friction as possible to growing investment portfolios and allowing these women to achieve their financial goals.”
Jenni has put a lot of effort and resources into providing systems for her team to help guide them to success in the future. “I have instituted programs that incentivize and reward healthy goal setting such as accountability partners and quarterly/annual goals. Additionally, I always try to take tactics that help me succeed and put them in front of my team so that they can find success,” adds Jenni. “For me, spending meaningful time being appreciative and grateful for the people in my life, whether that be business colleagues, clients, or friends and family, serves as a great motivator. As such, I have brought systems such as daily appreciation messages and gratitude letters to my team. I feel that these systems and practices are preparing each of my team members to be incredible leaders.”
Jenni knew she had achieved success when McKenna Property Management was profitable enough for her father to go on a mission trip and essentially retire. “I have always looked up to my father, and he is the person who got me into real estate in the first place. When I got into property management, getting to the point where my father could go on a mission trip was my biggest motivator, as that was one of his life goals,” elucidates Jenni. “Another indication of my success is when I get to take consistent vacations. When I take a vacation, it is confirmation of the fact that I have built a successful business that meets my family’s needs and provides an opportunity for us to have fun.”
It also shows that Jenni has built a business on a successful framework that can operate smoothly even during her temporary absence. The most important thing that she has learned is that every mistake is a learning opportunity. “Each mistake is an opportunity to reflect on my business practices and see where I can improve. It is this constant process of self-reflection and improving my business that has gotten me to where I am today.”
An important leadership lesson Jenni has honed in her everyday life is to stand up for herself and make others take her seriously. “When I got into real estate, I found that my female colleagues and I were often treated as no more than just pretty saleswomen as opposed to business professionals that should be taken seriously. This did not drastically change when I moved from real estate to property management.” Jenni adds, “in the nearly 30 years that I have been in the industry, I have learned how to be taken seriously in male-dominated spaces, and that is through evidence and tenacity. When I receive pushback from clients who do not see the value in what I propose or who say that the numbers don’t work out in their spreadsheet, I am able to point to a proven track record of success and fully defend my opinions.” Property management is not the same as real estate, and it is not as simple as ROI calculations on a spreadsheet. It takes a huge amount of intuition, dedication, and experience to make an investment property profitable, no matter the state of the market. “I must stand on this intuition and experience to argue my position, make people take me seriously, and not ignore or dismiss my opinions, even if they want to.”
Building A Brand
The biggest achievement of McKenna Property Management is being able to compete with national companies in their market using an approach that is rare among property managers. In property management, it is typical that a property will be assigned to a singular property manager who handles everything from leasing to HOA issues to repairs. At McKenna Property Management, there are no dedicated property managers. Each property is the responsibility of every team member, and every team member is a specialist in one aspect of the property management process. Jenni and her team can provide full-service property management to the clients at the level of national companies that cater to investors without losing their family-owned charm that is so important to the clients that they work with.
Jenni’s current goal for McKenna Property Management is to grow its management portfolio from 1120 properties to 1500 properties. Why 1500? A portfolio of that size would cement their status as one of the largest property managers that operate exclusively in the greater Las Vegas metropolitan area.
As the company grows, the steadfast leader would like to see it continue to be a place where positive experiences are had on all sides. In the world of property management, there can be a lot of villains. Every tenant has a story of being ripped off in their security deposit or not having maintenance issues handled promptly. Every owner has a story of being nickeled and dimed or taken advantage of by their property manager. “At McKenna Property Management, we have received a lot of reviews and testimonials from owners and tenants commending us for having both of their best interests in mind, even though they typically want opposite things,” says Jenni. “We can do this by finding common ground between our tenants and owners. I would like to continue delivering those experiences to tenants and owners, and hopefully, influence the rest of the industry with best practices that will make everybody’s life easier.”
Owner & CEO
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