The Collier Companies gathered for its annual Conference of Champions which brought together the Community Manager and Service Manager from each community in the company’s portfolio. Along with the 91 Managers in attendance, in attendance were Executive Team Members and Regional Community Managers who were on site to partake in the activities and lessons ahead.
The Conference, which has been an annual staple within the company culture since 2011, brings together managers from the three states where the privately-owned Collier Companies owns and manages communities, to learn vital lessons poised to strengthen them as a leader and skills to provide their customers with excellence in customer service. “COC is an annual leadership event! As our owner and founder Nathan Collier says, “We are frequently pleased, but never satisfied!” COC is an opportunity for us to use feedback from the previous year (our challenges, achievements, what went well, and what didn’t) and use this forum to learn, develop and recognize our on-site leaders!” says COO, Jennifer Clince. “They are our torchbearers for TCC, so COC is a way to show them appreciation and recognition, while also developing their skillsets, involving them in TCC developments and future plans, and have some fun!”
This year’s conference was held in two parts with the first day hosted at the historic Hippodrome Theatre in Downtown Gainesville, FL, to which Founder/Chairman, Nathan S. Collier (NSC), is a longtime supporter. Team Members were treated to lessons from Lisa Trosien, an industry-insider dubbed “The Apartment Expert”, as she spoke on topics ranging from mindful management, leading by example and lessons in customer service. Quick-witted and engaging, Mrs. Trosien stressed points such as being on time, as she jokingly laid upon the task of singing and dancing to the childhood song of her choice in front of the crowd. Hands were eagerly raised to share their experiences in leadership when it came time to discuss how to motivate employees, and how to communicate more effectively with residents when there is a solution to be found.
“The purpose of COC is to get all of our on-site leaders together to help develop their skillset with topics such as leadership, conflict resolution, customer service, and emotional intelligence, and to have fun! COC is also an important venue to discuss what’s happening at TCC! Our senior management team, including our owner/founder, Nathan S. Collier are in attendance and we talk about where TCC is now, where we are going, and upcoming developments.” details Human Resource VP, Betsy Guynn, “We also incorporate a learning activity so we have a chance to work together and overcome hurdles and problem-solve as we do in everyday life. The goal is to engage our Team Members in every way so that upon leaving they feel acknowledged, appreciated, and challenged for the New Year ahead!”
Day two of The Conference of Champions was hosted at The Enclave Apartments, a Collier community located in Gainesville, Florida. This day focused on the inner workings of TCC, attendees were updated on The Collier Companies State of the Union by CEO, J. Andrew Hogshead and then introduced to the latest initiatives by COO, Jennifer Clince. After being updated on company business and welcomed by NSC himself, team members joyfully fist-bumped the charismatic Founder as they joined him in boarding buses headed to the two communities currently in development for The Collier Companies. One group took a ride not too far from The Enclave Apartments to the Midtown area of Gainesville where College Park at Midtown is currently being developed in the buzzing student community. Due to be completed in the Fall of 2019, team members were given a sneak peek into the luxury accommodations steps away from the original College Park property also owned by TCC. While at College Park at Midtown, the rest of the attending guests headed over to Ocala, Florida which is home to four Collier properties including the latest, Canterbury Circle Apartments, which recently completed its final units. The lush landscaping and amenities of the newly-constructed community caught the eyes all of approaching by bus, as team members were escorted through the beautifully decorated units and clubhouse for a closer look.
The floor was open for an informative Q&A session with Founder/Chairman, Nathan S. Collier (NSC), who shared about his advice for up and coming real estate investors, how he got started in business. Team Members were given the opportunity to submit thought-provoking questions for the Entrepreneur who has an open-door policy, and he happily answered all questions for the curious crowd.
Question from a TCC Team Member for NSC: “What character trait do you believe contributes the most to your success/TCC?”
Answer from NSC: “Here are 5 traits! 1) Persistence “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in & day out.” – Robert Collier, 1885-1950. After that 2) DRIVE. I was determined to live no ordinary life, I wanted to trip the ‘Light Fantastic’. All that I wanted was mine & what was next to it. 3) Hard Work. There were a few decades where I literally worked 7 days a week, 70/80 hrs. a week. Now I say I’m retired & I refuse to work more than 50 hours a week. 4) Sharpening the Saw: I was forever reading books, attending conferences, journaling, working on both hard skills & soft EQ leadership skills. The best I could be, I had to be! 5) Planning: for most of my life, I’ve had written plans of one sort or another even if it just lists a 3×5 card with the short term on one side & long term on the other.”
The Grand Finale to the conference was a team event and competition. Teams were tasked with crafting a boat as a team with only cardboard and duct tape that would get their self-proclaimed Captain across the pool. Additionally, the boat had to be decorated, named and marketed to the Executive team. The activity required teams to put their technical skills to the test as they worked together to ensure the safe travels of their captain, as the final test showed the success (and lack thereof for some) of the team building activity for the day. As teams left the 2-day event, the Human Resources team reflects in the benefits of the annual conference, “COC is a proven mood booster! We do an annual survey after the conference and our Team Members love being able to interact with and meet all of their peers from other communities, learn about the future of TCC, and enjoy face to face communication with our senior team and Nathan Collier.”, explains HR Manager of Benefits & Employee Relations, Ashley Griffith. “Additionally, we always bring in a speaker who understands the ins and outs of our industry so our Team Members are given the opportunity to take away new ideas, strategies, and leadership skills back to their communities to make a positive impact to our Team Members and residents!”