Career Spotlight: Anna Whitaker

Member News,
Name: Anna Whitaker
Company: Southwood Realty
Title: Regional Manager
Local NC Affiliate: PTAA

Tell us about your career:

I started out in 2007 as a Community Assistant for a student housing property in Wilmington, NC. I lived on-site, needed a job, and the rest is history. I quickly moved up to Leasing Manager where I spent four years managing seven Community Assistants and all the aspects of leasing. I loved this position but knew I could give more! My manager at the time pushed for my growth which led me to Chapel Hill, NC into an Assistant Manager role. After four months in this position, a Property Manager role opened up at a sister community and I officially had my very own property just a few months shy of my 24th birthday. Even though there was so much personal growth for me in my role as Property Manager, I ultimately decided this was not the career path for me and I left for a restaurant management position for family friends.

I have worked with this family since I was 17 and even continued to work with them on weekends while maintaining my Property Manager role. It was not six months later I was reaching out to industry friends wanting to get my foot back in the door. I took a role in January 2013 as an Assistant Manager for a student housing property in Durham, NC. After a sale, I was promoted to Property Manager and managed the top-voted best off-campus housing community for Duke University for four years. I poured my heart into that community. I got married while I was managing this property, went through two pregnancies bringing my beautiful children into this world, sold one home, and bought another, but ultimately the commute of an hour each way with small children pushed me to find something closer to home. This is where I landed my Property Manager position with Southwood Realty in 2018.

From 2018-2021 I worked on two Southwood acquisitions. I loved each challenge they presented me with but just as in my Leasing Manager role from 2007-2011, I knew I had more to give. I had a wonderful Regional that saw the potential in me. With my servant heart, my desire was to lead people and help them succeed in their own personal and professional growth. In January 2021 I was presented with the opportunity of Regional Manager and as of today, I'm serving my team, my company, and my residents with a level of respect and professionalism everyone deserves. Our industry is forever evolving and our ability to adapt is unwavering. I'm learning and teaching and as of right now, I'm right where I need to be.

What advice do you have for someone just starting in your field:

Be true and authentic. If you do these two things the possibilities for yourself are endless.