On any given day, Wanda O’Keefe can deal with things as varied as managing cleaning staff, ordering keys and gym memberships, attending tenant meetings, and leading training sessions on workplace safety.
As Assistant Property Manager in Yellowknife, NWT, Wanda is responsible for the four buildings that Dream owns in the city.
The Newfoundland native has been with Dream since 2006, having joined Bellanca one year before it was acquired by what was then Dundee. “I had worked in residential and wanted something different. When I saw this job, I thought this would really be me,” says Wanda about her decision to join the company. “It was a little different at first, but I jumped in and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Wanda loves her team, which consists of a senior building operator, two building operators, a day porter, a property manager and an administrative coordinator. The team, she says, is very close and dedicated to its mission. “It’s important to make sure we have a great team and that everyone understands and believes in the values that we stand for,” she says. “It makes it easier to bring it to our tenants and it then gets paid forward to the community.”
|Assistant Property Manager
|Dream Office Management, Yellowknife
Her work is not without its challenges, however. Due to Yellowknife’s location, it can be a complicated and lengthy process to get things shipped there, and it is often expensive. It also means that people sometimes have to be flown up from Edmonton, Alberta, because the city lacks certain resources.
None of this has stopped Wanda and her team. “The things still get done because our team is so dedicated and committed to getting the job done,” she says proudly. “We’ve become a lot more proactive and are better at preventing issues.”
Yellowknife also has a strong sense of community, which translates to people helping each other whenever they can, no matter who they are or which company they work for. It also meant that, when Dream organized a food drive and mobilized tenants, one of the tenants invited their other office to participate – despite their office not being in a Dream building.
Without a doubt one of the best examples of Wanda’s team building better communities was their adoption of a family for Christmas in 2013. Through a local school, they committed to providing gifts and food for a single mother and her three children, whose wish list included colouring books, crayons, and a notepad; for food, they craved fresh fruit and vegetables.
Once her team had gathered everything, Wanda realized that the family did not actually have a home. Pulling different members of the community together, Wanda ensured that the family would have a home on Christmas Eve and then worked with her team to make sure that the children and their mother would be welcomed by a decorated tree, a tray of fresh vegetables, hot chocolate, and a note from Santa. “You’ve never seen a family that was ever so happy,” recalls Wanda with emotion.
And this is why Wanda loves working at Dream. “If I have a question about anything, I don’t feel uncomfortable picking up the phone and asking anyone, in any city,” she says. “People care, and that’s a big part of why I’m here.”