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REstart Program: Giving Back

How often in our lifetimes can we know we’ve had the opportunity to change the trajectory of another person’s life?

By Veronica Kelso
Rawpixel 658254 Unsplash

With its simple yet profound mission to “give back,” the REstart program provides property management professionals and companies that opportunity. This year, inspired by the work of the San Diego Chapter’s success since 1998, and supported by IREM Headquarters, the Western North Carolina and Sacramento Chapters adopted the REstart program. Separated by 2,680 miles, both chapters began their work to help break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage by engaging committed volunteers, giving back to their communities and preparing disadvantaged adults to gain employment in property management. Following are their stories, as experienced by the chapter members who participated.


Paula Nicholas, Sacramento Chapter Board member and senior regional manager for Pinnacle, AMO, in Walnut Creek, Calif., provided leadership to a very talented, professional team of volunteers by creating a partnership with Women’s Empowerment, an organization whose mission is to educate and empower women who are homeless. Nine candidates, identified by Women’s Empowerment, were interviewed, and eight were selected to participate in REstart, each with unique gifts and strengths. All eight women graduated from the program on March 14, 2018, and three were immediately hired.

Sacramento Chapter 2018 REstart graduates and chapter contributors

Sacramento Chapter 2018 REstart graduates and chapter contributors

Julia Freeland, executive director and IAE of the Sacramento Chapter, shared how this industry has so much potential to give back to its communities. She explained, “While supporting existing charities through our chapters is an important and valuable service, this program allows our members to pay forward their education, experiences and knowledge in a way that deeply resonates with each volunteer.”

One such volunteer for whom the REstart program had a tremendously positive impact was Beth Smith, CPM, of Sunrise Management, AMO, in Folsom, Calif., and a Sacramento Chapter Board member. “I was overwhelmed with gratitude for having the opportunity to work with the women in the program,” she said. “I was able to share my passion for what we do and the knowledge I’ve gained through my 28-plus years in the property management industry. It was so rewarding to be able to pay it forward and help these ladies begin their journeys, becoming our next property management professionals.”

Sacramento Chapter 2018 REstart graduates and chapter contributors

Sacramento Chapter 2018 REstart graduates and chapter contributors

William Sheridan, CPM, of SF Invest, AMO, in Chico, Calif., and 2018 president of the Sacramento Chapter, expressed what the “giving back” theme means to the Sacramento Chapter: “When you give of yourself to help those in need, you invariably get more back than you put into the effort. That is the case with our REstart program. We have a very strong connection with our graduates, and it is pure joy when we get to see them every couple of weeks.”

IREM Western North Carolina’s Restart Story

David Martin, CPM, director of management services at Collett in Charlotte, N.C., and 2018 president of the Western North Carolina Chapter, developed his chapter’s partnership with the Charlotte Area Fund (CAF), a community action agency fighting the local war on poverty since 1963. CAF became the generous sponsor of REstart and provided scholarships to 13 students, making it possible for them to complete classroom education and hands-on internships. Said Martin, who was one of four volunteer instructors, “We want to set an example for other industry professionals in our careers. We represent an exemplary organization with the most outstanding code of ethics, and together, we have the opportunity to provide individuals with new hope and a new career.”

Western North Carolina Chapter REstart class of 2018, instructors and Charlotte Area Fund staff

Western North Carolina Chapter REstart class of 2018, instructors and Charlotte Area Fund staff

Jackie Campbell, IAE for the Western North Carolina Chapter and volunteer instructor, noted how the program was structured to provide a mix of instruction and involvement. “The program comprises 560 hours extending over 16 weeks for up to 15 students,” she said. “This includes four weeks of classroom education and 12 weeks of internship and job shadowing. This combination of classroom education and hands-on experience is vital to the success of the students.”

As part of the classroom education, students learn a property management curriculum based on a modified version of IREM’s course, Managing Residential Properties. This course contains modules on human resources and relationship management, marketing and leasing, maintenance and risk management, finance and ethics. Additional presentations are given on topics such as business etiquette and communications, resume writing and interviewing skills, to name a few.

Campbell loved the opportunity to help people and give back. “It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with each and every one of these students—to learn their stories,” she said. “It has been so rewarding to be part of their personal growth and development. We can change our students’ lives and the lives of the next generation. It’s most exciting to see how much change we can create. We can, in fact, change their trajectory by creating a whole new trajectory for them.”

Journal of Property Management

Veronica Kelso ( is a content strategist and marketing professional based in Charlotte, N.C.

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