In June, The Liberty Group’s Laura Lestus was named by the Houston Apartment Association as their 2014 Supplier of the Year. This marked the second year in a row in which a Liberty employee has received this award, with Sales Associate Dean O’Kelley winning in 2013.
The HAA’s Cody Miller recently sat down with Laura to discuss the award, her extensive volunteer efforts with the HAA, her advice on achieving success, and more. Click the preview to the left for the full article, or read the text below.
2014 Honors: Laura Lestus
A steadfast volunteer for HAA, Laura Lestus, The Liberty Group, is HAA’s 2014 Supplier of the Year.
Interviewed by Cody Miller, HAA Intern
Laura Lestus, The Liberty Group, is a longtime, steadfast volunteer for HAA, serving on the Resident Relations and Community Relations committees, and as an Ambassador co-chair, to name just a few. A CAS designate since 2009, she also serves on the HAA Product Service Council and says, “It is our responsibility to share our experience and mentor new supplier members in order to continue to grow our association year over year.”
How did it feel when they called your name? What does this award mean to your career?
I was blown away. I don’t know another way to say it. I am so honored to even be considered for such an award. As for my career, I have received the affirmation that investing in others with everything that I have comes back tenfold.
How long have you been in your current position? In the industry?
I found my home at The Liberty Group in 2008 and have watched our company and industry grow exponentially. The growth the multi-family industry has experienced has been amazing, and I am blessed to be a part of this family. Starting as a part-time leasing agent in 1998, I never expected that I would find my dream career helping others discover their career in our industry.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What don’t I enjoy? I am able to spend time with people I love six-plus days a week, and I have built relationships with people that I would never been able to unless I was active in HAA. The love and support I receive personally and professionally cannot be measured. It’s kind of a no-brainer. I basically have the platform to do all of the community work and volunteering my heart desires. I am only an extension of my company president, Ken Bohan, who understands that with giving we will always get back what has been given to us.
What advice can you offer to someone new to help him or her be successful?
Don’t give up. We are not all like Izzy Garza, Mark Park, Kristen McLaughlin, Jacob Kunath, James Gregory and Dean O’Kelley, to name a few, who command attention when they walk In the room. You can still make as large of an impact to your success in our industry, even if your strength is not public speaking. Be present, participate, do what you say you are going to do and care about the success of others as much as yourself and you will thrive.
How do you see this award impacting your career?
I am extremely honored to receive the Supplier of the Year award. Yes, my name is on the award, but a whole company has earned the award, my local team specifically. It is a team effort. If I didn’t have the support of The Liberty Group and my powerhouse team – Dean, Fernando, Kristi, Arely, Krista, Mercedes, Yuvia, Kristina and Angie – I would not be able to volunteer like I do. My whole team won, and we are ready to take it to the next level for our clients and HAA.
She is a true professional with character, grace and integrity. Laura is a face for HAA. She attends nearly every event, often greeting us as we enter. She is a role model for new vendors joining our industry. When you speak to Laura, she always makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room.” – Kelley Suess, Greystar
We could not be more proud of Laura for being recognized as the Supplier of the Year. Laura is one of those unusual people who lives life striving to make a difference, and she does. From volunteering in the community, exceeding her customers’ expectations and contributing her many talents to the multifamily industry to serving as an advocate for parents with teens suffering from alcohol/drug addiction and sharing that effervescent smile of hers, she shakes the world in her own gentle way.” – Ken Bohan, The Liberty Group