When you grow up Floridian, watersports are often a way of life. Summer Davis spent her salad days in the idyllic Gulf Coast town of Sarasota where wakeboarding became a favorite pastime. The interest continued well into her college years at the University of Central Florida and – as the sport is well known for its acrobatic maneuvers – it could be argued that she took these skills to heart as her career began to flourish.
Davis began her professional life in Orlando with a five-year stint in advertising and public relations – the field in which she is degreed – but when life events took her home to Sarasota, that’s when the board on which she’d been riding really lifted off the water’s surface.
“It was almost by mistake,” said Davis, who was recently named Orlando regional manager for Miami-based Monument Real Estate Services. “But in retrospect I’d call it a blessing. I was just looking for something short-term as I was planning on moving up north – to New York or Philadelphia -- to one of the bigger cities in the northeast to continue my career in advertising and public relations….”
The need to save money for a move prompted a bit of a detour, however. She saw an ad in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for what they called a full-time MIT, or manager-in-training for a property management firm. She had zero experience, save that of a community resident.
“This was 2003 and I was 25,” she notes. “I had rented plenty of apartments at that point in my life. I didn’t know much about the industry but they hired me. I started right at the very bottom: Leasing agent 101.
“Eight months later, I was running a 176-unit property in Spartanburg, S.C.,” she continued. “People I meet often ask if my background is military." This move to Orlando is her 15th in 11 years.
In the past, she’s been known among colleagues as “the fixer.”
“I was one of those people they would assign to distressed properties or portfolios, whether due to a repositioning deal or a new acquisition…. It may have needed some turnaround or a repositioning in the market. It could have been an A or B asset that just needed some closer attention to detail when it came to management or staffing. Or it could have been starting from ground zero, where we’d just purchased an acquisition and I’d have to go in and deal with all the Capex work and the lease-ups....”
Seven markets and 15 cities later, she is thrilled to be back in Orlando and even more so for the start of her tenure at Monument. Davis looks forward to more of what she loves best about property management.
“The people is what drew me into this field and held me,” she said. “Not only the people with whom I work, but also the customers, the residents…. I really feel like I make an impact. There are so many different facets to why people rent. They could be the kid who’s getting their first apartment after high school or college – such an exciting time to be a part of. They might have just transferred to a new city for a job and need to learn the area. They may be renting due to a divorce or some other life change. I enjoy assisting them in these transitions.”
And while an accident a few years back has tamped down her enjoyment of wakeboarding, Davis has other interests to fall back on. She began taking piano lessons as a young girl and continued that through high school. That interest in music has bled into other pursuits, as well.
“I am an avid reader – strictly biographical,” she says, pointing to a bookshelf crammed with music bios and rattling them off. “Elvis, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, the Doors, Mick Jagger, Kurt Cobain, Ozzy Osbourne….”
Back in the ‘90s, Davis frequented many an Orlando live music venue, most notably the Sapphire Supper Club, which has since transformed into The Social. She’s likely to check out a show sooner or later.
“Career comes first these days,” she notes, eager to get out on the front lines of growth with Monument’s new venture here in Central Florida. “I think I’m going to be plenty busy, but I will try and get out to see some live music as often as I can.”