Louise Elsey, Chief Operating Officer for Avenue Living Communities, describes her move into her new role as a defining career moment. Elsey joined Avenue Living in February 2019, and was appointed as the company’s Chief Operating Officer during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is a time when we learn a lot about ourselves; as leaders, and as people,” said Elsey.
Elsey has been one of Avenue Living’s key leaders in being proactive and meeting the challenges presented by COVID-19 as the company has undertaken numerous initiatives in the past month to support both its residents and its employees during this crisis.
What has it been like to run a company of this magnitude with this kind of a crisis on her hands?
“The COVID-19 crisis has certainly added an additional layer of pressure. There is a heightened level of responsibility to our residents, our staff, and our investors; not just for business as usual operations, but for being responsive in this ever-changing landscape,” said Elsey.
“I’m pleased with our efforts to date. All our teams are continuing to offer great service, and as a collective leadership team, our communications and efforts to adapt our business protocols in the face of a pandemic, have been really well done and well received,” said Elsey. “This is a time for true leadership, and I think we’ve shown that. It speaks to Avenue Living’s entrepreneurial spirit. We are a very nimble organization, and we move quickly.”
Elsey says her work in property management came from her passion to connect people with a place to call home.
“I moved a lot as a child and I always felt that home is something that’s more than just bricks and mortar. Having somewhere to feel safe, comfortable and quite simply at home, resonates strongly with me.”
Elsey was born and raised just outside of Windsor in England and began her career as a realtor 20 years ago. She was certified as a property manager and ran the largest and most successful property management branch for a company in England that had 15 locations, where her team served 500 different landlords.
After moving to Canada, Elsey got a job at Northview Apartment REIT in Calgary, as the leasing and marketing manager national operations, where she oversaw sales teams in 18 locations across the country. She then moved into the role of Corporate Secretary where she worked as board advisor and oversaw corporate governance and disclosure.
“It was a phenomenal experience. As a newcomer to Canada, I was grateful for the extensive travel as well as embraced the experience of seeing different parts of the country,” she said.
In her new leadership role for just under a month, Louise forecasts a bright future for Avenue Living Communities and its residents. She and her team are already producing great results with a record number of renewal activity. Sound operational efforts have already produced a collection rate of 87 per cent (as of April 13). In addition, Avenue Living’s in-house call center is maintaining a service level of 98.5 per cent, despite adapting to a remote, work from home environment.
“There will come a time when we are past this global crisis, and even as we adapt to the realities of right now, we are working on new improvements for our resident experience each and every day.”