Just up the road from the Manitoba Premier’s Office, Karina Antler and Michael Reid are busy making an impact as VIDA Community Leaders and Building Ambassadors. The roles involve daily building maintenance and supporting others, which has struck a chord with the couple.
“It’s something Michael and I love with a passion,” says Karina. “Becoming a Building Ambassador helps generate so many valued life skills, especially when it comes to maintenance-type work and dealing with people. Painting, cleaning, yard work, and customer service; you learn so much through VIDA.”
The couple has lived in their unit on Broadway for five years. And when the building came under the welcomed ownership of VIDA in 2022, Karina and Michael saw something unique about the Building Ambassador role being offered to residents.
“The part that drew my attention to the role was the community engagement aspect,” says Karina. “I mentioned to Michael how it seemed different, and something we could do together.”
Michael was quick to agree and jumped aboard.
“When we were introduced to VIDA, the first real experience was the community picnic they put on,” he recalls. “They mentioned the Building Ambassador roles that would soon be available. And we felt we’d be a great fit because neighbours always knocked on our door for various things anyway.”
Shortly after, the couple became the Building Ambassadors at 579 Broadway, and even tagged on another VIDA building to their “BA” portfolio, 229 Machray. Now the experience has become a new positive feature for the two lifelong Winnipeg residents. And skills training sessions through programming like VIDA U help make access to learning easy.
“VIDA has been wonderful for us; it’s not like any other company out there,” says Karina. “Most places that involve the operation of residential buildings don’t provide the same level of opportunity, training and community like VIDA does. Taking care of the residents and bringing everyone together makes me happy.”
Michael’s wealth of experience in food and customer service certainly translates well in helping residents. And in addition to being a professional cleaner, Karina has seen the opportunity to take after her father, who served as a building caretaker when she was growing up.
“My dad was a single father, and he did that pretty much his whole life,” she says. “I was around that environment as a baby – till the day he passed. I got to watch him do these great things around buildings. And I saw the Building Ambassador role as a special way to connect to what he did.”
Juggling outside work along with the responsibilities of VIDA, Karina and Michael still find time to enjoy other aspects of their lives. The couple has taken to checking out Valour FC Canadian Premier League soccer matches. And in the winter, they always enjoy following their hometown Winnipeg Jets hockey action.
With cost savings through VIDA, later this August the couple will also enjoy a well-deserved vacation. They’ll be heading the furthest east they’ve ever been, when they visit Quebec City.
“I’m proud of what we’re doing with VIDA, but I think that it’s important that we take a little break as well,” says Karina. “Everybody needs time off. And if you take care of yourself, it makes you better as a Building Ambassador.”
While Karina takes pride in VIDA’s working culture, emphasizing self-care, Michael takes credit for picking the travel destination.
“I was the one that came up with the idea to go to Quebec City, and Karina agreed,” he notes. “I picked it for multiple reasons; it’s one of the safest cities in Canada, the weather tends to be good, and Quebec was a bit off the beaten path for us.”
For Michael, the trip will mark his first time on an airplane. And Karina will get to travel by air for the first time since she was a little girl.
“It’s not a place I would necessarily think of initially,” says Karina. “But I thought exploring and seeing different places would be important. We plan to join a proper tour of the city. We’ll also check out the Montmorency Waterfalls, different restaurants and stores. It should be interesting because we haven’t had the opportunity to really go anywhere else.
When the trip is over, the couple will be recharged and ready to return home to their two cats, Ming Ming and Tigra. They’ll also be prepared to jump back into their community passion – VIDA.
“Anyone considering the Building Ambassador role, we totally recommend it,” says Karina. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me in my life. I’m very happy to be a part of VIDA. I have zero regrets and love the energy around VIDA, the staff and how VIDA cares about their employees and residents is amazing. I love being a part of the team. And I’ll certainly vouch for VIDA, given our experience.”
If you have enjoyed Karina and Michael’s story and would like to learn more about our BAs journeys at VIDA, please head to our YouTube channel.
VIDA media contact: Joel Goodman, Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org