Capturing resident stories is one of VIDA's favorite iniatives as they insipre us to keep pushing the envelope in the affordable housing industry!
In this Resident & Building Ambassador (BA) Journey Interview, we speak with Brandi Bond, our Halifax community member. Brandi shares her experience about how she initially heard about VIDA and how she became a Building Ambassador. She also discusses the different skills that she has acquired while working as a Building Ambassador and how the company offers courses to help its employees grow.
If you're not able to watch the interview on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1cItbXDFzI, below you can read the transcript. Hope you enjoy!
Q: How did you initially hear about VIDA?
A: I moved back to the city with my two kids and saw a post online that I applied to. I got a response within two to three weeks and was able to move in.
Q: Did you immediately hear about the Building Ambassador role, or did that happen later?
A: The Building Ambassador role kind of fell into my lap. Initially, I was just cleaning the building. I started with one building and then moved on to cleaning two buildings. Then I had the opportunity to run a building as a Building Ambassador. Now, I run three buildings.
Q: That's quite an impressive workload for a Building Ambassador. How do you manage it?
A: I'm really lucky that my parents are very much part of the community. I have a good system with everyone, and everyone's very helpful and understanding. They're also very self-sufficient, which makes my job easier when people try to be part of the community and help out.
Q: I noticed some fresh-looking cabinets and paint behind you. What's going on?
A: We just finished renovating this unit in Dartmouth, and we're going to do another unit turn after this for some new tenants. We're definitely trying to make these units feel like home for people, so we've put a lot of work into them to make sure that when you come into it, it's something that you can be proud of.
Q: With two young children, it must be special to have them watch you work so hard. What skills of yours do you think are of most value in your work as a Building Ambassador?
A: I've taught myself how to do drywall, painting, and fix potholes with glasses. I've also learned how to lay flooring. There are so many opportunities to grow with this company if you take advantage of it. We offer courses to teach people how to do anything, so there's really so much room to grow if someone wants to take advantage. I'm going to take every course I can to get as far as I can with this company because I believe in it wholeheartedly.
Q: What kind of courses does VIDA offer?
A: VIDA offers courses on uncommonly used skills, like installing rubber baseboards. We buy buildings that are a little bit older, so there's never any shortage of potential projects to help elevate the buildings and give residents a feeling of pride. We offer these courses to residents too if they want to learn anything. If you can use a hammer, there's always something to do.
Q: Lastly, I know from our exchanges that you help other Building Ambassadors. Can you tell me more about that?
A: Yes, I'm always happy to help other Building Ambassadors. We're a tight-knit community, and it's nice to have each other's backs. I'm always available to lend a hand or offer advice.
Q: Can you tell us about the skills that a Building Ambassador should have?
A: Building Ambassadors need to be efficient in communication, able to coordinate with their community leaders, and work well with others. They also need to be hands-on, as there are several tasks that they have to perform, such as fixing potholes and other construction work.
Q: What are some of the things that you can see Building Ambassadors helping each other with?
A: Building Ambassadors can help each other with several things, such as bouncing ideas back and forth, getting support, and sharing knowledge. They can also assist in construction work and help in fixing various things around the building.
Q: Can you tell us about your proudest moment as a Building Ambassador?
A: My proudest moment was when I fixed potholes that were at least a foot deep. The tenants were getting upset, and I decided to take the initiative to do something about it. I filled five potholes that day, and it felt great to see the residents happy with the outcome.
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a Building Ambassador at VIDA?
A: I would say, "Do it!" It has changed my life, and I'm much happier now than I could ever be in a medical admin force. Being a Building Ambassador has given me the opportunity to be hands-on and get my kids involved. There's always someone who will help you, and if you want to make money, there's always an opportunity to clean the building or help out.
Q: Any final thoughts on your experience as a Building Ambassador?
A: This opportunity has changed my life for the better, and I'm going to keep doing it. I really believe in this company, and I'm grateful to be a part of it. It's given me the opportunity to afford a place in this market and provide for my family. It's been an incredible journey, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds.