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Posted March 4, 2024

The Friendly Smile of Lindsay Totten Makes VIDA Thrive 

Lindsay Totten remembers the sense of trepidation she felt upon hearing the type of news that would change her career trajectory. As a mother (of a young daughter), a healthy balance of career and family was something she wanted to maintain as things were about to shift around her.  

It was back in October of 2021, and the company she worked for as a regional sales manager was on the cusp of selling their entire real estate portfolio to VIDA. A lifelong Truro, Nova Scotia resident, Lindsay saw the Halifax-based company set on a lofty mission to revolutionize affordable communities and felt skeptical. Totten was used to the traditional rinse-and-repeat approach within Canada’s apartment rental industry, guarded by management control.  

Meanwhile, VIDA featured a new level of empowerment and opportunity for residents, whom they called customers. The operations on the ground were centred around an unknown role called the Building Ambassador, where residents could have the opportunity to step into their gifts, learn new skills, and even manage the buildings they lived in. Additionally, the company’s corporate benefits were shocking. But her fears would eventually evaporate with a new opportunity the company was set to offer.  

“Initially, I thought this is too good to be true,” admits Totten. “The whole cultural concept and model of unlimited vacation, mandatory life days and all the benefits of physical and mental health were unique. I said to myself, ‘This doesn’t seem like a typical company. Once I was fully introduced to things like the Building Ambassador role and what it can be for someone, it was a game-changer for me. The Building Ambassadors play a pivotal role in reshaping the environment within VIDA's buildings and solidifying a supportive community.” 

The role of Building Ambassadors (BA) are a stark contrast to the tired and traditional landscape of the residential apartment industry. Building Ambassadors are the eyes and ears on the ground; connecting the community, handling minor repairs and conducting unit turns. They encourage residents to keep common areas clean, address maintenance issues, and their presence transforms people’s living experiences. 

Lindsay is a firm believer in VIDA’s model, working closely with BAs, as she manages operations in her hometown and all the company’s properties across the provinces of Manitoba, PEI, and New Brunswick. A hard worker, Totten’s people skills also make her the ideal person for BAs and residents to engage with. Her glowing smile and friendly demeanour reflect in the responses VIDA receives regularly around her work.   

“I’ve never found myself bored at VIDA. I know the company supports me, and I can grow with it, and that’s exciting,” she notes. “The customers are so important to my role. I’m happy I get to work with them, whatever the level of work that may be involved. I’ve seen customers not able to pay their rent, and we’ve been great at offering alternative solutions to help with situations. If someone has skills in painting, they can help add some fresh colour to the community and help take off some of the amount owed by fixing something.”   

Today Lindsay’s old trepidation is gone. It’s been replaced with confidence and optimism of what a new rental model can do, helping affordable communities thrive and regenerate.