Sometimes to get where you’re going, you just need someone to help you along the way. I discovered that in my own life when I was young and just doing my best to get by. It was at that time when I ended up getting a job as an office manager for the Apartment Owner’s Association of Alameda County.

The executive director of the AOA, Mike Kanalakis, was a big influence and a tremendous role model for me. He took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew, from renting out a unit to serving notices. Mike had been in the rental business forever, and owned a few apartments himself, so “everything he knew” was quite a lot.

It was thanks to his support that I was able to step out of my comfort zone and develop a great deal of confidence in my career. I spent nine years at that job, hosting legal seminars and learning all about property management; but by the time Mike retired, I was ready to move on, too.


Thankfully, I had proved my value over the years, and was hired by another board member from the AOA, who owned a property management company called Felson Builders (known today as Felson Management). I would work there for the next eight years. Make no mistake: property management is a difficult job. It requires you to be organized, detail-oriented, and above all, patient. But I know my experience made me a better professional, and even a better person.

In 1997, my husband Kevin was transferred from his job in the San Francisco Bay Area up to El Dorado Hills. We had figured we were settled—my children had already grown and moved out—but life has a way of surprising you with a new adventure.