We take time out with Assistant Property Manager, Alma Volk, to learn about her journey at urbanbubble so far.
Tell us about your role at urbanbubble
As an Assistant Property Manager, I’m the initial point of contact for residents, leaseholders, and freeholders at urbanbubble. When someone has a question, or needs to request support, they can get a quick response from me on email or over the phone.
It’s my role to arrange repairs and manage the caretakers on site, who interact with residents on a daily basis. By overseeing this activity and engaging with our staff as well as occupants, I ensure that operations on site run smoothly.
How long have you been with urbanbubble?
I started at urbanbubble just over 18 months ago, when I moved to the UK from America. I’ve worked in a couple of teams over that time, but recently returned to my original team, which I love being a part of!
What’s your background?
Before joining urbanbubble, I worked for a year as a property manager in New York. As my previous background was in sales, this gave me a glimpse at the real estate sector, and I decided that it was something I’d like to pursue long-term.
The company I worked for in America specialised in sales and lettings. As such, while I already had experience as a property manager, getting to grips with block management during my time at urbanbubble has been an interesting challenge.
It’s a totally different ball game – seeing as I’m dealing with leaseholders instead of tenants – but it’s very rewarding, with a similar focus on organising resources and timescales.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Settling into my role was a test at first, as I was surprised to find that the property market in Manchester is much more fast-paced than it is in New York. As most of the people in our buildings are professionals, they are short on time and want swift results. It took a little while to adjust, but I’ve found it’s made me a much better property manager.
I began in Kate’s team when I joined urbanbubble, but just 3 months into the role was selected to join the new team, dealing with 30 smaller properties. As there was only myself and my line manager in this team, it was a really fulfilling challenge, especially as many of the residents in these properties were older and more vulnerable.
Now, I’ve moved back to my original team, which means I’m managing big, city centre blocks once more. Proving myself in multiple settings, as well as looking at both the more bespoke and large-scale end of the spectrum, has been a great achievement for me, and a valuable learning curve.
How are urbanbubble different?
One thing that I’ve really seen during my time here is that urbanbubble care about people. They started out small and, while it might not be feasible to deliver the same level of personal service as the company grows, the team have remained true to their ethos.
Working with Kate has really inspired me; her professional nature and willingness to meet and engage with owners and residents has influenced my own approach to property management. It’s always great to see improvements to the buildings as a result of changes and investments we’ve made, such as hanging decorative, inspiring artwork in the foyers.
Essentially, we understand that people want to have a nice home – I live in a city centre block myself and can relate to this, as can my colleagues. When dealing with enquiries and questions, we try to put ourselves in the occupants’ shoes, and find a fair solution to any issues they may have.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
When people think of management, most assume it’s going to be a bad or stressful experience. I love challenging these perceptions, and surprising people with a positive response that leaves them feeling more than satisfied with the service they get from urbanbubble. It’s really rewarding to see how happy people are with the changes we’ve made, especially when we get a ‘thank you’ from our clients and residents!
When you’re not at work, how do you unwind?
I love to stay busy, which is why I have a second job as a freelance translator. I’m an active traveller, so this funds my adventures, whether it’s getting outdoors or attending a festival. Manchester is a great base for this; there’s so much going on in the city that I’m never short of things to do!