Krystina Huertas | Senior Property Manager

Krystina Huertas

Why did you decide to go into commercial real estate?

My longtime childhood friend Chrysta Buck called me and asked if I was able to fill in for a couple weeks as a temporary receptionist at Lee & Associates. I was eager to work my way up; after I’d been there a few weeks they liked me and asked me to stay and my role grew from there. I worked as a marketing coordinator, held a research position and worked as an administrative assistant. Chrysta eventually took me on here team and that was when I transitioned into management.  Mentorship was huge for me; in management you can only learn so much from having a broker’s license or taking classes. It’s a relationship-based business, and I’ve learned from great mentors along the way.

What was the toughest challenge you faced when you were starting out?

It was difficult to make tenants feel happy and comfortable in a bad situation, to learn how to juggle during chaos. Early on, I had a difficult situation where a village project caused my building to unexpectedly lose water for a day. My tenants were upset and I was scrambling, calling plumbers and doing everything I could. Emotions were high but by the end of the day everyone was happy and was thanking me. I got thrown in the deep end and I survived. My dad was a fireman and sometimes I feel like I am, too, because I’m there to “put out fires” and step in to help out in stressful situations.

What advice do you have for women pursuing a career in CRE?

Find a mentor, attend every event and networking opportunity, talk to as many people as you can and pick their brains. Never be afraid to talk with the top people in your organization – approach your leadership team and get to know them. Also, in management, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty: In any major issue or big situation it always helps to be there and to see things with your own eyes. I keep rain boots in my car so I can be the literal “boots on the ground” if there’s ever a pipe burst or any other unexpected event.

Tell a story about a time when you were inspired by the story or words of a woman in CRE.

I joined Shawn Brown’s team when I first came to Hiffman. I didn’t know how to handle financials because I hadn’t done it before. Shawn’s style is straight to the point – she doesn’t sugarcoat things and I really respect that. Because of her I learned fast and had a handle on what I needed to know within a month.