March 8, 2021
International Women’s Day: Getting to Know the Female Faces of Foxridge
Ladies, happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re spotlighting some of the female faces of Foxridge with a Q&A. From construction to sales, get to know some of the women behind Foxridge (after all, Qualico was co-founded by a woman, Katherine Friesen, who was recently recognized as one of 150 Trailblazing women in Manitoba).
Q: How long have you been working for Foxridge Homes and what do you like most about working here?
Michelle Buchanan, Site Safety Coordinator: I have been with Foxridge Homes for just over 9 months. I came from a totally different industry than what I am in now. I love what I do, I find that upper management is very supportive when I have issues that need to be addressed. No two days are the same for me. It is always something different.
Schvaun Fryer, Pre-Occupancy Representative: My time has been short but I started at Parkview Estates in late September 2020. The thing I like the most about working at Foxridge Homes is the dedication of all whom I’ve had a pleasure of working with work so far. To give only the best to our homeowners and to never settle for less than the best.
Sandy Nijjer, Director of Sales: I have been with Foxridge Homes as Sales Director for a year now, I was with Streetside (our sister company) prior to that as a Sales Manager. What I love most about working here are the people I work with, we are all working towards the same goal – beautiful, high quality homes, and happy customers.
Shanon Simmons, Warranty Manager: 7 years. I started as a Warranty Coordinator, got promoted to Warranty Supervisor, and then Warranty Manager. I like working with a close knit team and resolving homeowner concerns. The most rewarding is when a homeowner reaches out with what they perceive to be a major issue and we’re able to come in, smooth it over, and leave them smiling and happy with the results.
Amie Tran, Marketing Manager: I’ve worked at Foxridge for 6.5 years and started as a Marketing Coordinator. My favourite thing about working here is the autonomy and trust given to employees at all levels.
Sherry Whitter, Project Sales Manager: Since September 26, 2006 (15 years). I’ve worked most of my time on Burke Mountain (12 years). Because we have such a wide variety of options and colours to choose from, I get to sit down with purchasers and really get to know their style. I love meeting new people and building relationships with my homeowners. Some of them have become good friends and have even bought multiple homes from me.
Q: Did you always see yourself working in the real estate/construction industry?
Buchanan: I was a baker for 14 years who lost their job due to store closures. I decided to go back to school and decided that this would be my best fit. Turns out not only do I love what I am now doing, I am good at what I do. My job is safety and I love that no 2 days are ever the same.
Fryer: 13 years ago I was lucky enough to have met a fellow lady in the trade whom saw talent in me. I realized how passionate I became doing the work and received so much satisfaction seeing a home improve and change by the things I was doing.
Nijjer: Not at all! I never saw myself in Sales, my background and schooling is in Psychology and Human Resources. I was introduced to real estate when I started doing book keeping for a developer and their townhouse site as well as their brokerage, they were very small so I was able to learn quite a few different roles. They lost a sales representative and I stepped in and the rest is history!
Simmons: I’ve never envisioned working in the real estate industry, but always knew I wanted to do something customer focused as helping people is my passion.
Tran: No, I originally wanted to work in destination or hospitality marketing because of my love for travel but was offered a job in real estate upon graduating from post secondary, fell in love with the industry, and have never looked back!
Whitter: I used to work in an office, in a cubicle but if you’ve met me, you’d know that it was impossible for me to stay confined to the cubicle. I didn’t enjoy the cubicle life so I looked elsewhere. My friend, now colleague, Tracy Philipchalk was working in the real estate industry and was always trying to get me to apply. I finally gave it a go and was hired as a Sales Assistant for Foxridge Homes in 2006. I was promoted in 2007 to a Sales Manager and I’ve never looked back. It really is the perfect job for a ‘Chatty Cathy’ like me. I get to talk to new people daily, my colleagues feel like family and I work in a gorgeous showhome, selling beautiful and extremely well built homes.
Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Buchanan: That I can’t always make everyone happy. There are going to be days that I am the most hated person on the jobsite. That goes in line with my position though because everyone always wants to take a shortcut if they can and my job is safety and their shortcuts are not always the safest method.
Fryer: The most important lesson I’ve learned is to stay open minded. There’s always more than one way of doing things. Never stop learning!
Nijjer: Everyone has a story and their own perspective and just taking the time to listen and understand where they are coming from will make the world of difference. Essentially, listen more-talk less
Simmons: Never give up. If you are passionate about something be persistent and don’t get discouraged.
Tran: Take the time to network and put yourself out there (I’m still working on this!) because relationships really matter.
Whitter: Make real connections and listen to people.
Q: What advice would you give to young women today just starting out their career?
Buchanan: My advice would be the same thing that I have always told my own daughter. You can do anything in this world that you choose to do. You are strong, you are capable, and you are driven. Do not let things get to you, let it roll off your back. If it is something serious do not be afraid to come forward. Just because you are a female in this industry does not mean that you should be treated any less than anyone else.
Fryer: Keep your head held high. Own your faults. We all make mistakes but learn from them. You can only control your reaction not the reaction of others.
Nijjer: You never know where life will take you, seize the opportunities that present themselves, even if it’s not what you envisioned, life has a way of surprising you.
Simmons: Be yourself. Don’t stop being true to yourself to be more likeable. It’s better to be liked for who you are, or not liked at all.
Tran: Approach everything with a good attitude because skills can always be taught.
Whitter: Find a career that aligns with your personality, passion and interests or you will be forever bored.