With one final grunt, the tired, old John Deere engine sputtered, then roared to life, its square front end pointed toward the fields just beyond the old barn. Perched high upon the faded yellow seat, a young Michele Florence made her way out to the tobacco fields before returning to the barn where the plants were hung to dry. As a child growing up in on a farm in rural Kentucky, Michele learned not only the value of an honest day’s work, but also that a little southern hospitality can go a long way.
Today as Action Property Management’s general manager of Azzurra, a 450-unit high-rise building of luxury condominiums in Marina Del Rey, California, Michele still uses her southern charm to offer warm greetings as she reassures those around her that she can solve whatever problems they throw her way.
Throughout her young adult years, Michele embraced her southern heritage. In addition to a working knowledge of farm life, she wasn’t afraid to turn a wrench when necessary. Whether she needed to put in a new transmission or just adjust the clutch, she loved to get her hands dirty.
One of her favorite cars of those early years was a 1991 Ford Mustang GT. With its two-tone green on grey paint job and five-speed manual transmission, she could turn heads wherever she went, even at the local racetrack.
So how did a country girl like Michele end up managing a beachside luxury high-rise in Los Angeles? As with most people in the property management industry, she fell into the business. While still in her early twenties in Kentucky, Michele was managing a fast food restaurant. One day, one of her regular customers suggested that she speak with his wife, who worked at a luxury rental property in Lexington, Kentucky. He thought Michele might be a good fit for the property management business.
”Michele’s adaptive personality lets her feel at ease in nearly any environment and she naturally has a way of making others feel the same way.
Michele took his advice and followed up with the customer’s wife. After making a positive impression, she was hired as a leasing consultant at an apartment complex. A promotion to assistant manager soon followed, and another month after that, the manager left, leaving Michele to fend for herself. A few months later, the management office was damaged from a fire and a twenty-four year old Michele was tasked with salvaging what was left and setting up a new temporary office in a trailer.
From there, Michele continued working in a variety of local rental management positions until she and her husband decided to pursue city life by moving to Southern California. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last and Michele eventually found herself alone in Los Angeles with no family nearby. Almost on a whim, she tossed her name in the hat for a couple of property management positions in New York City. A few weeks later, the job offers came in and it was time to start packing.
Still a southern girl at heart, Michele’s gracious greetings became a hallmark of her character. As she navigated a whole new life in Manhattan, her superiors often noted how her approach to simple tasks like answering a telephone instantly put callers at ease. As a result, she again found her career path on an upward trajectory and within a few years received several promotions that led to her serving as a director at a prestigious property management company in NYC.
Then the world changed as the Covid pandemic settled in across the once-vibrant city. When life suddenly ground to a halt, the country girl was struck with the realization that it was time to leave the big city in search of something new. That search ended up leading her, of all places, back to LA. It was at this time that she was offered the position with Action at Azzurra.
Today she enjoys coastal living as she and a staff of 48 people make sure that Azzurra consistently lives up to the values that have shaped Action into one of California’s premier property management companies.
Whether she’s in New York, Los Angeles, or Lexington, Kentucky, Michele’s adaptive personality lets her feel at ease in nearly any environment and she naturally has a way of making others feel the same way. From horses in a pasture to horses under the hood, the southern country girl always lurks just below the surface of her big city facade. By masterfully blending two vastly different worlds, Michele Florence brings the best of the city and the best of the country into perfect harmony as she seeks to improve the quality of life for the people of Azzurra.