It was December of 2014 and winter was hitting hard in Chicago. To escape the harsh conditions, Kate Drobny packed her suitcase and boarded a plane bound for Costa Rica. Upon arrival things were different. The snow and freezing conditions of the Windy City became nothing more than a distant memory, replaced instead by sunshine and warm air. It was here that Kate narrowed her life down to one important decision. She had to either quit complaining about the weather in Chicago or move somewhere warmer.
A few months later, she packed up again, this time taking much more than just a suitcase, and headed west. Her brother and his family lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, so Kate set out to find a job, a home, and warmth closer to them.
Given her background in property management in Chicago, Kate’s first job in California was with another property management firm at the Lumina high-rise building in San Francisco. She stayed there for the next three years before making the jump to Action Property Management.
Her first job with Action was at the Harrison, a new high-rise condominium building that was in the initial sales phase at that time. Since the building was still in the development stage, Kate played an integral role in bridging the gap between the new residents and the developer who still managed the project.
The experience of working in partnership with a project developer prepared her for Action’s next big project and, perhaps, the most unique opportunity of her career — becoming the general manager of Yerba Buena Island.
A master-planned island community in the middle of the San Francisco Bay with views of the bridges and the city’s skyline, Yerba Buena Island offers a step away from urban stresses by embracing a casual island lifestyle and blending it with luxurious living.
Today Kate’s duties on the island include managing a small team of people who share her enjoyment of both the challenges and opportunities that come with shaping a new community. With only the first of twenty-eight phases complete, the next few years promise to be busy.
”Kate learned to master the art of listening, a skill she still uses on a daily basis to bring warmth into every conversation.
Most of Kate’s time is spent managing the Bristol, the first building on the island made up of 124 residences spread across six floors. While the community is new, it is quickly embracing the all-inclusive feel that Kate and the developers envisioned. As general manager, she works with the resident experiences coordinator to ensure that nine social events are planned monthly, each an opportunity for neighbors to connect with each other in a relaxed environment.
While Kate has 19 years of property management experience, like many of her colleagues, she never set out to make it a career.
After graduating from Illinois State University in 1996 with a degree in social work, Kate began her professional life working with mentally ill people who were often in need of addiction counseling.
While the day-to-day responsibilities of a social worker and general manager vary significantly, a common thread ties them together. Both professions revolve around meeting the needs of people. As a social worker, Kate learned to master the art of listening, a skill she still uses on a daily basis.
When she leaves the island for her own condo in the city, Kate enjoys a very social outdoor lifestyle with an urban twist. Whether she’s training for a marathon or just out for a lighter run, she is often with friends. Weekends may find her taking urban hikes through the busy city streets or climbing one of San Francisco’s many outdoor stairwells, while other times she unwinds in more traditional ways by eating out or taking in a movie with friends.
Family is also important to Kate. She’s considered “the fun aunt” to fourteen nieces and nephews and enjoys their visits as much as they enjoy being with her.
When she made the decision to trade the Windy City for the Golden State, Kate Drobny’s world was a blank slate. Today that slate is filled, not only with people, but with opportunity and warmth. As she leads her team on Yerba Buena Island, Kate hopes to bring a little bit of that warmth into every conversation she has.