One of things that sets Action Property Management apart from other management companies is its commitment to upholding its values. These values are integrated into every aspect of the company, so much so that every new hire must demonstrate a commitment to them in their own lives before a job offer is ever extended.
One of those values is “We are a team.” For Derek Mashal, Action’s on-site regional manager in San Francisco, the concept of team extends much deeper. His story came to a climax during an extreme circumstance last May, but it all began many years before.
As a college student in his native Jordan, Derek studied asset management with the goal of one day working in the property management industry. Upon moving to the United States, he continued to pursue that career with further education at Northeastern University in Boston.
After graduation, he entered the profession on the commercial leasing side and quickly proved his worth. Given his success on the job, Derek eventually began to dream of tapping into his entrepreneurial nature by opening his own business. Once all the details were in place, he quit the job he had studied for and opened a gourmet pizza restaurant in Walnut Creek, California.
With Derek’s unrelenting commitment to excellence, it’s no wonder that the restaurant proved to be a success, and after five years, he was able to sell the business at a significant profit. This gave him the financial flexibility to re-enter the property management game, but this time on the HOA management side. In 2017, he accepted an entry level position with Action.
Starting at the bottom as an assistant manager provided him with both experience and motivation. As a man who has always taken his work seriously, Derek quickly moved up the chain. He was soon promoted to a community manager, and upon completion of his California Association of Community Managers certification, to portfolio manager. Seeking to better himself even further, he later earned certification from the Community Association Managers International Certification Board.
After a few years of working for Action, an on-site general manager position was offered to him at another management company. Seeing the opportunity to continue his upward climb, Derek took the job. As he was leaving Action, he knew he would someday come back. In his mind, he was simply leaving his family to go to college for a few years before returning.
”Starting at the bottom as an assistant manager provided him with both experience and motivation. As a man who has always taken his work seriously, Derek quickly moved up the chain.
The opportunity to come home was made available to him last year when Action leadership reached out to offer him the position he is now in. Eager to return to the family he knew, Derek took the offer. He now reflects on how far he has come in just five short years — from assistant manager to community manager to portfolio manager, then to general manager and finally to regional manager overseeing a team of general managers.
Last May, however, his meteoric rise in the industry was threatened. Derek and his teenage daughter had taken their annual trip to Jordan to visit with his mother and enjoy pursuing their shared passion of riding horses.
As he often does, Derek left his daughter for an extended visit with her grandmother and set out to return to San Francisco. Along the way, there was an event in Turkey that he wanted to attend, so he made arrangements for a very quick stop in that country. While there, Derek witnessed an attack in a hotel lobby that was linked to the upcoming presidential election.
As a result of his seeing a high-profile crime in progress, the Turkish government asked him to remain in the country until the first hearing could be held for the accused. Derek was alone. He was trapped in a country where he knew no one. The U.S. Embassy stepped in and helped him secure housing and a translator, but for much of his stay, he had no friends and no family nearby.
Derek had always viewed the team at Action as an extension of his family. During this ordeal, he learned the leadership of the company was just as committed to him as he was to them. As a result of people like his boss, Candace Caldana-Walk, and company CEO, Matthew Holbrook, reaching out and continually encouraging him, Derek’s loyalty to the company grew even deeper. After being reassured that his position was secure, Derek got ahold of his laptop and did everything he could to keep things moving forward.
Given the time difference between San Francisco and Turkey, he had to make significant adjustments to his schedule, beginning his workday at 7:00pm each night and working until the early morning hours.
After six weeks in Turkey, Derek was finally allowed to come home. “I’ve worked for a number of companies,” Derek said, “but I’ve never seen the bond between team members that we have at Action.” He attributes this bond to the common values that permeate the lives of everyone on the team.
If you simply look at a piece of paper, you will find that one of Action’s values is “We are a team.” But if you look at the people who live out that value, it reads, “We are a family.”