Today we sat down with Konica Butler, one of our company’s most dynamic leaders to talk about faith, work, and property management. Konica is the property manager for one of our largest property in the portfolio. You don’t want to miss the insight she shares. Check it out!!

Raw Transcript:

 

it’s so funny that you ask me because i

 

watch cnn and

 

i look at some of the things on tv and

 

so i try to process what’s going on

 

and one of the things to me is empathy

 

so um usually when i throw a word out

 

there i have to really go look it up and

 

make sure i understand the full

 

meaning of what empathy means and it’s

 

the ability to understand and share

 

the feelings of another um and i know a

 

lot of

 

people say well i don’t understand but

 

you have the ability to understand

 

[Music]

 

so you know we we talk a lot at stone

 

table about faith work

 

the connection between the marketplace

 

and the mission of god in the world and

 

um you know how our everyday jobs are

 

sacred things

 

we consider you know our work sacred

 

we’ve had this

 

history i think in the church of

 

separating sacred jobs and secular jobs

 

but we

 

we don’t think that’s what scripture

 

teaches we think that scripture tells us

 

that all

 

all work is sacred and so um

 

i guess i want to know from a property

 

management standpoint

 

you’ve been doing this for a lot of

 

years even before you were at

 

cloverleaf how do you see what you do

 

and what your team

 

does through that lens um

 

you know how does your faith i know

 

you’re you’re a woman of faith

 

how does your faith impact your everyday

 

work managing

 

424 units of apartments

 

well um the funny thing about it is you

 

actually have to have faith to bring the

 

love of god to a community

 

you have to lead with your faith to even

 

to bring the love of god so

 

i have my team we try everything to

 

leave with love

 

we try to leave with dignity and uh

 

we try to lead with respect and um i

 

took the moment

 

over the years i’ve looked at the word

 

faith and one of the things that stood

 

out to me in one of the words

 

because we pledge our life to god and

 

um when i decided to get into this

 

business i decided to pledge my life to

 

this business because

 

um somebody believed in me they took the

 

time out to have the faith in me

 

and i understand these residents um i

 

was a single mom

 

i had two kids by the time i was 22. i

 

was on section 8.

 

um so somebody had to have enough faith

 

in me

 

to say hey it won’t always be like this

 

it will turn around so that’s how we

 

lead this team and i always tell people

 

that’s on our section 8 because out of

 

my portfolio i have 200 some

 

section 8 in one area so i always tell

 

people this

 

is not a death sentence you’re not made

 

to live off of the government

 

you’re here as a stepping stone so i use

 

my faith and my hope and my prayers

 

we’re constantly pushing the residents

 

forward and it’s hard to say that

 

because you don’t want to have a great

 

turnaround

 

so but at the same token you want to let

 

them know hey i have a tax credit side i

 

have a market side

 

um there’s homes out there that they’re

 

building there’s more to this life

 

instead of just generation from

 

generation looking forward to getting on

 

section 8

 

so that’s how we run this community

 

that’s how i use my faith

 

my hope and my love that they want to do

 

something better for themselves

 

and that’s how we do it i mean i think

 

that’s beautiful you know we talk a lot

 

here about

 

um you know that that people’s homes

 

that’s a sacred space right and so we’re

 

actually

 

our work is to interact with people in

 

one of the most sacred

 

spaces uh in their lives you know and uh

 

we we talk a lot about washing feet

 

right

 

and and being high quality providers of

 

affordable housing

 

and none of that happens unless we have

 

the kind of heartbeat that you just you

 

know described there

 

so i think that’s beautiful can you tell

 

us i i

 

i know you you have story after story

 

i’ve heard some of them but i i tease

 

you guys a lot that

 

one day you’ll be able to write books

 

probably on some of the stories that

 

you’ve unpacked after

 

you know decades of property management

 

but i don’t tell us the story of how

 

your team has been able to

 

positively impact a resident’s life

 

through

 

through the work that you do um i’ll

 

just throw that out there

 

i’d love to hear a story one of the ones

 

that stand out

 

to me the most is um i hired

 

a young lady that was on section 8 and

 

lived on this property for 10 years

 

so when i became the manager here i

 

watched her come in and she used to go

 

through the paperwork she would even

 

correct this they let me know she was

 

reading

 

what we were giving her so she was just

 

not living on section 8

 

but she was really trying to make it out

 

she just needed an opportunity

 

so one day um one of my workers was

 

moving

 

to the corporate office and um i asked

 

her i said i would like to interview you

 

her name is

 

marina and um she said you want to

 

interview me

 

she said i’m on section 8 i said but i

 

see more than

 

your current situation i see that you

 

can be

 

i believe in surrounding myself with the

 

team that

 

want to do what i want to do i said so i

 

see a little more you just need an

 

opportunity

 

so um i hired her i

 

made her she went from making 11 bucks

 

an hour to

 

you know making some more and um and i

 

kept pushing her to be the best

 

in that area to even to the point for

 

now she works with quad

 

l and she’s probably on tripled her

 

income so

 

i feel like when you work in this

 

position you have the opportunity

 

to give back so that’s me giving back to

 

somebody else

 

i’m deciding to reach back and pull

 

somebody forward

 

and so we do that all the time in this

 

you know

 

amongst my team we’re constantly

 

reaching back and i hired my parents to

 

do the cleaning

 

but i also asked them to reach into the

 

community they’ve hired some people

 

on um out here in the community to

 

clean the office to help with the

 

hallway so to me

 

that’s showing the love of christ yeah

 

that’s using my faith that they’re gonna

 

do their best

 

and that’s also reaching back to pull

 

them forward so that’s to me how we pour

 

love into these residents i love that

 

uh marina yeah she’s with quadel now

 

yeah she did an

 

incredible job for us uh for yeah that’s

 

that’s a great story

 

um well i i know one one of the

 

conversations i love that you and i have

 

been able to have and you’ve

 

you’ve really helped me over these last

 

four or five months

 

um it’s been a difficult season for our

 

country

 

um you know we’ve had a lot of

 

conversations a lot of

 

i feel honest conversations i hope you

 

feel the same way about

 

the racial tensions in our country and

 

um

 

and how really i i hope we can use these

 

moments to to understand and move

 

towards one another

 

right rather than to separate and and

 

run away from one another

 

so i i guess i would love some of your

 

perspective

 

maybe for other faith-based

 

organizations or just for organizations

 

in general

 

um on how we can better come alongside

 

our african-american leaders right now

 

in this season

 

and i know you and i have had some some

 

fun conversations about this some deep

 

conversations about this and

 

um and you have really helped me

 

through uh just processing some of these

 

things

 

so i just wondered what you might have

 

to share with other leaders or other

 

organizations

 

you know in in this season it’s so funny

 

that you asked me that because i watch

 

cnn and

 

i look at some of the things on tv and

 

so i try to process what’s going on

 

and one of the things to me is empathy

 

so um usually when i throw a word out

 

there i have to really go look it up

 

and make sure i understand the full

 

meaning of what empathy means

 

and it’s the ability to understand and

 

share

 

the feelings of another um and i know a

 

lot of

 

people say well i don’t understand but

 

you have the ability to understand

 

if you really search your heart you have

 

the ability to understand what i go

 

through

 

and i’m reminded and i’ll probably get a

 

little spiritual um about

 

um there’s a scripture in the bible i

 

want to say it’s romans 12 and 15

 

you rejoice when other people rejoice

 

and you weep when they weep

 

um and i’m also reminded about something

 

else

 

um when jesus in the bible when mary her

 

brother lazarus died

 

um i love that story he um and she came

 

to god weeping

 

and mighty who he is he could have stood

 

there in almightiness and say hey don’t

 

worry about that i’m going to raise him

 

from the dead

 

don’t fret stop crying but what he did

 

he showed some empathy and he began to

 

weep he became the weak and understand

 

her concerns

 

and that was his fellow brother so

 

that touched me so mightily so when

 

somebody of the opposite race

 

asked me can you weep with me can you

 

understand do you

 

actually have the ability do you have

 

the potential to understand what i’m

 

going through

 

you may not want to march because i’m

 

not marching i haven’t gotten into all

 

that yet

 

but can we have a conversation can we

 

have a conversation

 

and the first step into understanding

 

something

 

it’s funny to me it says it’s really

 

impossible i wrote something down so let

 

me read it

 

it’s really impossible to tread into the

 

lives of hurting people without getting

 

our hands dirty

 

yeah and i’m not mean physically getting

 

your hands dirty but

 

conversation there’s no right or wrong

 

answer for us to have a conversation

 

i may not speak about other

 

companies but i can speak about this one

 

and you have started the conversation

 

with me

 

you begin to have empathy you actually

 

have the ability to

 

understand what i’m what my people are

 

going through

 

you know you can weep with me you can

 

watch tv

 

and feel a sadness in your heart

 

that that shouldn’t be not judgmental

 

not looking back on their history but

 

you can actually

 

sit there and have some empathy

 

no that person didn’t need to die like

 

that right

 

so that’s what i could say

 

um community companies can do have some

 

empathy

 

really show and one more thing um i

 

think sometimes

 

i said why white white counter uh

 

co-workers

 

um you don’t know what to say and we as

 

black people i’m just gonna be real with

 

you we know the difference

 

we know the difference if somebody is

 

really trying to show their heart

 

or somebody is trying to pacify the

 

situation

 

really trying to pacify the situation

 

and um

 

as i begin to think about this i’m

 

reminded of another

 

scripture oh another parable another

 

story in the bible

 

when jesus was walking through the crowd

 

and

 

the woman with the issue of blood she

 

touched him well his disciples says what

 

do you mean father what do you what do

 

you mean there’s a lot of people that’s

 

touching you

 

but the difference between her touch she

 

drew strength he knew

 

was different so the difference between

 

you having a conversation with me

 

you’re drawing strength for me and i’m

 

drawing strength from you

 

i know there’s a difference you’re just

 

not somebody in the crowd

 

trying to make me feel good you’re not

 

just somebody in the crowd touching me

 

but you actually are letting me know

 

hey i’m here i’m here i

 

i just want to listen i want to talk i

 

want to learn

 

and that’s what it’s going to take for

 

all of us

 

to move forward in this country

 

that that’s beautiful in so many ways

 

you know i think what i’ve experienced

 

from you

 

is uh a return of that empathy

 

you know and i and i think the the hard

 

part

 

i think for some white folks like me too

 

is is you either don’t engage because

 

you don’t know how to engage or you’re

 

afraid to engage right

 

or you you turn what should be

 

a human interaction into some kind of

 

issue with checklists and checkpoints

 

and i think what i have enjoyed with you

 

and with some of the members of your

 

team over the last few months

 

is um is what i ho what i feel is

 

is some mutual humility and i think

 

that’s what moves us towards one another

 

when we can realize

 

gosh i i don’t think i have

 

racial bias in my heart but i know i’m a

 

sinner

 

and without god’s grace who knows what’s

 

hiding down in there right that i need

 

to

 

that i need to deal with and so i i’ve

 

just appreciated

 

our conversations and i hope we have

 

many more on how we can move

 

closer to one another even when we don’t

 

maybe see eye to eye or understand

 

things exactly

 

when we can humble ourselves and have

 

that empathy that you talked about i

 

think

 

uh it gives god and the gospel a chance

 

to

 

to renew and regenerate and do something

 

beautiful that we can never do

 

on our own so i i want to thank you um

 

just for for sharing with us a little

 

bit here today uh

 

you’re an inspiring leader kenika and i

 

i’m not just saying that i mean you

 

do a great job you do great work and

 

we’re grateful for you here and thank

 

you for

 

um honoring god and loving people

 

through the work of your hands

 

i know some days it’s easier than others

 

some days we probably feel like we’re

 

doing it better than others

 

um but that’s uh that’s the beauty of

 

god’s grace at work in our lives so i

 

just want to thank you

 

publicly uh for the beautiful asset

 

that you are to our company what we do

 

here

 

thank you so much i appreciate it i

 

appreciate the opportunity

 

i really do and um and this is something

 

that helps move

 

the community forward i mean i do have

 

several african-americans that are here

 

and that are women they get to see

 

there’s somebody in this role

 

that can love the lord they can sit

 

there and tell you the truth

 

and be honest with you so sometimes we

 

as

 

in the black community we need to see

 

more examples and we need to be our own

 

voice

 

and if god keeps giving me the strength

 

i plan to be that voice

 

for that you are that thank you

 

appreciate it so much

 

thank you so much you