Maria Villegas stands about five feet tall and lifts heavy weights—for fun. As a medal-holding powerlifter, she understands what it means to build both physical and psychological strength and work against a challenge to achieve her greatest success. From the lifting platform to the platform of her life, she brings her love of a challenge, her desire for success and achievement—and is always open to upping the ante and taking on more.
Maria Villegas started her journey at Mosser Companies two years ago as a property manager overseeing Mosser’s famous Mosser Towers. She is now a multi-site property manager, managing over 460 units. Maria manages her own team and wears many additional hats for her properties, including responsibility for security, janitorial, customer care coordinators, maintenance and more. Her personal goal is to keep improving and eventually source and train her replacement so she can continue to grow with the company.
Prior to joining Mosser, Maria taught art and Spanish at an elementary and middle school. To spend more time with her kids, she changed careers and took a job as a property manager with a company based out of Sausalito. After many years in that position, Maria decided to search for a position with a company that shared her values of being family-oriented and truly caring about the residents and community. This led her to Mosser.
Maria dove right into her position and quickly gained the trust of her supervisors as well as team members and residents. They allowed her to make minor improvements and changes at the properties which truly put her touch with them. She made small adjustments within her internal team and with that, she was able to build a strong foundation for her residents.
“Working in the Tenderloin presents a welcome challenge for me. I have never worked in this kind of urban environment—but I love it. I see the properties and the possibilities as a challenge to do something great that could have a positive impact on improving people’s lives, the properties and company,” said Maria. “The family has put so much trust in me and being able to keep it and run it in a manner where everyone is happy, the properties are maintained esthetically and financially – that is what I enjoy. When residents come into our buildings, they can feel safe, in a clean, quality environment, and feel like they are home.”
Maria is a great role model for her team and residents. She works hard and expertly juggles a lot of moving parts in her job but continues to stay true to her core values and it is reflected in the work she does with her residents. To create a true community at Mosser, Maria hosts events in the common area’s courtyard like a Halloween parade for the children and she hands out personalized holiday cards to every resident. As a former teacher, she has a propensity toward the children of Mosser residents and was in the process of creating a space for children to do their homework in the courtyard and meet with tutors provided by a neighborhood community organization she contacted. However, in school teaching resumed and the plans were put on hold. “We want to create a place where the children canplay outside, and families can congregate and enjoy family time.”
When she first started working at Mosser, she had a disabled resident that could no longer take proper care of himself. With no family, the resident needed additional care. Maria with her connections into the community, worked with his nurse to get him the personalized help he needed from the Curry Center.
Maria also picked up new clothes and sheets for him to make him more comfortable. This is not an isolated experience. In keeping with Mosser values, she’s gone above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of residents many times.
“COVID created anxiety for some of our residents. For example, one couple that lived here during that time needed help—the husband had a heart attack and passed away, and the wife lost her job. She came to me, worried, unable to pay the rent, and I reassured her she would not lose her home. We helped her get rent relief and she was able to get back on her feet,” Maria said. “That’s the wonderful thing about Mosser—these ‘people first’ values come from the top. Mosser cares when people fall on hard times and truly need the help. Sometimes it exposes the company to people who can take advantage, but I like that we build real relationships with residents, can have these open dialogs, and have mutual respect and trust.”
The compassion and empathy Maria has for each of her residents is significant, even though, at times it can be challenging, as well. She describes her line of work as a busy train station when it comes to juggling residents, employees, and constant new challenges arising. Trying to focus on many problems at the same time and having to address everyone’s different and specific needs makes each of her workdays full and rewarding. Maria says, “to love this position, you have to be a little bit crazy, have thick skin, have compassion, be empathetic and sympathetic and have a big heart.”
Maria says Mosser’s dedication to their residents is one of the best aspects of the job and she feels she has made strong connections with most of the residents she works with. The commitment Mosser has shown our residents during this pandemic has been truly inspiring, not many companies will do what we have done, from listening to their concerns of potentially being homeless to spending hours in the evenings and weekends helping complete applications. “We are so appreciative of all of Maria’s hard work and dedication to her team and the residents,” said Andrew Silverman, Mosser’s Chief Operating Officer. “Maria’s core values continue to elevate Mosser’s mission and show through her work within our Mosser community.”