Building Community: Meet Greystar’s Joseph Bommarito
Today we’re talking to Joseph Bommarito, Community Manager for Greystar, the global leader in rental housing with expertise in real estate sectors across multiple geographies. Greystar’s vision is to continually strive to provide beautiful environments and innovative services that enhance the living experience.
Joseph will explain how building community helps bring Greystar’s vision to life. By creating a profound connection with people, Greystar residences are transformed into a place to call home and celebrate life’s important moments.
Please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The year was 2013. I started as a Real Estate Assistant. I had just gotten my license and I was working for a gentleman who was constantly on a high vibration and he felt tht he only magnetized people who also had high vibrations. I was able to play the role, but little did I know at the time that I had a lot to learn. In 2014, I received a call from a friend about a job opportunity. It was for a property management position at a multi-family property in Glendale. The building was a lease up with 401 units. I started there as a leasing agent.
This is when my life shifted. As a leasing agent, I felt the impact I had on other people’s lives. Moving into a new home is a big decision, and it often involves a great deal of trust from a prospective resident. Leasing allowed me to create a positive shift in people’s lives. In turn, the recognition I received from people that I helped find their new home was the most remarkable feeling I’d ever imagined. Moving onward, I helped build a sense of community for two more lease up properties. I then became the Community Manager of a multi-family property in West Hollywood. With these experiences, I learned that building a sense of community was more important to me than any work I had ever done in the past.
Tell us about your role as Community Manager for Greystar. How does building a vibrant community around a project enhance its value and make it a more desirable place to live?
Some people sell and manage apartments, I don’t do that…I build and maintain strong relationships. I make sure my residents have what they need to be happy. People want to live where they feel secure. And one thing that makes people feel secure is knowing the people around them. My goal is to always establish a sense of community, not just a building with faceless neighbors, but rather one big family, in a place we can truly call home. Although no building is perfect, I think the trust we build is what keeps us on top. We are the only five star Yelp rated residential property in Long Beach – and I’m so very proud of that.
Greystar’s mission is “To enrich the lives we touch by doing things the right way.” Please explain how Greystar implements this philosophy. How has “doing things the right way” contributed to the company’s success.
I host resident gatherings every few weeks. I bring the residents together for food, drinks, music, and entertainment. We pass out goodies to the residents and everyone enjoys the time we spend together. I prefer to engage with my residents on a personal level, as it allows me to be more sensitive to their needs. And this keeps the residents happy!
We understand that you’re a strong advocate for diversity and the LGBTQ community. How do you apply this to your work with Greystar? Are you involved with any outside groups or organizations?
I’m a gay man, and I have an obsession with people’s happiness. I know what it took for me to find true self acceptance and happiness. Therefore, it’s mega-important to me that people find happiness in various aspects of life. With that being said, I fight hard to make sure that the gay community is treated fairly in the world. Also, I’m a regular donor to the LGBTQ philanthropy organization, and Charity Lives.
I’ve lived my fair share of challenges, not just being gay, but also my mother is afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. I’m an active member of the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation. I believe they do very important work for people that suffer with this ailment, and their families. I love to host drives to allow my residents the opportunity to share their good fortune as well. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve often hosted packaged foods and gently used clothing drives. I believe it’s all of our responsibility to help those in need.
It’s great to pursue your passion, but we know it’s not always easy. Tell us about your challenges and successes.
As I mentioned before, I feel a huge sense of success when I am problem solving. I’ll always go the extra mile to make sure that my residents’ expectations are met, but sometimes there are things that present more of a challenge. In these instances, I consistently provide my residents with updates to make sure that they feel in the know, and not just ignored. They really appreciate this. Recently, I hosted a pizza party on our rooftop deck just to say “Thank you for understanding.” Although there will always be hurdles, my success comes from knowing that I’ve done my very best. My residents realize that, and are therefore happy with my work. On Yelp, most of my residents say they appreciate my sincerity, no matter what the circumstance. And their appreciation and satisfaction is my ultimate measure of success. It’s truly a rewarding feeling.
I love being a problem solver and I believe if you work hard at it, 9 times out of 10 you will find a happy medium, even in the midst of a tornado. As the saying goes…Where there is a will, there is a way. As far as metrics go, we are a boutique building with only 94 units. We were budgeted by the end of August to be 39.0% occupied. We are currently 46.0% occupied, and August has not yet ended. We are doing better than expected, and ahead of schedule. Success!
What are you most proud of as a company, and what sets you apart?
I’m most proud that we are building a true sense of community. Feel free to interview the residents as well – they will contest to this. But we are only able to do this by creating resident satisfaction. Even though we’ve had challenges, as previously mentioned, by just being kind, genuine, and informative, and understanding, we are able to keep smiles on faces. Nothing makes me more proud!
If you lived in a parallel universe, what would you be doing?
I would be a motivator for people struggling to find joy and success. I’ve been there, and I know what it’s like to be in a dark place. Now that I’ve found higher vibrations, I live for opportunities to inspire joy in others. If I lived in a parallel universe I’d be a motivator, maybe a motivational speaker or writer, I’m not sure which, but a motivator of some kind for sure. Oh, and for anyone who knows me well, they know I am Mariah Carey’s greatest fan. I’d also be her personal assistant, doing any and everything she needs.
What do you love about Long Beach? Do you have a favorite neighborhood? What do you enjoy doing when you’re there?
I grew up in San Pedro, which is right beside Long Beach, only 4 miles away. Long Beach was the only place we had for a get away as teenagers. When we first started driving, Long Beach was our prime destination. When I was in Long Beach as a teen, I felt a keen sense of freedom because my friends and I would come to Long Beach to escape the smotherings of our parents (giggles).
Long Beach has a very special place in my heart. This was my coming of age environment. There’s so much nostalgia here for me. On our teen excursions we would get caramel apples on Belmont or rent 4-seater bicycles and ride the pier. We loved to visit all the artsy areas. I never thought I would come back to Long Beach. In fact, once I started working in LA, I didn’t want to. I felt I’d outgrown Long Beach forever. But as fate would have it, I’ve recently been lead right back. And I must admit, I’m happier than I’ve ever been! The vibrations in Long Beach are so chill, the traffic is minimal, and the people are incredibly down to earth. When I am here I feel aligned… Ironically, 20 years later, Long Beach has once again blessed me with a huge sense of freedom, and an opportunity that I will forever be grateful for.
My favorite neighborhood is Belmont. I love the flea markets and fairs, especially around Christmas time. I love the small things, such as the retailers putting out water bowls for the dogs. Little things that really do mean a lot. Things like this just go to show that the people here are generally thoughtful. I love to walk around, maybe get a bite to eat at Sushi on Fire, yum! That’s my favorite sushi spot. I also really enjoy the Mexican food at Panama Joe’s, and Sevilla on Pine, OMG!
Long Beach is an amazing place to call home. And I’m sincerely grateful that the universe has welcomed me back with open arms.
Title photo courtesy of Joseph Bommarito
Business Address: Greystar 442 W Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802
442 Residences blog celebrates entrepreneurs, creatives, business leaders, and other influencers who are making an impact in Long Beach. These amazing people share their inspiring stories in their own voice, and give a personal perspective on what makes our community such a great place to work, live and play.