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By Gabrielle Wheaton

A day in the life of property management: Property Manager Lara Conolly

Woman sits in courtyard
Dart Property Manager Lara Conolly considers it a privilege to manage the buildings that bear a part of her father's legacy — the late Burns Conolly was one of the architects who designed Camana Bay. — Photo: Rhian Campbell

"I've been working for Dart for three and a half years now in the property management department, but in a way, I have had a connection to Camana Bay since I was a child," says Dart Property Manager Lara Conolly. "My father specialised in urban design and played a pivotal role in shaping the layout of all the spaces within Camana Bay. For instance, the incorporation of landscape features, courtyards and fountains has significantly lowered the temperature during the summer months, something I deeply appreciate every time I stroll around the property."

We sat down with Lara as she walked us through a day in her busy life in property management, and how her father's memory remains with her through her workday. "Though my father is no longer with us, I feel his presence daily at Camana Bay, and I consider it a privilege to spend my time among buildings that bear a part of his legacy."

CBT: What drew you to this field?
I applied for the job at Dart because it has always been a part of my life in various ways. My father, the late Burns Conolly, was one of the architects who designed Camana Bay, and my mother is a real estate broker, so having a bit of both of their DNA, it’s no wonder that I’ve ended up as a property manager! Having earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce proves invaluable at Dart given the frequent need for budgeting and financial reporting. Before my Dart career, I obtained my CIREBA real estate license. While I enjoyed selling houses for a while, I felt the urge to broaden my knowledge in the field. So, when the opportunity at Dart arose, I saw it as the perfect next step.

CBT: What is your favourite part of your job?
Meeting people. You get to collaborate with so many different people, both internally and externally (vendors and tenants). It is a fantastic way to connect with others and I take pleasure in providing solutions for people when they have problems. There is also a lot of room for personal and professional growth, whether vertically, horizontally or diagonally [with a laugh]. It truly feels like there’s a place for everyone at Dart.

CBT: Do you have a set schedule for tasks or is every day different?
I often joke about wishing for a set schedule [laughs], but in property management, that's simply not the reality. Summarising it in a few sentences is impossible, but it's precisely this variety that makes it so engaging — no two days are ever alike. Yet, that's exactly why I'm drawn to it. While certain recurring tasks like team meetings and monthly goals provide some structure, each day brings new challenges and surprises. From giving tours to walking the buildings, from speaking to tenants to addressing their enquiries — this variety keeps me engaged and excited.

60 Nexus Way, our premiere 10-storey commercial building at Camana Bay, has been a big focus of my work over the past year. From managing fit-outs, controlling construction noise and ensuring the building is clean, while keeping current tenants satisfied, [it] is a bit of a juggling act. It requires quick thinking and on-the-spot issue resolution, a challenge my assistant property manager, Daina, and I always strive to meet.


Timeline of a typical day

  • 7:30 a.m.: Typically, I arrive at this time so I can focus on emails and the daily plan before the office starts to get busy.
  • 8 - 9:30 a.m.: Daina and I conduct building inspections, addressing any issues that may arise. For example, today I sent a photo to our engineering department, in order for them to replace a light that was out. We also say hello to tenants to check in with them to make sure everything is okay, and we deal with any issues that they bring up to us.
  • 9:30 a.m. - Noon: I prioritise responding to emails from the previous day and handle any urgent matters that require immediate attention. Today, I have been liaising with our vendor to order the hurricane parking tags for the hurricane parking programme we roll out each year to our tenants.
  • Noon - 2 p.m.: Depending on the day, my lunch hour falls around this time, but it really does depend on how busy it is. If there is a priority matter, I work through until it is taken care of. Most lunchtimes I head over to Foster's to grab a quick bite, but occasionally we have tenant/department meetings at one of the fantastic restaurants in Camana Bay.
  • 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Based on the meetings held, I dedicate this time to sending emails, following up on reports and providing updates to tenants on various enquiries and concerns.
  • 4 p.m. - onwards: Quite often there are some meetings later in my day. However, when I get a free afternoon, I’ll typically deal with any financial work, such as approving invoices and budgeting. Of course, there are always ad hoc issues that arise. Such as, last week, the water pressure in Camana Bay was very low because of a break in the main water line, so I spent the afternoon liaising with the water company and sent updates to tenants to keep them informed.


CBT: Who inspires you?
Marvin Cox [Dart's vice president, property management] and Jeffrey Wight [Dart senior property manager]. They are truly remarkable individuals. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have them as mentors. They genuinely care about my growth and their work ethic is exemplary — they deserve all the kudos. Although they don't seek the spotlight, their contributions warrant it. Marvin has an innate ability to connect with anyone and make them feel valued. Meanwhile, Jeff remains remarkably composed in situations that would unsettle even the toughest individuals.

Click here for a quick peek into what Lara's day looks like. 

This article was published in the April 2024 print edition of Camana bay Times. 

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