Career Insights from Asset Living’s Vice President, New Construction & Lease-Up's Saad Arij

Asset Living
Apr 28, 2023
min read
Career Insights from Asset Living’s Vice President, New Construction & Lease-Up's Saad Arij

Tell us what have the highlights been in your career?

"At the surface level, the easy highlights to point out would be the accolades, awards, numerous 100% lease-ups, or even the fast-tracked corporate growth I've had in this industry over the last 13 years from being a Community Assistant in Athens, GA to now leading the New Development department at Asset overseeing 100+ lease-ups just this year alone between Student, Multifamily, BTR, and more. However, none of that would have been possible if it wasn't for the sacrifices my parents made immigrating to The U.S., leaving behind everything to allow me and my siblings to get an education and pursue our dreams. The reality is that every day of my career is a highlight. I truly believe that with all my heart, as I wasn't even supposed to be here if not for the persistence, sacrifice, and hard work of my parents, and I'm ever grateful each day to be able to live out my dreams for them and make them proud."  

I’m sure you have a favorite project you’ve worked on – tell us about some of your greatest work memories or what has been the most rewarding part of your career?

"Every day I wake up, I have an opportunity and a responsibility: to invest in those I lead so that they can show their teams now and lead departments and organizations in the future. There is no better reward than being a part of an individual's growth journey and seeing them succeed in their careers and personal lives. My favorite project and greatest work memory is TODD in Columbia, Missouri, a student housing development we did with Subtext. It was one of their very first deals with Asset Living. During their lease-up, we didn't have a manager, instead I, as the Regional, was flying in weekly to assist the property and had six absolute all-star community assistants/leaders at the site who did groundbreaking and disruptive marketing that tested the boundaries of conventional marketing tactics. We leveraged Tinder as a marketing tool, and we did fun and memorable marketing such as "Aggressive Umbrella Marketing," otherwise known as helping students go from one building to another while holding an umbrella over their head in the rain and using that time to chat with them about our new development. This team was lightyears ahead and was making content that is now the norm on TikTok. Some of my fondest career memories are tied to that team and what they accomplished by simply making the best of what we had and not letting any obstacles keep them from challenging the norm to achieve a successful lease-up. The best part is that team members from that team are now leaders in and outside the industry. The brand remains intact today, and this property has thrived for years since its initial lease-up."

What has been some of the best career advice or lessons learned throughout your career?  

"I have been very fortunate to have learned from and be surrounded by so many talented individuals and leaders in my career, so it is really had to do this question justice, but as I reflected, the three points below kept coming to mind, so here we go on my best career advice/lessons learned in my career thus far:

  1. Check your ego at the door: Pursuing knowledge is a never-ending journey, and knowledge is often gained through experience. You must be receptive to new ideas from your peers, leaders, and those you lead. To absorb that knowledge and have those experiences, you must leave your ego at the door and be open to learning.  
  1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable: At the start of my career, I leveraged my knowledge and expertise in sales/marketing and neglected opportunities to learn the other sides of the business. It wasn't until I was "volun-forced" (volunteered but also pushed) to be engaged in other components of the industry that I became a more well-rounded professional who could see the complete picture from all sides. Networking and learning from individuals in different departments while getting comfortable with uncomfortable settings where I needed to be more knowledgeable and ask questions are where I grew professionally and personally. The key to finding that comfort in uncomfortable stages of growth is to have people you surround yourself with that give you the confidence to keep pushing forward.
  1. Speak to add value, don't speak to be the loudest in the room: Probably the hardest lesson to learn, especially early in my career. I always thought the way to add value was to be the one constantly chiming in or believing I had the best and only ideas. It wasn't until I learned to listen more than I spoke and only speak when I truly had something of value to add that my words had way more impact on those I was talking with."

Lastly, which of our four-core value(s) at Asset Living – drive, honesty, impact and family – resonates most with you personally and/or professionally?

“As an organization, when we embarked on our journey to reevaluate our core values and hone in on who we are and what we stand for, I still recall saying, "My team and I don't play for participation trophies; we play to win. Period." Our main objective is to oversee the New Development team. However, there are many others, and it is simple: Get from 0 to 100% as quickly and efficiently as possible while maximizing revenue potential and minimizing overall cost. If you simplify it that way, drive is easily the core value we pride ourselves on. We want to achieve the best results for our clients and outwork every other property and management company in our competitive market set. We play to win, and for us measuring the score is simple.”

For any questions regarding our properties or services, please feel free to reach out to us via our contact form. To learn more about available career opportunities by visiting Asset Living’s careers page.

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