The TEN7 Podcast – Episode 76

 

Megan Glover: Building Communities with Kindness, Grit and Trust

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Summary

Megan Glover, Marketing Manager of Solhem Companies, one of our longest clients, discusses the transformational power of writing down company values, putting up buildings in the Minnesota winter, and the importance of Post-its in personal growth. 

Guest

Megan Glover of Solhem Companies.

Highlights

  • The environmentally conscious real estate developer
  • It's transformational to put your values down, formally, on paper
  • Having things written down also helps train new team members faster
  • Living your values through Post-its
  • The art of building naming (and anagrams)
  • How Megan went from building departments to a self-taught marketing pro
  • Stages of putting up a building (yep, it starts with location, location, location)
  • Solhem has formalized the process over the years so things can happen fast (12-18 months)
  • How their strong sense of company "self" and values are important when changing the fabric of the city
  • How to build in Minnesota, or "the heat is in the tools"
  • Economies of scale don't apply here; it's MUCH more expensive to build a 20-story building than a 10-story building
  • The trend of micro apartments (and how Solhem started it in Minneapolis!)
  • Using technology and automation without losing the personal touch
  • Megan's previous career

Links

Transcript

IVAN STEGIC: Hey everyone! You’re listening to the TEN7 podcast, where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business and the humans in it. I am your host Ivan Stegic. My guest today is Megan Glover, who is the Marketing Manager at Solhem Companies, an environmentally conscious real estate developer here in Minneapolis. She also happens to be a longtime client of ours at TEN7; we’ve been working with Solhem for over 10 years, and with Megan for over five. Hey Megan, welcome. It’s so good to have you on the podcast.

MEGAN GLOVER: It’s great to be here, Ivan. Thanks for having me.

IVAN: You’re welcome. It’s nice to be talking to you. I’d like to start with Solhem Companies. I just kind of described it as an environmentally conscious real estate developer. This is one of your founding principles. This is central to what Curt Gunsbury was thinking when he first started Solhem back in 2008. Tell me about why. Why should this be a focus for a real estate company, of all things?

MEGAN: Good question. I think the simple answer is because it’s the right thing to do. That’s kind of what Curt’s ethos has been since day one. If we're doing the right thing, it’s going to also be smart from a business standpoint, and it’s eventually going to pay off for us. Another way to approach that is that now, in 2019—over 10 years from when Curt first started the company—it’s just expected these days, I think. I really think that if you’re not focusing on sustainability as a company, it’s probably something you should revisit.

IVAN: Yeah, now that you say that, that makes me realize that what Curt was thinking about and what he was pioneering in the Twin Cities, nobody was doing that. And kudos to him for approaching it that way. You’re right, it’s to be expected now.

MEGAN: Exactly. I think it’s part of our brand very deeply, but it’s not even necessarily something we’re talking about day in/day out. It’s very interesting to see how that’s evolved over the past decade.

IVAN: So, sustainability is one of the values that Solhem stands for, it’s part of your brand promise. Tell me about the other values that Solhem stands for.

MEGAN: Ivan, I’m so glad you asked this because [laughing] this year we actually formalized a document, our official Solhem brand book. And I must say that the process of putting the values down on paper, and then distributing them to the team, has been really transformational. Here’s what we came up with: 

Our purpose is to build beautiful, sustainable communities that people love, and we do it with kindness, grit, trust and awareness.

IVAN: That’s amazing.

MEGAN: [laughing] Well, thank you. It’s something that we’ve been feeling for a decade now, but it was never actually formalized and written down. And I don’t think any of us knew what that would do to all of us, on the leadership team, as well as the rest of the company, once we were able to actually put that down into words and then present it to the team. It’s been a really fun year for us.

IVAN: That’s lovely. It’s so nice to hear that you’ve formalized that and that you’ve done what you’ve done, and that it’s been as transformational as it has. We did this a few years ago and equally so. You kind of know what the culture’s like and what you’d like it to be as a leader, but once you put it down, there’s a line in the sand.

MEGAN: Yup. Exactly.

IVAN: Did you guys work with anyone to do that, or did you do it internally? What was the process like there?

MEGAN: We did it internally. We read a book a few years ago called Traction...

IVAN: Yeah.

MEGAN: Oh, you know Traction, okay. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Yes.

MEGAN: [laughing] It did kind of inspire us to formalize a lot of processes across our company. And one of them was really starting with, what does Solhem mean, and how can we teach someone that we have just hired what Solhem means in a month instead of a couple years? When I started, it took me probably a full year before I even really understood what the company was about and how cool it really was. So, this is a way for us to expedite our training process, so that as we’re growing, as we’re scaling, we’re bringing people on, and we need them to be feeling this a lot more quickly than one or two years.

IVAN: The thing that I originally struggled with when we first formalized our values and our mission was, how do I apply them to the day to day? It’s nice to talk about the fact that you do this work with kindness and grit, but how do you remind everyone? How do you live them on a daily basis? They’re probably pretty new to you and maybe you’ve been trying to figure it out yourself, but what’s your experience been with that?

MEGAN: This is maybe cheesy, but, Post-it notes. [laughing] I literally write these words down and they’re on Post-it notes staring me in the face. And sometimes I’m looking at them, sometimes I’m not, but I will say that occasionally I’m writing an email and I’m about to send it, and then I get a glance of [the word] "kindness," and I look back at my email and I’m like, Ooh, I’m going to sit on that. [laughing]

IVAN: Undo send. [laughing]

MEGAN: [laughing] Undo. Undo. Exactly.

IVAN: [laughing] Undo. Undo.

MEGAN: So, I would say it’s still a new process for us, figuring out what that brand book literally does for us day in and day out. But I think the bigger thing we’ve learned so far is that it’s just had a great effect on team morale. It just made everybody feel a lot prouder about what our company does, and that shows. That trickles down. That becomes clear in their interactions with residents and with contractors, and with our cleaning staff. It has a really positive ripple effect, I’d say.

IVAN: I love it. So, let’s talk about the first building that Curt worked on. And this is just kind of a nice, neat coincidence that I like to bring up. You probably knew this, but Solhem Uptown was built in the neighborhood of Uptown [Minneapolis] on Holmes Avenue, and when I first saw that, I thought, Hold on a second. Did Curt plan this? Because "Holmes" is an anagram of "Solhem." Like, did he go to Holmes and say, Okay, I’m going to call my company Solhem. Or did he look for Holmes because he had already [laughing]…what is going on?

MEGAN: I love that you love this so much, because honestly Ivan, I am pretty sure that nobody knew about the anagram until you brought it up to us [laughing] however many years ago that was. So, no, it was certainly not anything that was in his mind at the time. It is a very happy, fun coincidence though. Solhem, the name, was actually inspired from Curt and his wife Catherine. Their friends overseas, in Sweden, had a beautiful seaside home that they had nicknamed "Solhem." And I think Curt and Cath were just always very inspired by the design and the love and care that they put into that home, and that’s where the name came from.

IVAN: So, that was the first one, and then there was another building, Soltvå, which everyone calls Soltvå (pronouncing Soltwa), because it’s an a but it really has a little o on top of it, and I think that’s how you are supposed to say it, and I think that’s homage to the fact that it’s the second building, because I think två means two, right?

MEGAN: Två means two, yeah, but I will say as far as the pronunciation goes, most of us just called it Soltva, which is incorrect, right? But everybody else, inquiring potential residents would call it Solteva.

IVAN: Really?

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: I have not heard that iteration.

MEGAN: That’s just what you’re going to get when you name your building something.

IVAN: When you put a character on a letter somewhere [laughing] where it’s not usually there.

MEGAN: [laughing] Right. Exactly. So, that was our second sun. So that was Soltvå, and then Solhavn coming along, maybe a year and a half after that, “havn” being a haven (so "sun haven").

IVAN: Then you broke from the brand, and this is what I want to talk about. I want to talk about from a marketing perspective, this is really interesting, because you started out naming the buildings after the company, and then you went with this motif of keeping the sun part, the "sol" part of the name. And then you branched out. But, on one hand you have the values of the company and the vision of your leader, right? And on the other hand, you have the individuality of each building you’re putting up, and the neighborhood it’s in, and being almost customized for that neighborhood. So, how do you approach that and how has it evolved over the years?

MEGAN: It is a very interesting nut to crack, and l feel like the nut keeps changing on me. When I started it was a peanut, pretty easy. And now it’s a really annoying nut, a walnut [laughing], is that a really annoying nut to crack?

IVAN: [laughing] Those are annoying nuts, yeah.

MEGAN: And this was all coming from Curt. Curt was the person that said, “You know what? It’s time to move on from 'Sol.' We’re going to name this building something totally different and we’re just going to keep changing it up from there.” That was really the same time when I came into my own as the Marketing Manager. So, in some ways it was just a really big challenge for me to figure out how we keep true to this idea of Solhem, even when we don’t have that name recognition. We’re still learning to be quite honest, and we’re still figuring that out. I think a big part of it has been our websites. You can speak to that from the very beginning. We kept a very steady design for each of our buildings so you could see that continuity.

IVAN: Yeah, that connection.

MEGAN: Exactly. So, just trying to build and cultivate that and again, it’s a work in progress. We’re getting better every year with it, and certainly you and I have talked a lot about what the future looks like here. But I’d say it’s a big challenge.

IVAN: How has your own thinking about marketing for the buildings and for Solhem evolved over the last five years? You’ve been with Solhem for about five years now, if I’m not mistaken.

MEGAN: Correct.

IVAN: I’m curious to hear what you thought you would be doing in your job to start, what you actually did, and how has that changed?

MEGAN: When I started, I was much more on the sales front. I was boots on the ground, making the deals. I think that’s something we do with every new hire we have with the company. We want them to be able to lease an apartment. That’s the heart and soul of the business. Can you invite someone in? Can you show them around? Can you get them to sign on the dotted line at the end? So, that’s what I was doing when I started. And after about six months I was getting a little antsy in that role, and I started thinking more big picture about what our marketing efforts could look like in general. Again, we’re like a 10, 12-person company at this point, so we don’t have departments. We have 12 people and all 12 people do everything. I could manage a building. I could fix a clogged toilet. [laughing]

IVAN: Lease it up.

MEGAN: [laughing] I could lease it up. I think just developing those departments from the ground up has been how my job has evolved. And in doing so, I ended up just being the marketing guru, not something I was formally trained in, but I just taught myself and learned and read a lot over the years, and it’s brought me to where I am right now.

IVAN: We’ll get to what you originally were trained to do later on in the podcast. [laughing] I have some questions about that.

MEGAN: [laughing] Good. Because it’s really interesting.

IVAN: [laughing] Stay tuned for what Megan was really trained to do. [laughing]

So, in preparing for the podcast, I was fascinated by the many different pieces of what you guys actually do. I love that we’ve talked about the company and what the values are, and how you function as an organization. I’d like to move the lens a little bit now and talk about what you’re actually doing. You were like, “I can’t talk about everything we do. I don’t know what all those things are.” I was like, "Megan, come on. You know much more than what we do than what our listeners do."

So, I want to ask you, putting up a building is not non-trivial. There are many moving pieces. What do those broad strokes look like in Curt’s mind, and then how does that trickle down to everyone? Maybe it doesn’t trickle down—I don’t like that phrase—maybe it’s more collaborative. But Curt has an idea: let’s put a building up somewhere. You've got to find the place, you've got to find the property, you've got to work with the city, you've got to find a developer, a general contractor, you have to consider the marketing, the leasing, the operations. Tell me about those stages.

MEGAN: The first stage and by far the most important is the location, it’s just number one. Yes, there are many empty plots in the city that you could throw up a building on. For us, it is, where in the city is special? Where are people going to want to live or where do they already enjoy living? We try to get ahead of the curve if at all possible. Sometimes it’s hard to do that because it’s a big risk. But for us it’s location, location, location. That’s number one. Then, after that, it is negotiate price, apply for a permit with the city, send that offer letter out to the investor pool, call our architect.

And where we are right now as a company, I would say a lot of this process is pretty formalized in a way that maybe five years ago, each one of these steps was like, really laborious and had a lot of uncertainty. Now it’s like, we have an architect we work with. Our investors come along with us, and they’re committed to the company and to our mission, so we’re good there. The construction bids, we've got a couple people that we like to work with, let’s see who gives us the best price. We know the people that we need to work with at the city. So, it’s become a lot more streamlined over the years. I think that’s a big reason why we’ve been able to see some big growth this past year in terms of having three buildings in the ground at one time, which is pretty major for us.

IVAN: I want to try to go through a little more of the process. You find the spot, you make the offer, you send it, you talk to the investors, then you have to get those contractors in to actually start working, right?

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: Can you give me an idea about how long it takes you to put up, let’s say, a recent building. I’ve noticed there’s typically six stories, and we can talk about that, but a recent building, six stories high, how long’s the first part, how long’s the middle part, how long’s the end part?

MEGAN: Tough question. The parts can be a different length depending on who the construction contractor is. Some teams work more quickly. Some teams take a little bit longer, but then the finished product is ready to go. I’d say, in general, start to finish, from finding the location, from that very day, it’s about 12-18 months in general.

IVAN: Wow. That’s actually really fast when you think about it. This is a building in which you are creating homes for people for more than—I actually don’t know—how many apartments in such a building? 150? 100?

MEGAN: Our buildings, we’ve done anywhere from 48 on the small end up to 198 which is going to be our biggest property, and it’s opening next year.

IVAN: That’s a lot of homes for a lot of people, and 12-18 months is not a long time to go from nothing to homes, and to people moving in, and to operational.

MEGAN: Yeah. It’s pretty cool.

IVAN: That’s very cool. That’s reshaping our city fast, honestly.

MEGAN: Yes, it is. I think that's a good point to call out—how fast we are changing the fabric of the city, and it makes it even more important for us to really have a strong sense of who we are and our values, so that we’re not making mistakes. Because, if you make a big mistake when you’re moving fast, it can have pretty serious consequences. So, we don’t take that lightly.

IVAN: No. I’m so glad that that’s the case. I want to ask you about the challenges you might have in Minnesota from a construction point of view you might not have, in, say, a warmer climate. And I’m asking this specific question because when we were a brick and mortar company and we had an office, we had an office right outside of where Soltvå went up, and I remember the middle of January walking back to my car to the parking lot, snow falling, in 10° Fahrenheit weather, and you guys are pouring concrete, and there are men out there working, and I’m like That is crazy. How is this even possible? So, tell me about some of the challenges with construction.

MEGAN: As you know, and other listeners who live up here, Minnesota has a very harsh climate. And of course, our construction crews are prepared for it. So, I ran this topic by the VP of Development for our company this morning, Jason Lord, who does a lot of our architecture and design work, and I was like, "Jason, what exactly is possible or not possible when it’s so cold?" His response was, “Actually, it’s not that hard to build in freezing temps. The hardest part is the earth work, when you’re actually moving the ground.”

So, for us, as long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can basically do anything. One kind of funny thing [laughing] is that one of our supers, Kevin, he uses a popular construction phrase with his team, “The heat is in the tools.” [laughing] So, it’s hard for the guys. It’s hard for the men and women out there, because it’s so cold. But hey, the heat is in the tools.

IVAN: The heat is in the tools. I love it. [laughing] So, I was talking to one of my colleagues, and we were talking about Curt’s success, and we all noticed and were surprised by the fact that—and you could correct me if I’m wrong—I think every building that you guys have put up has been six stories high. I don’t think there have been buildings that have been higher than that. And, my friend said, “Oh, I don’t get it. Don’t the economies scale once you go higher? If you’re going to go to 12 floors it’s not going to be double the cost of being at six floors, it’s going to be less than double.” I was like, "Dude, I don’t know." [laughing] You should really ask Curt, because this is all conjecture on our part. Maybe there’s a law or something that says you can’t go higher than six. I don’t know. What’s the deal with that?

MEGAN: So, here’s the deal, and a very, very minor correction. We have built up to eight, so that was our highest.

IVAN: Oh, you have?

MEGAN: Borealis is actually eight stories.

IVAN: Oh, it is? Interesting.

MEGAN: Yes. In general, we are working with six to eight.

So, 95% of the reason there [why we don't go higher] is economics, and then maybe the other 5% would be zoning ordinances. But for the most part, unless you’re building in a historic neighborhood or a certain residential area, you can build as tall as you want. The thing to keep in mind is that, there’s a fixed cost as soon as you put that hole in the ground.

So, when you’re considering that, it is actually way more expensive to build taller than it is to build shorter. So, maybe you might think if you build 20 stories that would be not that much more expensive than just having built 10, no, it’s quite a bit more expensive. So, for us it’s just a purely economic reason. We just don’t. We’re just a little bit too small of a company to be throwing up those big commercial high-rises.

So, we stick to what we know, and we also keep in mind that we want to maximize density wherever we go. So, if we’re building a six-to-eight-story building, we take up as much of the plot of land as we can, surface area-wise, so that we’re able to put in as many units as possible. I think that’s a smart environmental way to approach it, and financial way to approach it.

IVAN: Okay. Now I can go back to him and say, "Listen, this is how it works." [laughing]

MEGAN: Listen buddy. [laughing]

IVAN: Listen buddy. [laughing].

MEGAN: Yeah, it’s such a big project, and it’s so expensive, and you see some people coming into Minneapolis and doing it now in the downtown northeast area, you’re seeing major high-rises, but those are big multi-national firms that can afford to do it.

IVAN: They can do that and can afford to do it. Yeah.

MEGAN: Exactly.

IVAN: I read in the news that one of the trends on the East coast and the West coast and that’s come to Minnesota as well has been this idea of micro apartments. I know that you guys have built some buildings that are micro apartments.

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: Are you seeing that trend continue? Are other people doing micro apartments? Maybe you should give our listeners a definition of what a micro apartment actually is.

MEGAN: We define micro units as 400 square feet or less in general. I think the standard definition is actually 500 square feet or less. But the way we approach it in our building design is typically 400 or less. Yes, it is absolutely a trend and what I think is kind of cool is that our company kind of started that trend in Minneapolis. [laughing] We built a building in the North Loop, NOLO, which was kind of the first of its kind with the micros, and it leased up incredibly fast, and it rarely turned over. We just saw that the market is right for this. People want to live more minimally; maybe it’s Marie Kondo's book, everybody’s talking about it.

IVAN: Hey, throw it all away. [laughing]

MEGAN: [laughing] Absolutely. It’s simpler. You can focus on being outside and traveling, and when you come home, you just have a very simple, elegant place to live and it’s also cheaper. We can provide a home for people at a much lower rate than if we were to give them a 700-square-foot one bedroom. We’re still doing, obviously, a variety of sizes, but we have definitely shifted to the micros a bit more.

IVAN: That’s really interesting.

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: You and I interact, and we’re obviously focused on the website, on being the digital marketing team for Solhem, so that’s my lens into how Solhem works. But, I’m curious about the rest of your own digital infrastructure and your technology. I’m wondering about what role technology plays in your organization in how you function, and by extension, how your buildings function. How has that changed, and what does technology do for you these days?

MEGAN: It’s absolutely changed, and I’d say technology continues to play a bigger and bigger role every year. A big part of that is the shift to automation, and it’s permanently changed the face of all businesses, and ours is no exception. We’re kind of having to think like, what does automation look like for a company like us, and how can we stay true to who we are, while we are adding these certain features that might seem a little bit more impersonal.

One example is virtual leasing. For instance, how can we offer someone out in Seattle, who is moving to Minneapolis, a completely seamless experience, 100% remote, where they feel like they know exactly who we are, what they are getting and they’re really, really excited and jazzed to put down a deposit from 2,000 miles away? I think there’s a big part of automation that comes into that, but at the same time, I think we’re even more focused right now on how will we continue to keep it personal.

As much as technology is super important, and it will always play a large role, we know that having that personal touch is what’s really memorable. We’re kind of at a crossroads right now with figuring out the best way to automate and stay true to who we are.

IVAN: Especially when one of your values is that you need to be kind, and having that personal touch is certainly a way of being kind to potential residents. And once you’re at a large company there is a risk of becoming anonymous, and I think that kindness goes out the window when that happens.

MEGAN: Yes. Exactly.

IVAN: It’s definitely a challenge. I have an idea.

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: What if someone in Seattle who’s looking for a place to make their home, looking for a lease with you, what if they could put on a virtual reality cardboard box on their phone, and they could walk through one of your new apartments with you by their side? As you walk through the bedroom and the kitchen and the beautiful windows and look out at the view of something that doesn’t even exist yet, or of something that actually does exist?

MEGAN: Exactly. I think that’s where we’re headed, Ivan.

IVAN: Really?

MEGAN: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Again, we want our friendly face to be a part of it, but I do think that the next generation is just wanting to take care of all this stuff on their phone.

IVAN: They all just want to do it on their phone. I love it. Let me know how we can help you, because that sounds really exciting to me [laughing]. That’s awesome.

MEGAN: [laughing] Yeah. I think we’ll probably be shouting about this. We already shout a lot. So, yeah. Talk to you next week. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Alright. So, right now, you’re working on three buildings simultaneously, right? That’s pretty brave and optimistic and scary at the same time. At least it would be for me. Tell me about the three buildings. Where are they? What’s next after them? Give me something about them.

MEGAN: It’s scary for me too, so, yeah, I actually have a job coach this year that I’ve been working with, and a few months ago I remember telling her, "This is about to get real for me because my job has always been one building at a time, and basically now I’m going to be doing three buildings at the same time, and the same amount of hours a week, so, just give me some tips on how to get through that." [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Good for you for having a coach. That’s the best thing I ever did as well.

MEGAN: Oh my God, yeah.

IVAN: Did she say delegate? [laughing]

MEGAN: Oh, yes. It’s a Post-it, Ivan.

IVAN: Is it really?

MEGAN: Oh, yeah. I have a "delegate" Post-it at my workstation.

IVAN: Brilliant.

MEGAN: It’s been a game changer for me, for sure.

So, the buildings in the ground right now coming up, we have one in Northeast Minneapolis called the Gibson, a 159-unit building, and these are all going to be in the seven-to-eight-story range. Another is over in the Mill District which is a new place for us to be developing, so that’s exciting. That building is called OX-OP, a very odd name, but it pays homage to an art gallery that used to be at that location called OX-OP Gallery. And what’s kind of fun about that is, we worked with that former owner to actually bring an art gallery into our building, so that we’ll have two separate entrances there, one to the residences and then the other to an actual art gallery. That’s going to be pretty cool.

IVAN: That’s awesome.

MEGAN: We’re super excited. And then the last one in the ground is—back in the North Loop, our happy place I’d say—and that one is going to be called the Archive. It’s a very large 198-unit building, and I’d say the most interesting design element to this building is that there’s going to be an open-air promenade that cuts through two wings of the building. We’re really going to be encouraging public interaction with the space, and hopefully having some little boutiques move in there, and just add to the character of the neighborhood even more.

IVAN: So, some retail on the first floor.

MEGAN: Yeah.

IVAN: That sounds cool. If I’m not mistaken, that one’s over by the Federal Reserve, right?

MEGAN: It is. It’s ½ block from there, and then on either side of that building there are two historical structures that will remain untouched. So, it’ll provide a really neat new/old juxtaposition on one single block. I think it’s going to be really beautiful.

IVAN: And there must be challenges involved in being able to make sure that what’s historic around you remains preserved and solid. I love that there’s that attention to detail from Solhem, that that’s a concern as well. Kudos to you guys for that.

MEGAN: Well, thank you.

IVAN: We are coming to the end of our podcast. We’re going to be wrapping it up here pretty soon, but I wanted to talk about what you’re actually trained to do [laughing] compared to what you’re doing now. And if I’m not mistaken you are a classically trained pianist?

MEGAN: Yes.

IVAN: Is that right?

MEGAN: Yes, that’s right. [laughing]

IVAN: Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what path you took to becoming a pianist and then moving to Minnesota and working at Solhem. Also, do you still play?

MEGAN: I do. So, I play mostly for fun, which is a big difference from when you’re training to be a concert pianist. I relate it to basically training for the Olympics, but all the time, constantly, every year. [laughing] You never go to the Olympics and then it’s over, you just keep training for the Olympics. For me, I started playing when I was five, I loved it. I did it because I loved it. I got very serious. I was talented, and I just eventually got to a point in my mid-twenties where I was like, You know what? There’s more to life, and I don’t want to train for the Olympics all the time for the rest of my life.

IVAN: Yeah.

MEGAN: But it gave me so much in terms of discipline and opened my eyes to the world of classical music, which is something that I hope everyone can find at some point. And it did ultimately lead me up here in a weird way, to Minnesota, because I met my husband when I was in graduate school in Southern Indiana, and he ended up taking the leap to move up here for a job, and so I followed him up. And I became friends with someone who lived in one of the Solhem buildings.

I was bouncing around, teaching piano, but I wasn’t really happy with it, and she was like, “Hey, I know this really cool company. I think you should take an interview with them.” I had no idea about property development and management. It was a brand-new thing for me. But I trusted that the culture seemed like a good fit and interviewed with Curt and that was the beginning of the end. [laughing]

IVAN: That was it. Curt saw the potential and was very smart to offer you a job, so, good for him for doing that.

MEGAN: Yeah. Well, thank you. Yes. I think for him he was like, Oh, concert pianist, okay, cool. Like she’s kind of crazy but in a good way. [laughing]

IVAN: [laughing] Well, I’m glad it’s worked out. It’s worked out really well, hasn’t it?

MEGAN: It sure has.

IVAN: Well, thank you for spending your time with me today. Thanks for talking about Solhem and the values and what you guys stand for and taking me through the process of putting a building up, and also through that little path through being a concert pianist as well. It’s been really awesome talking with you today.

MEGAN: It’s been a great chat. Thanks so much, Ivan.

IVAN: Megan Glover is the Marketing Manager (and former concert pianist) at Solhem Companies, and you can find them online at Solhem.com. You’ve been listening to the TEN7 podcast. Find us online at ten7.com/podcast. And if you have a second, do send us a message. We love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. Until next time, this is Ivan Stegic. Thank you for listening.

Ivan Stegic

Founder and President
 
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Ivan Stegic

Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Bowtie lover. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world. His favorite things right now: the TEN7 podcast and becoming the next Björn Borg.