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A Look Inside the Fortress

In this series, we explore why one of our team members joined us, take a look at their story before and uncover what they love about our work.

So you want to know what goes on behind the walls of our Fortress? How we ended up in the crazy world of property management? And who makes the right fit for our no bullsh*t culture?

You got it. 

In this series, we explore why one of our team members joined us, take a look at their story before and uncover what they love about our work.

This time: Mary Katherine Johnson (affectionately known as MK), Senior Account Executive and arguably the most well-connected person on our team!

What’s your career background?

I actually entered the job market during the pandemic, a time when no one was hiring and businesses were shutting down. Although the involuntary stint of unemployment after college stung, I took that time to identify the professional path I wanted to take, sharpen my skills and make a name for myself. Now, I look back and am so grateful that I did not settle for the first job I could find. Getting to start my professional career at Fortress has and will always be so impactful to me! 

Why did you join Fortress?

It’s going to sound cliche, but I joined Fortress for the people! I am an extrovert through and through, so working with and for good humans has always been my biggest priority. It was very evident after meeting a few team members at Fortress that I was going to be surrounded by incredible people. Our company culture is unlike any other!

I also wanted to be challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone. What better way to do that than by joining a sales team in the initial phase of their go to market. I have been given so many incredible opportunities throughout my time here, and I feel like I am just getting started! There was a lot of curiosity around what life would be like working for a startup in an industry I knew nothing about, but I figured it was either going to be the greatest thing I ever did or a unique experience to share in future interviews. Luckily, it was the former!  

 I have now been with the company for 2.5 years, and my passion for this industry and what we are doing at Fortress grows more and more everyday. This team, our mission and what’s to come are the reasons I wake up each morning genuinely happy to do my job- which not a lot of people can say! 

How has your experience at Fortress been so far?

Nothing short of amazing! If you know me, you know I am Fortress’s number one fan. Our culture is centered around collaborations. We are encouraged to leverage each other’s strengths and step up when there is a need to be met. Kerri, our CEO,  has always been passionate that there shouldn’t be any ‘lanes’ in our business. She told me right away, “Share any opinions you have. Challenge ideas. You have to disrupt in order to be successful.

 My opinions are not only accepted, they are encouraged…and boy do I have a lot of them! When I first started with Fortress, I was intimidated by the brain-power, accomplished team members and total badasses that surrounded me. Now, I feel motivated and excited to bring my unique perspective and skill set to the table. It is so validating to know I can call anyone on our engineering, CS, product or executive team to ask questions and give feedback. 

We have an understanding that while the work we are doing is important, who we are as people far surpasses any professional agenda. I think that speaks volumes to the intentionality from our leadership team to put internal wellness above external success.  

Can you share an example of success in your role so far?

Last year, I hit President’s Club in my first full year as an account executive. One of the groups that helped me get there was located in Canada, which was our first international client. Being on the team that helped expand our business outside of the US was a surreal experience. We have since expanded further in Canada, and I am constantly in awe of how hard our team works to ensure the success of every Fortress partner. 

What has been the biggest learning curve in your role so far? 

Every single property management group operates a little bit differently. I never talk to one company that’s like another, which is the best and most challenging part of my job. There are so many nuances to this industry, and I am constantly learning new processes and issues organizations face. Working with them as more of a consultant than a sales rep, allows me to meet them where they are at to truly learn about their business and what they need. I love helping teams get excited about leveraging technology to make their lives easier and find new solutions for their business. Any day Fortress can be one of those solutions is a really good day!

If you had to sum up your experience of Fortress in one word, what would it be? 

Authentic! From the openness of our internal culture to our relationships with partners and clients, we’re true to ourselves and what we think is right for this industry. 

As for how others on the team describe MK in three words… 

Kerri Davis, CEO: Assured, Authoritative, Uplifting

Victor Tsado, Junior Account Executive: Ambitious, Brave, Collaborative

Aimee Leatherman, Customer Success Director: Attentive, Open, Vibrant

William Durham, Sales Engineer: Strong-willed, Partner, Diligent

Hayley Haynes, Controller: Loyal, Driven, Someone everyone wants on their team (ok we cheated on the three words thing here.)

Who’s next? Keep an eye on our page to get more of the inside scoop!


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