Stanforth makes work fun, often leads by example

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Pat Stanforth wears a lot of hats.

The ebullient vice president of resident management at Griffis/Blessing Inc., a real estate services company with offices in Colorado Springs, Denver and Pueblo, keeps current property owners happy, meets with prospective clients, schedules interviews for open positions and handles all the advertising and marketing for her department.

It’s a 16-hour-per-day job she manages to squeeze into 10.

“Every day is different,” she said. “In the leadership role I am in, I try to set the tone and direction for our department.”

Stanforth recently received kudos as Female Business Leader of the Year in CSBJ’s the Best in Springs Business survey, which came as a total shock to her.

“I’m am surprised and honored by this award,” she said. “There are a lot of wonderful business leaders [in Colorado Springs], and I don’t know why I won. I was completely surprised.”

Stanforth breezes in at 7:30 each morning, and tries to leave by 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but, as she puts it, she is “always available for an emergency.”

In her real estate firm, so-called real estate emergencies are handled by the family-a company family that offers variety within all levels of employment, allowing each member (employee) to have his or her own special niche, while remaining a vital part of the team.

Why might her employees enjoy working with her? She’s no micromanager.

“I try to allow them to do their job without daily interference and make every day fun,” Stanforth said. “I am very consistent in my decision-making process and I truly do care about my employees.

“This industry is very stressful, especially in light of [the] economic downturn. I am always trying to find ways to ease the load for our on-site personnel.”

Her department includes residential property managers who oversee apartment complexes in Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Denver.

“Each position holds its own special value, and they all work together for the good of the company and the residents.”

One of her employees, District Manager Sheridan Carter, has worked for 10 years at Griffis/Blessing and supervises 11 apartment communities in Colorado Springs and Denver. Carter says she’s learned “a ton” from Stanforth.

“Even though she’s vice president of our company, she puts herself at the worker level,” Carter said. “She’s very hands on, but hands on from a distance-she leads by example. By that, I mean if she were out on a site, and she saw trash on the ground, she’d pick it up. She doesn’t ask anyone to do anything she wouldn’t do.”

Carter, 40, calls Stanforth a mentor of sorts in the field of property management.

“She likes to try to make work fun. I really enjoy working with her. She’s a very good businesswoman, a very smart businesswoman … She’s very fair with everybody and everything. And she’s very dedicated to her employees.”

In addition to acquiring her CPM (Certified Property Manager) designation, the indomitable Stanforth is active in the local real estate community.

She served seven years on the board and is currently a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). She is president-elect for the Colorado Springs Apartment Association and will be installed this month.

Stanforth, 51, has worked in property management for half her life-26 years. Prior to joining Griffis/Blessing, she was a regional property manager for ProStar Management Co. in San Diego from 1987-92. Before that, she worked with Dunlap and Magee Asset Management in Phoenix from 1978-87.

She has been married for 31 years to Mark Stanforth; they have two sons, 21-year-old Nick and 18-year-old Daniel. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Dakota-Springfield.

Despite her 50-hour-plus weeks, Stanforth said she cannot take the credit for her success at Griffis/Blessing, including her district managers and on-site staff as part of the overall achievements of her department.

“The people who work for Griffis/Blessing are true professionals. That just makes it so much more fun to come to work every day.”