Fallon Henderson has spent the past seven years bouncing back and forth between Colorado Springs and Denver, working in the multi-family housing industry. Starting with Griffis Residential’s Grand River Canyon Apartments at 21, Henderson developed her career with the firm and helped start Griffis’ own management group. Now 28, she manages the apartment complex where she began — a 440-unit Class-A development in Briargate. Henderson, who was recently married, spoke about the differences she sees between the two cities, returning to the Springs and transitioning to married life in a family-friendly community.
Tell me a bit about your professional background.
I started leasing at Grand River Canyon when I was 21, so that was the first full-time job where I really had responsibilities beyond just being a receptionist or an assistant to someone else. I realized probably within three months that I could actually do something with it. When you work in an industry where everything is due at a certain time of the month, it seems to go by very fast and you look up one day and you have been there for a year or two. I’m one of those people who just sets goals. I work really hard to meet those goals, and then I move on to the next goal. So when I started making some decent money and realized that I could cut down on my personal expenses with the housing discount, I decided to move to Denver. … I had the opportunity to go to Lakewood in April 2008 and really stretch my skills there and grow as a leasing consultant.
When did you come back to the Springs?
I returned to Grand River Canyon in December 2008 and met my goal to become an assistant manager, and then had the opportunity to go back to Denver and stay with the Griffis Group. … Then we opened our own management company, and it was cool to kind of be one of the first to work and see all of the changes. I really felt like I was a part of something — I was really excited about that. After two years I got into a relationship with my now-husband, who was a friend of mine in high school here in Colorado Springs. He got an opportunity at Colorado Springs Utilities and there happened to also be an opening here at Grand River Canyon — for the third time now — so it worked out perfectly. Within two months of me being here, the manager gave notice, and because I had been here and knew the community so well, they gave me the opportunity to be the community manager here. I wouldn’t have it any other way: This is where I started, and it is such a privilege to be the manager here.
From your own experience, what have been the biggest differences in those two markets?
The competition in Denver is very different. Their market is two to three times what our is in terms of availability. … They were able to bounce back economically and start breaking ground a lot faster than we were. So Denver is probably a year ahead of us in terms of demand and rent increases.
What do you like about Colorado Springs compared to the Denver market?
I feel like in Denver, the focus is very career-driven. Down here, there is more of a balance between work and home, and now that I’m married I really appreciate that. … It’s not quite as high pressure.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Now that things are starting to settle down, we’re starting to do more outdoors. Last week we did the Incline in Manitou, and we like going to Garden the Gods and stuff like that. … I also love to cook. It’s not something I did a whole lot when I was single — I think I just like to see the look on my husband’s face when he comes home. … I watch Food Network and Travel Channel a lot, so I steal a lot of recipes from there and make different things that I’ve seen. nCSBJ