In her role as Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Atara Harrison has a passion for being a driving force behind effecting positive change in the operations of Avenue Living Communities.
“My role is to be part of assessing the organization to see where we can make improvements in our operations, considering all aspects, including operations and sales. Our staff is a huge component. Analyzing our strategies and our business objectives, then aligning processes and training to support them. We carefully monitor our performance, to make sure we’re going where we want to go,” she says.
“What I like most is being ‘the bridge’; being a support to many different teams, getting the message from executive leaders to our boots on the ground and watching it actually effect change.”
Harrison has been in her current role for close to two years. She first started with Avenue Living five years ago, in the operations team as a facilities effectiveness coordinator where she coordinated multiple projects, such as handling large-scale appliance and floor orders. Then she became an executive assistant, following that by going on to manage the company’s call centre. Next, she was a sales manager in cities like Wetaskiwin, Camrose and Red Deer, Alberta.
“I was in the sales manager role for quite some time before beginning my current role. I had nine cities under my view. I helped open two new cities where we had just purchased new properties; setting up their offices, hiring staff and getting the sales side of the job organized,” says Harrison.
She then proposed a new role in the company for continuous improvement, based on the knowledge and experience she had gained in her various capacities with Avenue Living. “I got really heavily into data mining, working with software and developing reporting tools.”
Calgary-based Avenue Living, an asset manager of rental, commercial and agricultural properties across Western Canada, began as a company in 2006 with the purchase of 24 rental units in Brooks, Alberta for $3 million. The company provides economical housing for what it considers to be the “workforce housing” population.
Recently, the value of its assets surpassed $1.4 billion.
“Looking over the last five years with Avenue Living, what I like most is how progressive we are as a company and how employees are including in decision making and finding solutions. If there’s an idea and someone is passionate about what they want to do, it’s really supported,” says Harrison.
“I love that there’s an open-mindedness. Avenue is constantly challenging the status quo. It’s fast-paced, you’re always thinking, you’re always collaborating. The opportunities to learn and develop are just tremendous and supported well.”