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At Cardinal, our culture embodies many different elements: it’s about improving as a team while having fun growing together both personally and professionally. Our team members are the heart and soul of our culture! We are so grateful for the efforts our team members put in daily to go the extra mile to help change the industry and challenge the status quo.

Today we’re celebrating Lauren Byrd and her dedicated years of service to the growth of our team over the last ten years.

Learn more about Lauren’s journey below!

What is your role? 

Benefits Manager

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Describe your Cardinal Journey (roles you previously worked in before your current position)

When I started with Cardinal on 6/2/14, I was the first National Recruiter the company had. By nature of it being a small team at that time, I also took on several HR-related tasks and really found a passion for that side of the business. I’ve held several roles over the years, and most of them have been the first of their kind at Cardinal – HR Business Partner, HR Manager, Benefits Specialist, People Operations Manager, and Benefits Manager to name a few. I have primarily been on the People & Culture team here at Cardinal and love getting to support all of our team members across the company. It is my goal each day to make someone else’s day better. 

How did you decide to join the Cardinal team?

Back in early 2014, my husband and I had recently moved back to Colorado and at the time, the property management company I was with did not have any opportunities in the state. I temporarily worked for a financial firm in recruiting because I had done this right out of college too. But, I just couldn’t get away from the student housing industry! Sure enough, I came across Cardinal Group on LinkedIn and took a risk by reaching out. Long story short, Cardinal Group was just something different and I could feel the culture come to life from the very first interview. The rest is history 🙂

What’s the most significant lesson you’ve learned in your time at Cardinal?

Speak up. It is so important to provide feedback, receive feedback, and advocate for yourself when you are eager to grow. Most of the roles I have had in my time here at Cardinal are a result of me speaking up and desiring growth in my career. 

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What do you find most exciting about your job? Most challenging? 

I love getting to work with all team members across the company! Our benefits program touches each person in the company in one way or another, so it is wonderful to build relationships with folks in all positions and all over the country. The most challenging part of my role would be keeping up with the nuances and compliance regulations in all of the states we reside in. There is always something new to learn!

If you could choose one word to describe your time at Cardinal, what would it be and why?

Dynamic. Lots of change, lots of growth, lots of memories. Cardinal is not your typical company – while we move fast, we have a unique opportunity to be a part of something great here as the company evolves, grows, and continues to be an industry leader.

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Who has been influential in your life (professionally or personally), and how have they helped guide you?

My father is my greatest professional influence – he was with the same company for the entirety of his career and grew from the ground up to leading an entire region in the financial industry. I am grateful for Alex O’Brien’s leadership here at Cardinal – he is one of the main reasons I joined the company & have stayed for so long. He is a servant leader and never asks the team to do something he wouldn’t do.

What’s something people may not know about you?   

 I do not like bacon. At all. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Always be open-minded and ready for a challenge. Each day in this industry is different and moves at a fast pace, so be ready for what each new day will bring!

What is your proudest moment working at Cardinal Group?

My proudest career moment at Cardinal is being inducted into the Cardinal Hall of Fame in 2023. Such an honor!

What is your biggest motivator? 

My family. I want to set a good example of hard work and motivation for my kids, and help provide for my family. 

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What has been the most interesting change you’ve seen in the industry, and why? 

 It has been interesting to see how the industry has shifted especially in the last few years with more remote options and roles. To the surprise of many, it works!

What is your favorite college town in America, and why?

Columbia, MO will always hold a special place in my heart! My husband is a Mizzou grad (M-I-Z!) and this is where I got my start in student housing.

Are you ready to start your Cardinal Journey? See our open opportunities