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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 Stephanie Zimmerman and her dedicated years of service to the growth of our team over the last five years.

Learn more about Stephanie’s journey below!

What is your role?

Assistant Portfolio Manager cell 9.3

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

I’ve worked in the multi-family/student housing space for quite some time. My first role with Cardinal Group since becoming an APM was that of a Community Manager for Logan Square, a 644-bed property in Auburn, AL. I was at the property for 5 years. Before that, I worked with a small management company in the south. I oversaw a vast array of properties, from affordable to multifamily and new development.


How did you decide to join the Cardinal team?

I was managing a site when Cardinal took over the management of the 6 sites for our client. Upon my first day, I knew Cardinal was the best decision for our portfolio. Michelle Cook onboarded our site and gave our team a nice breath of fresh air. I was excited to join a company with an exciting culture and platforms to ensure team success. I saw our portfolio’s future growth and mine with a company that invests in its employees and has strong values within it.

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

How the culture you create is imperative. How a team only works if everyone respects and trusts each other. You have to give everyone the chance to grow, try different things out, and have fun while working together.


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

These are intertwined for me. It is exciting because there is something new each day, as no two days are the same. The most challenging is that I thrive on organization and structure. In the beginning, there was so much everywhere coming onto our portfolio. I am a “fixer,” so it motivated me to create new processes and new structures. Seeing how those challenges were seen as room for improvement and knowing I played a part is exciting and fulfilling.


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



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

I have so many team members who have played impactful roles in my journey.

With my Cardinal Role specifically, David Timmerman and Kyle Medley. David saw past my title and saw the skills and talents I could bring to the table and used them. Kyle has not only been a great example of a leader with how he guides and treats his team, but he is also a motivator to call me out when I am not seeing my potential. He gives me a clear perspective of my goals and how to take my skills and talents to the next level and advocate for myself. Lastly, it is hard to pick out one, but all the women of Cardinal truly motivate me, and how we all have come together to build each other up is very impactful.

On a personal level, I give credit to my husband and my parents. My husband is my biggest fan and has pushed me since day one. We both started in smaller leadership roles and have grown and advanced by working hard and aspiring for great things. Lastly, my parents have been great role models; they own a small business, and I owe my work ethic to them from watching them and seeing what hard work can give you. Also, for help with logistics when I have late-night calls and my husband is traveling!

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What’s something people may not know about you?   

I love to sing! This is hard to say without sounding like I am bragging, but I have won almost every singing competition I have been in. I also advanced quite far each time (4) I auditioned for American Idol.


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

Take it day by day, do your best, and give yourself grace! Find what makes you feel fulfilled in your role and aim to make a positive impact with it. Many talents that make people truly happy can make mountains move in a positive direction.


What is your proudest moment working at Cardinal Group? 

My proudest moment was just a few weeks ago, to have the site I managed for 5 years get nominated for turnaround property. The site has been a lot of work, and so many obstacles have been overcome, from having 53% occupancy one year to 95% to now being 30% pre-leased compared to the prior year. Seeing it all come together, from AR to Internet upgrades and the site being successful as a whole, is bittersweet.

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What is your biggest motivator? 

Regarding my career, sharing knowledge and helping others make an impact. It is important that I am part of something that is bigger than myself. I truly enjoy seeing how helping team members grow helps them professionally and impacts many other divisions within their roles, teams, and company. Providing essential information is also motivating because it helps the team and the client clarify how the organization will move forward. Making an impact in this industry and resident’s lives is motivating.

My biggest Motivator outside of work would be my children. I want to instill in them the work ethic my parents showed me and to truly believe they can do anything they put their minds to. I also want to show them to do something that makes them happy and fulfills them.


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

So much has changed and continues to change every year, which makes it exciting and challenging. The adaptation of systems and processes has been the most impressive in the past year. We have brought on new innovative tools from AI, QX Accounting, and Adaptive. It is impressive that our company invests in all the platforms to ensure streamlined processing and client satisfaction.


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

Y’all, this is way too hard. I have so many things I love about each college town I visit. It is hard to pick just one; if I had to move to another one outside of the one right down the street from me ( Auburn University), that I would call home would be the University of Georgia located in Athens, Georgia, for its Southern charm, amenities, and outdoor recreation.

Are you ready to start your Cardinal Journey?

See our open opportunities.