Leadership Spotlight on Rachel Willis
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
by: Michele Ignacio, A.O. Reed & Co.

Section: Leadership Spotlight

Rachel Willis has worked in San Diego’s commercial industry for the past 10 years. She started her career working for Brad Stoner Painting in 2013 as their Commercial Business Development Manager. In 2021, Rachel left the role and accepted a position at Pacific Rim Mechanical as their Client Experience Representative.

Nearly 8 years ago, Rachel joined BOMA San Diego. She’s volunteered on a variety of committees over the years and served in various leadership positions – from past Education Committee Chairperson, to current Communications Chairperson and Awards, Scholarships & TOBY Chairperson. For all of her hard work and chapter contributions, Rachel earned recognition when she received the 2016 You’re the Greatest for the Education Committee, 2019 Champion of Education, and 2021 You’re the Greatest for the Awards, Scholarships & TOBY Committee.

Read below to learn about Rachel!

BOMA San Diego: Describe yourself in three words.

Rachel: Upbeat, Encouraging and Creative

BOMA San Diego: What is your leadership philosophy?

Rachel: In general, I lead by example. If I want others to invest their time, energy, and enthusiasm into something then I want them to see that I am willing to do the same. Additionally, I love exploring the ideas and creativity of those I lead. Especially on the Communications Committee, it’s been a blast watching ideas fly and then seeing them executed by our different members.

BOMA San Diego: Who/what encouraged you to volunteer in leadership roles in BOMA?

Rachel: Thor Emblem, Katie Blizzard-Kiedrowski, Ben Arvizu, Melanie Bamba-Milinkevich… so many lovely people! I was already head-over-heels for BOMA by the time I started because my previous company was so involved. Thor Emblem and Katie Blizzard-Kiedrowski encouraged me to chair the education committee and while I felt a bit overwhelmed at first, it turned out to be one of the best experiences. I am still passionate about the education program offered through our local chapter, as it makes such a difference in the lives of those who actively complete the RPA program. Seeing our members earn their designations, and in turn grow in their careers and confidence, is just so rewarding. You can learn more about this education program and upcoming classes here: BOMAsd.org/rpa-courses

BOMA San Diego: You’ve chaired the Communications Committee for the past couple of years. Can you describe the working culture of your Committee?

Rachel: We have a wonderful group of people on the Communications Committee. There is a good amount of structure in what we do, as we collect content monthly for the newsletter/social media. I enjoy watching our members take ownership over a certain section of the newsletter and then really thrive and grow in that space. This last year our committee introduced video content and it’s been an ever-evolving process. It’s been exciting to see new people step in to take on the responsibilities of interviewing, filming, and editing content. We are all learning together.

BOMA San Diego: What do you enjoy about being a BOMA Leader?

Rachel: As I mentioned above, I love watching people learn and grow! It’s also enjoyable to be a “behind the scenes” person, as it gives you a newfound appreciation for our organization and its members.

BOMA San Diego: How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

Rachel: Having a good support system! Shout out to Paris Cox, Melanie Bamba-Milinkevich and Emily Young for being the best support system when those unexpected committee challenges have arisen. These folks have kept me laughing and it’s always a blessing to have someone else to bounce ideas off of when things don’t go quite as planned.

BOMA San Diego: What is the professional achievement you’re most proud of?

Rachel: I participated in Toastmasters a few years back and it really challenged me to complete the “Competent Communicator” designation and eventually become the club’s President (for those laughing… yes, I am now officially “competent”). I joined Toastmasters toward the start of my last job when I was still new to the CRE industry, and it gave me the confidence to take on other leadership roles and even co-host last year’s BOMA Gala (one of my other favorite achievements/experiences!).

BOMA San Diego: What leadership legacy do you want to leave behind for the next generation?

Rachel: Well, that’s a good question! I’d like to support the creation of a culture where its members aren’t afraid to fail and seek to do business (and life) with character and compassion.

BOMA San Diego: What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Rachel: I enjoy hiking, road trips, reading and being generally creative with whatever life throws at me. Currently though, much of my time is spent getting tackled by my one-year-old and attempting to sleep (but it’s worth it!).

BOMA San Diego: What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

Rachel: A few semi-recent favorites include “The Maid” by Nita Prose and “This Time Together” by Carol Burnett, if you enjoy a good laugh. (I would also recommend the “Libby” library app!)