We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking has fueled my career path from the very beginning, starting with Smart City. After graduating college, I accepted a 100% commission sales role in Multi-Family Real Estate as an apartment locator. Even though the risks were abundant–I didn’t have any savings or financial support from my family to fall back on–I made the move from small-town Arkansas to Dallas, Texas with only a gut instinct that the rewards were greater than the risks and an insatiable motivation to succeed.
By taking that initial risk and experiencing the success that came from it, I was able to trust myself when an even greater career opportunity was presented to me–launching Smart City Denver. Despite all the closures and lay-offs that were happening during the Covid-19 pandemic, Smart City saw an opportunity to help even more people and expanded to the first market outside of Texas. We had no idea how the pandemic would impact the company or the industry as we began to see other companies making the extremely tough decisions to dissolve and/or close their doors. Smart City is a team of fighters and fearless risk-takers, so instead of slowing down and moving with caution, we decided to expedite expansion, and I was given the opportunity to launch Smart City Denver. This decision initially shook me to my core, but I trusted myself and the people guiding me. Flash forward a year and I couldn’t be more proud of where we are today and what Smart City Denver has achieved so far. We have an incredible team and unstoppable momentum–but we’re just getting started!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve had an ultra unconventional childhood. I think this built me into becoming the extreme career-oriented individual that I am today although I didn’t always see it in that light. (But hey, there’s a silver lining in everything right?) Growing up in the South, I was surrounded with peers who had grown up in the same circle their entire lives and never leaving their hometowns – meanwhile I attended 9 different schools throughout my K-12th grade tenure and had to learn independence at a really young age. Sometimes life would seem unfair as I just wanted to have a “normal” life, but it amplified an internal fear of getting too comfortable, staying in one spot, settling too soon. My mother was a workaholic and I always wanted to make her proud – which fueled my desire to work hard and invest myself into a company as soon as I could. I started within the fashion industry as a stylist, and quickly climbed up the ranks from store supervisor to head buyer at 19 years old. I had the position I didn’t expect to come for years and I found myself making sacrifices of health and work/life balance starting at a really young age. I learned an invaluable lesson there. How you treat yourself at work starts from the expectations from those above you. Who leads you? How do they treat themselves at work? How do they value work life balance?
This foundation I created for myself early on allowed me to find a company, Smart City, that cherishes their people and encourages fun along the way. I am most proud of working for this company and the opportunities, tools, and support that they’ve given me to be successful in launching our Denver branch.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d kick our adventure off with a hike of the Flatirons in Boulder with Bohemian Biergarten to follow. Their honey-bite bier complimented with their crispy Czech style gnocchi dish would hopefully get my best friend to never want to leave Colorado again.
I’d bring them back for a wholesome game at the Rockies Stadium, after some incredible food at Zeppelin’s Station. I’d be eager to get them over to the Refinery post-game, so they can experience a buzz button shot for the first time. (Hello, mouth tingles!)
Next up would be a quick work-out at Red Rocks Amphitheater, to be followed by a sunny day park hang at Confluence Park, so I could show them the ropes of spike-ball and get our furry friends some sunshine! We’d take a stroll through LoDo + LoHi, and find a spot at The Green Collective for their fantastic toast flight.
I wouldn’t be able to let them leave, without spending a day at Highlands Square and enjoying the farmers market. Fresh bread, fresh veggies and fresh bouquets to take back to my place, topped off with a loaded charcuterie board from St. Killian’s Cheese Shop.
These are a few of my favorite things!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Michael Wagnon – this ones for you! Michael hired me at Smart City as an apartment locator, which was life-changing for me in the best way possible. I lived out-of -state, had no experience with high-volume sales, and would be the youngest person at the company, but he took a huge chance and brought me on confidently. Michael guided me during my time as a locator, but the biggest impact he made on my life was when he coached me through the Denver launch. This was a monumental time for my career and he wasn’t just a boss– Michael stepped up as a leader, mentor, coach, and friend. Different days called for different hats, and he showed me what flexibility as a leader looks like based on the needs of your team. He always created a safe space for his team to be authentic, and while every role has hardships, he was able to walk us through each one with grace. Now, I use my experiences with him to influence my own leadership style.
Melissa Spurrier Photography