Carly Shepherd - Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Leading with Purpose

Authentic Leadership with Carly Shepherd

You might assume that someone running the leasing and marketing department at Student Quarters has been immersed in this side of the industry since day one, but Carly’s story is a unique one. With over 16 years of experience on the operations side of student housing, Carly’s journey began as an assistant manager and eventually led her to manage a portfolio of 27 properties as a regional vice president. However, her true calling was leasing and marketing. She realized that it was what truly ignited her passion every morning. With the perfect blend of her operational expertise and passion for the creative, people side, she transitioned into her current role as VP of Sales and Marketing.

A Chance Suggestion:

Before her career in student housing, Carly’s life was on an entirely different trajectory. She worked as a bank teller, a job that had its fair share of harrowing incidents. It was during this period that one of her regular customers suggested she explore a career in student housing. This moment led Carly to take a leap of faith and join a student housing property as an Assistant Manager in 2001. Little did she know that her innate passion for people would lead her to thrive in her role. 


Leadership Philosophy:

Carly is a leader who believes in the “trust but verify” approach. She provides her team with the autonomy they need to shine. In her view, trustworthy individuals don’t require micromanagement. However, Carly admits that she used to be quite hands-on, involved in every aspect of her team’s work. But as her career evolved, she learned the art of balance and trust. Today, she emphasizes being present when needed, offering support to her team, and acting as a sounding board to help them develop self-confidence.


Exceptional Leadership & Fostering Collaboration:

Exceptional leadership, according to Carly, involves leading by example, effective communication, and ensuring that everyone feels valued and heard. She has cultivated a work environment founded on trust and open, honest feedback, encouraging authenticity and genuine collaboration.

Carly’s team naturally gets along, making collaboration feel effortless. She has created a safe space where team members are free to voice their opinions, even when those opinions may not directly impact them. Open communication and feedback are the keys to her team’s success.

To stay updated on leadership and teamwork trends, Carly immerses herself in books, podcasts, and the wisdom of influential mentors. She values the insights they provide on authentic and effective leadership, particularly in an ever-evolving student housing landscape.


Advice for Aspiring Leaders:

For those aspiring to become better leaders and teammates, Carly offers some invaluable advice. She places emphasis on hiring exceptional people and ensuring they are in the right roles. Her motto is to “trust but verify,” maintaining a healthy balance between trusting her team and periodically checking in. Most importantly, she believes in treating people with kindness and respect, a practice she sums up as, “Be nice. Be kind. Be a good human. Treat people the way you want to be treated.”


In conclusion, Carly Shepherd’s journey from operations to leasing and marketing offers a wealth of insights into leadership and teamwork within the student housing industry. Her trust-based leadership philosophy and dedication to fostering a culture of collaboration and support make her a shining example of a leader. Carly’s advice to hire exceptional people and treat others with kindness and respect is timeless wisdom for anyone seeking success in their career.