Gretchen Bracey Is Someone You Can Lean On

Employee Spotlight, Gretchen Bracey, Senior Regional Manager

Gretchen and family pose for a wonderful family photoAs Senior Regional Manager, Gretchen Bracey is a go-to for communication between Campus Advantage’s on-site staff and corporate office. With a background in both campus and conventional housing, Gretchen leverages her passion for training and problem-solving skills to recruit, motivate, and develop the on-site teams in her portfolio to achieve maximum performance. We sat down to chat with Gretchen about a typical day in her role at Campus Advantage, her favorite ways to cheer on her team and family, the core value that represents her best, and more.

Tell us a little bit about your current role and how long you’ve been with the company.

I was hired in March 2023 as a Senior Regional Manager. My role embodies being the support system my team leans on whenever they’re in need. If they have any questions, need help in any capacity, or even if they need to vent, I’m there for them. I think it’s important they have a free and safe space where they can get feedback and also express when they’re frustrated or feeling stressed from the daily grind they might be dealing with. I always tell them to vent up, not below. Our on-site team members are crucial, and if they have the resources they need, they can get the job done, but they also know I’m here for them at any time, any hour of any day, to assist. That’s my job.

What first attracted you to work for Campus Advantage?

The core values. I spoke to many people who provided great feedback regarding Campus Advantage and their leadership team. I felt from the moment I had my first interaction with HR to throughout the interview process, it was meant to be — it just felt right. It’s a true blessing that this door opened, and I was able to join a group of phenomenal leaders that stayed true to walking the talk right. It’s legit, and I just couldn’t believe it. They truly stand by that. I want to say how focused they are on family and the work family, too. You don’t have to be nervous or scared to express your opinion, or if you have a new idea, it’s very welcomed.

What is your professional background?

When I was in college for my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, I was a resident assistant within the dorms, and then I just kind of moved my way up. I would work summers assisting with housing needs for summer groups to ensure their rooms were ready upon arrival. It was very important they had a great experience, and from that point on, my passion was to help others. My husband and I came to Arizona from Wisconsin in 2001, and we haven’t left. I began as a freshman hall director at the Arizona State University east campus, was promoted to the ASU west campus as the hall director, did sorority housing for a period, and then worked with Greystar in conventional housing. I quickly realized my heart was in student housing and got the opportunity to get back into the fast-paced student market when I became an area coordinator for three properties here in Tempe. My most recent job was transitioning to a regional manager position before coming to Campus Advantage.

What does a typical day look like for you and your team?

My team and I are responsible for the overall operations and everything in between that happens at their community. It doesn’t matter if their customers are external, internal, or our residents. They must have very good communication skills with everyone they encounter and know the ins and outs of what’s happening at their community. I always say if you do that to the best of your ability every single day, you did your job. I’m always making sure my team gets what they need to get their job done. I want to know where they want to be in 5–10 years, make that roadmap, and plan how to achieve it.

What three words best describe you (inside or outside of work)?

Passionate – I’ve always been passionate about my job and what I believe in.

Charismatic – I like to bring things to life even when it’s serious — I like to lighten the mood as I realize every decision is extremely important, but we can have fun in the process to get to the goal.

Loyal – I’m always dedicated to everything I do and loyal to the people in my life. If I say I will get something done, it is my word and character, and I will follow through.

How would you describe the Campus Advantage culture?

They truly care about their employees. I’m trying to think of the right words, like what’s the word where you just pour yourself into your employees and you want to see them be successful. I don’t want to get emotional, but I feel if you don’t embrace loving your work family and you don’t embrace loving the people you are around, it’s not going to work for you. I see how hard everyone works, and it makes me want to work harder, but they always tell me that my family’s first, and sometimes I need to take a step back. My supervisors always reiterate, “Your job will be there tomorrow. Do what’s most important.” And that’s why I try to push that onto my team as well. I have a company I work for that supports me in this “family is priority” mindset, too.

What is one of your favorite moments with Campus Advantage so far?

I would say the different platforms and resources for training. Since I have only been with the company for a year, I know the training’s out there and it’s available, but you must make time for the training courses in place and not be afraid to ask for help when needed. Every company is different in the sense of the different policies, but opening that roadmap of understanding who to reach out to and building those connections is crucial. If you don’t have that and you don’t feel comfortable, then it closes the door to grow. You can add more value when you are vulnerable, and I can tell you based on my experience it is worth the risk. In regard to training, we’re a smaller company, so those opportunities to try a different way and see if it works have been refreshing because I feel confident that I can give my feedback without feeling any sort of way.

Which one of Campus Advantage’s core values represents you best?

I would say Integrity. I feel that, at the end of the day, you’ve got to make the best decision, and you’ve got to do the what’s best for yourself, your team, and the overall business. My character is very, very important to me. I hold up and hold true to that, and I want my team to know that I will always do my very best to get them the correct answer. We may make mistakes, but just own it. I am very passionate about my team and my job.

Thinking about your most successful peers and teammates, what characteristics do they share?

Consistency. That can go across many different areas of life; they show up and they grind through even when life gets hard. Whatever life throws at us, they push forward and work hard to overcome those challenges. It may be a hurdle right now, but at the end of the day, you learn so much from those lows to get to the triumphs. We can look back and think about what was learned from those experiences and hopefully pass on advice to others, or if they’re going through something similar that you can be the support system they might desperately need.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I am a wife and a mom and truly embrace every part of that. I have been married to my college sweetheart, Damien, for the past 21 years, and we have two amazing kids. Zoe is 18 (and graduating high school this year), and Silas is 9 years old and in fourth grade. Our life consists of nonstop sporting events, specifically basketball and supporting them, along with every daily adventure that occurs within their lives. I am the mom who will cheer loud in the stands at their sporting events and make “fat head” signs to hold up and make sure they know I am there (I can be a little extra like that). I always show up. We love to support Wisconsin teams — our home state — and are huge Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Bucks fans. And just doing things to continue to make memories together as time truly flies.