This week we sat down with Client Experience Manager (CEM) Anne Richmond. One of our quirkiest and most fun members of the team, we learned about her early astronaut aspirations, fascinating hobbies, and what makes her happy about working at TripleMint.
Where are you from?
I’m from Chicago, Illinois and I lived there until I was fourteen, when I begged my parents to let me go to boarding school. I went to Tabor Academy, located in Marion, Massachusetts. We call it “the School by the Sea” – It looks out over Buzzard’s Bay and is really beautiful. I spent four years there. Part way through I realized I wasn’t going to be an astronaut. Which was definitely the plan. I love Star Wars and from a young age I thought I was going to be the first woman on Mars.
How did you pursue that dream?
I went to Space Academy – not Space Camp – twice. It’s the next level of Space Camp.
There’s a Space camp?
Yes and I won a medal and I’m still proud of it.
What did you win the medal for? And what’s space camp?
Space camp/academy/advanced space academy is…
Is there a lot of space there?
The space between the wicked lies (*singing*). The one I went to has a couple locations. There’s one down in Florida at Cape Canaveral and one in Huntsville, Alabama. I went to the one in Huntsville. They also run Aviation Challenge, which is for people who want to learn how to be a fighter pilot. So we went in 7th grade as a school trip and I waited with bated breath to do that. When we went, it was so exciting. Part of it is classes on the history of the space program, part of it is experiments. You were with your same “crew” the whole time, so we had different missions named after moons of different planets. The second time I went I was team Io because it was a big deal. The first time we were team Ganymede. I loved the fact that we got to do two missions using the same equipment that astronauts use to train. People are in mission control, and operating in a Space Station as well as in the shuttle. But, I really wanted to be the commander of the orbiter. They made me commander of the orbiter on my second mission and it made me ecstatic. I definitely had my Han Solo moment because they would start throwing in issues that we had to figure out how to solve. I remember there was one point where we had to start our descent and we had a window of when we had to enter and we couldn’t get the shuttle doors to close and we got the mission specialist inside and they couldn’t close. Had we started our descent with the doors open we would have burned up and died horribly in a ball of flame.
That’s a lot for a seventh grade student to handle.
So we freaked out and none of us knew what to do. We were thinking “we’re gonna die! we’re gonna die!” But I said, “No! Men and women of this ship, we are not going down.” I went into an Independence Day speech. We ended up solving the problem and it was the perfect ending to a seventh grade action movie. And we won an award – I won outstanding trainee! Man, I was so epic in seventh grade.
On a scale of one to Anne Richmond, how much of an Anne Richmond story was that?
I’m not an astronaut for several reasons. Number one: I don’t have 20/20 vision and at the time I was deciding if I should pursue the naval academy. I knew I would have to get surgery to do it. At that time, they weren’t sure if getting lasik on your eyes was something they would allow for prospective pilots. The more compelling issue is I can’t do math very well. I was killing myself in AP classes to do something that did not come to me naturally. That’s not to say I can’t do basic math, but I realized I was going to have to spend a lifetime doing things during the day I would not care about just to say I was an astronaut. Not a good way to spend your life force. Ultimately, a teacher at Tabor encouraged me to consider a life in the arts. That’s how I started on the path to NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where I got my BFA in theater. And I spent the last ten years of my life pursuing that. I know Austin has a similar story, but it is definitely a hard life to pursue. There’s not a lot of stability. Huge highs and really low lows. So I really wanted to find a full-time job and transition to doing artistic things on the side. Here at TripleMint I can fulfill my artistic and professional endeavors.
What is your family like?
I’m an only child so I have my mom, who is from the South. She grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee and is a very A-type personality who succeeded in school a lot. Eventually she got her law degree from the University of Chicago, became a partner at a law firm, and now is happily retired. I think I get a lot of my passion for things from her. She’s always doing things to make a difference and I really admire that. She has really done everything she could to help me on my path to becoming an adult – I’m sure she was nervous when I first decided to go to art school but she knew had she pursued something in her life that she didn’t love, she would have been very unhappy. My dad is a caterer. He did a lot of city planning jobs before he took on his chef business. It’s called Chez Vous.
He was the stay at home dad — he was working but had events in the evening so he was always the one taking me to school, making sure I got back in time to watch Sailor Moon, watching Wishbone with me. Lots of that stuff. He introduced me to Star Wars, which is a lifelong love of mine because I am an unabashed nerd and proud of it. He oddly sat in on every piano lesson I’ve ever had. When he told my teacher that he wanted to do that she was completely freaked out by it, but he did it anyways. Maybe he was trying to learn through osmosis. The only time that he’s ever been super angry with me is because I was not practicing piano. When my dad gets mad it’s unnerving because he is the most patient soul on Earth.
He’s from Long Island originally and his brother, Jack, traveled the world and took up residence on the Upper West Side. Jack has always been a huge Broadway buff and from a young age my parents would send me on weekend trips to see Uncle Jack and we would see as many Broadway shows as we could in a weekend. Our whole family is very into musical theatre and there’s a lot of singing in the car, which translates to me singing in the office, which people probably question often. My family is pretty close. We’re honestly closer than we were and we try to take a trip outside of the country every year to explore. It’s really nice to get to a point in your family in which they’re your friends and not your parents and it doesn’t happen for everyone but I’m lucky enough to say it’s happened for me.
Where do you think you guys are going this year?
Well, I went to Japan this past year with my friends and so I’ve had the immense privilege of traveling to many places, so I feel very spoiled when I’m like “Oh, Italy’s great but I’ve been there 4 times.”. They just got back from Scotland this past year. It’s always a conversation to figure out where we’re going next. I ask “Well why not here?” and they say “Oh we just went there.” That’s a ridiculous conversation to have. I’m trying to steer them towards Japan because there are aspects of that trip that really shook me to my core. When you travel so much, when you’re lucky enough to be able to do that, not every country feels like you could live there or you love it. Some of it’s just an adventure, right? But there are a couple places where I have been that are like “I could live here” and those three are Rome, London and Kyoto.
I love Tokyo and I could live there too but all of the geisha history and beautiful gardens are in Kyoto. Also, guys, you’re just a train ride away from Nara and they have deer there. There are deer everywhere and they give you cookies and then they love you. They follow you around and you get to feel like Snow White and it’s pretty fantastic. Japan is the perfect mix of my nerdy interests between anime and rich cultural history, which I’m always attracted to because America is so young that it’s always like “I’m going somewhere else where the history comes from.” Maybe I’m an old soul, but I tend to go places where there’s just this rich history.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a cosplayer. That means in my free time I try to find conventions like Comic-con and go to them throughout the year. I make costumes of characters from different shows on television. My last few costumes have been a Jedi costume and a My Little Pony Costume. I’ve also done a costume from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve been trying to find new ways to become artistically fulfilled and one of those ways was not being onstage but creating and crafting all these things. That’s a huge way for me to spend my free time. I also perform in the New York Renaissance Faire in my free time. It’s a very fun way to spend my weekends during the summer. I also perform with my a capella group, The Sirens of Sterling, which was started at the Renaissance Faire, but sometimes does gigs around the city.
Any funny stories from TripleMint?
When our last associate was here, Kim, we had just moved our Client Experience Department from under the Head of Sales to under the Marketing Department, Austin. When we were under sales, our Head of Sales had to focus a ton of time on supporting the agents and growing the company, so when we moved to marketing, Austin immediately impacted our ability to service clients. But we also got to experience the one-man wonder that is “Austin Bradley.” He is just so funny all the time that our last intern and other CEM at the time, Emily, decided to take down his quotes. Austin did not know about this and he was constantly spitting gold. We would put it into a file. Eventually, Christmas started to roll around and we realized we had to find some way to honor this body of work. We created a book of Austin’s quotations. As we started to get more and more into this, he started to catch on that something was up because at one point one of us accidentally sent a quote to him. He asked us, “are you guys writing what I’m saying?” Ultimately, we presented him with this book of his quotes with random stock photos. Not only are the quotes funny, but the whole process brought constant sunshine into the office.
While we were connecting clients to agents who could really help there was this thing going on under the surface and while it’s not a story with a punchline, it provided a lot of fun and camaraderie in the office, which I think is pretty common around here. People like to joke around and have a good time. Sometimes I’ll be having a rough day and I read the book.
Take us through one of your days. What’s a day in the life of Anne Richmond at TripleMint.
I wake up, hopefully. I try to be here by 9:30 so once people start calling, they have someone to talk to – I’m really the first line of communication here. I follow up with people who signed up a year ago or who closed on an apartment with us a year ago to see if they are looking to move again. I also reach out to people who I said I would follow up with on the day. Then I go through my inbox and respond to emails from people looking at specific apartments or have questions. It’s my goal for every single client to feel like they have been helped at every point of the interaction. The issue is I want to make sure they have a next step. This is what happens throughout the day in many different forms, but in the morning it’s making sure that we can help anyone who signs up.
Something I’m really proud of – and I think we’ve all suffered at one point or another trying to find an apartment in the city – is that our site is a direct feed of the internal database brokers use to search for apartments. When you deal with bait-and-switch behavior that happens so often, it makes me happy that our clients don’t have to worry about that behavior. I can give them a source of more information alongside connecting them with an agent who is real. They don’t have to worry about wasting their time and I don’t’ have to worry that we are lying to people. There’s a huge lack of transparency in real estate and we are trying to tackle that. So a big part of my day is getting on the phone and telling potential clients about why we are different, why they should work with us, and common misconceptions with the apartment search. I want to make sure they have someone to talk to before they meet with the agent who will handle their transaction so they don’t feel pushed in any particular way. I had someone ask me on the phone once if I was the founder of the company and I responded, “no, but I’ve definitely drunk the kool-aid.” And that is absolutely true. I really believe in David and Phil’s passion for TripleMint and it is infectious. We look for people who fill that.
I get a bit of a break in the middle of the day and then I make more calls and follow up with people after they’ve been on appointments to make sure everyone is on the same page. Unlike traditional brokerages, I shepherd people through their whole search and am always there. Most of my day is dealing with new people, but a fair portion of it is communicating with agents about how things are going and talking through issues that arise and looking for ways we can improve this department. Since no one else has this business model, there’s no roadmap for how this role is supposed to be done, so that is one way I get to be creative every day – trying to figure out what the best way is to do this job.