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Five on Friday: Leadership Spotlight

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We’re back with our newly launched series – “Five on Friday” (click here for a refresher).

This month we’re introducing you to co-founder and CEO, Jonathan Kite (JK). Jonathan leads the IT and marketing functions for Rent Ready to ensure our technology platform is constantly adapting to meet customer and service pros’ needs. He co-founded Rent Ready after a six-year tenure at Microsoft working as a technical account manager, operations consultant and program manager.  

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Rent Ready (RR): When did your interest in technology begin and what was your first technology innovation/accomplishment/project?

JK: My passion for technology began at an early age when I became obsessed with increasing the performance of our family computer and was caught opening it up and swapping parts in and out of it, without even really knowing what I was doing.

My first major innovation or accomplishment in technology came in my first role at Microsoft where I built an online digital services catalog that allowed Microsoft sales team members to appropriately scope client need; find appropriately matched Microsoft services to address those needs; and create an itemized list of client recommendations that could be presented in sales meetings. It was a passion project I created to help serve my own needs, but was quickly adopted by the entire U.S. Microsoft field sales team and quickly scaled to thousands of users, ultimately being recognized as a top 30 innovation within Microsoft in 2011.

RR: What is your funniest or favorite memory of hanging out with your Rent Ready team?

JK: Tradeshow season in the apartment industry is always a blast, and last year probably provided one of my favorite Rent Ready memories. We creatively incorporated a full-sized arcade claw machine into our tradeshow booth theme. Watching the fun all the tradeshow attendees had using our claw machine to fish for prizes and the adventure of actually finding a claw machine of our own is one I’ll never forget!

RR: What is your greatest professional challenge? 

JK: I’m always focused and relentlessly concerned with making sure that we provide an incredible place to work for all of our employees and pros -- a place that provides a challenge and learnings, and allows people to fulfill themselves as we work together to tackle our vision of becoming the leading expert in apartment turns across the country. Challenging myself to create that environment, to continue to nurture it and make sure we don’t stagnate is both one of the greatest challenges and privileges I have in leading this company.

RR: Which step of a turn would you want to complete if you were on the service pro side and why?

JK:  I’ve had experience helping deliver multiple steps in the turn process in my career at Rent Ready; there are some I’m just not suited for – but I’ve always been fascinated with tub refinishing.  The transformation of an old and dirty tub into something that looks completely new is magical to behold. That visual transformation so clearly highlights how impactful a well-executed service and turn can be in shaping a new home for a future resident.

RR: Fun fact about yourself: go!

JK: I am obsessed with coffee!  Some might say a little too obsessed, which is a fair criticism. Before each cup of coffee I make sure to weigh the beans before grinding them in one of several specific grinders (depending on what type of coffee I’m making) and ensure the water is the exact right temperature before weighing the water to make my cup of coffee.  Every little detail matters when you are chasing the perfect cup of coffee – which is obviously a daily (or thrice daily) essential!

Tags: leadership

Written by Amanda Akers

Amanda is the Director, Platform Strategy & Communications for Rent Ready and has been with the company for over 2 years. Her experience in marketing, branding, storytelling and product management lends itself well to truly understanding the needs of the customer and industry and pushing the Rent Ready brand to live up to those standards.

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