Debra Wyatte is the Chief Commercial Officer for Cecilian Partners, and she brings over a decade of experience working with community developers, production home builders and homeowners’ associations. She brings a specific breadth and depth of knowledge to the executive team at Cecilian. She knows how to leverage trends in design, operations and programming that improve resident engagement, and bring to life developer visions like health and wellness through strategic social programming and planning.
At IBSx, Debra will be one of the speakers for the virtual session, The Social Distance Adaptive: The New Rules for Driving Foot Traffic to Your Community. We caught up with her to get a sneak peek into the session and ask how the last year has been for her.
NAHB: Without giving too much away, what will people learn at your IBSx education session?
DEBRA: For years, builders have leveraged marketing events to generate interest in their communities. In 2020, the industry was challenged with restrictions around large gatherings and adapting to social distancing efforts to meet requirements and, most importantly, the consumers’ comfort level. Customers now engage with the community differently, and when they do decide to schedule a tour, they need to feel welcomed, comfortable and safe. Our panel will share their experience in how technology has played a role in connecting the customer experience through creative storytelling featuring residents’ events, online engagement and more.
NAHB: The industry has experienced some great challenges in 2020. What do you see as the biggest?
DEBRA: Leveraging technology to streamline communication and processes (internally and externally) with partners in vendors.
NAHB: What is one piece of practical advice you would give our industry as we move into 2021?
DEBRA: Consumers are vetting communities and builders long before they step on-site. Create a strategy on how to have a consistent message throughout the customer journey so you can maximize the time when they are on-site to make the sale.
NAHB: What’s been your favorite binge-watch this past year and why?
DEBRA: Most recently was the Santa Clarita Diet, but Schitt’s Creek was our favorite. It is funny and light-hearted which made it a win for 2020.
NAHB: What’s been a pleasant surprise that’s come out of social distancing/COVID-19 for you?
DEBRA: The outpouring of support for local businesses.
NAHB: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
DEBRA: The basics … and left-over pizza from our favorite local spot.
NAHB: What’s your secret talent that very few people know?
DEBRA: Even when traveling to a different time zone, I wake up, on average, three minutes before my alarm.
NAHB: Did you pick up or refine a hobby this last year?
DEBRA: I have read more this year than I had in the previous five combined. If you’re not leveraging your local library’s app, you’re missing out. Free audiobooks are the best!
NAHB: Share something funny from 2020 …
DEBRA: My husband crawling on the floor behind me while I was on a video call thinking he’d not be seen! WRONG! LOL
NAHB: What’s one of your go-to book recommendations?
DEBRA: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
NAHB: Besides TP and cleaning products, what out-of-stock items were most surprising during the early weeks of quarantine?
DEBRA: Reese’s Puffs and hot sauce.
NAHB: What’s your success quote?
DEBRA: Consistency compounds. Daily efforts toward a goal will make a big impact over time.
NAHB: In three sentences or less, what is your prediction for the building industry in 2021?
DEBRA: Besides leveraging PropTech for better business intelligence and to connect with customers digitally, the industry will see consumers ask more questions around health and wellness in the home and the community.
The Social Distance Adaptation: The New Rules for Driving Foot Traffic to Your Community is a session in the IBSx Sales & Marketing Track. Learn more about the 100+ IBSx education sessions and register by January 8 to save on your All Access Pass!