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Tawnie Wilson | SBJ

2024 Dynamic Dozen Top C-suite Executive: Ericka Peppers

Chief operating officer, Bryan Properties

Posted online

There’s an Audrey Hepburn quote at the top of Ericka Peppers’ resume and LinkedIn profile, emphasized in magenta: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible.’” The statement is a summation of her leadership approach at Bryan Properties. Peppers has been on the team for five years, three as chief operating officer. She oversees more than 2,000 multifamily units in Springfield, Ozark, Nixa, Branson, Lebanon and Rogers, Arkansas. Peppers serves on the Bryan Properties executive committee and led the company’s entry into third-party management.

Peppers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in new media drama from Evangel University. She began her career in 2009 as a promotions media specialist at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where she earned a leadership certificate.

Most of her career was at Christian organizations where she provided marketing, volunteer coordination, creative direction and event planning. Peppers stepped into property management in 2015 and moved to Bryan Properties in 2019.

“It’s been the most rewarding advancement of my career,” she says. “I have been so honored and blessed to get the responsibility of leading the day-to-day operations of this company.”

Brad Gebhard, CEO and chief financial officer of Bryan Properties and Bryan Hotels, says Peppers is a “game changer.” The company’s rental division increased revenue by 37% in 2023, and officials have projected 25% growth in 2024 and 41% in 2025.

“We would not be close to where we are now without her engagement,” Gebhard says. “I can speak for the owner Bryan Magers: He and I are very hopeful to have her running the company for years to come.”

Peppers has been at the helm navigating Bryan Properties through inflation with innovative ideas that contributed to the 2023 revenue increase.

For example, she implemented routine, preventive maintenance in the rental homes and apartments four times per year, which reduced emergency tickets and having to replace hardware. It added longevity to the functionality of the rentals while positively impacting the company’s bottom line.

“I love to be challenged with a scenario that takes processing and restructuring to solve,” she says.

Peppers believes leadership happens by example from the trenches. She may be an “office dweller” now, as she describes it, but she doesn’t shy away from picking up the broom to clean. She finds meaning in this hands-on leadership style and says the best part of her job is seeing the team flourish as they find their own sense of purpose.

“It will make you feel accomplished to feel proud that you’re working towards something bigger than an eight to five punch-in, punch-out. You’re making a difference,” she says. “I love watching their stories unfold, and knowing I can play a part in that helps me get out of bed every morning. I’m a hands-on, let’s-do-it-together leader. I make it a point to be a direct leader. I think miscommunication is the foundation for all failures. In this role, I do not have time to be misunderstood. So, I take the time to stop and have the conversation of expectations.”

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