As the founder of SKY Properties, Kari Negri can’t help but credit part of her success as a business owner to good luck, which she says comes when “opportunity and hard work collide.” However, turning SKY Properties into one of the leading providers of full-service property management has also taken years of effort, dedication and patience.
Founded by Negri more than two decades ago as a single mom, SKY Properties started in a one-office suite but has since evolved into a premier area-specific niche property management company that has thrived during “the greatest and most difficult economies within the past quarter-century,” as she puts it.
Negri has navigated through changing economies and trends by taking a hands-on approach to managing her clients’ buildings. “I spend a considerable amount of time visiting properties, reviewing financials, talking with other property owners and managers, and staying in touch with what is happening within the company,” she says.
Negri’s focus on building relationships helped her receive crucial mentorship early in her career. “I started as an onsite manager at a building in Northridge when my daughter was just a baby for the extra income and to be a stay-at-home mom,” Negri says. “I then became the receptionist, and a few months later, the bookkeeper. Then, I was the commercial manager of The Landing in Westlake Village. Eventually, the company grew and split up, and when it did, my hard work paid off. The firm I worked for recommended one of the building owners, a syndicator with a portfolio of 286 units, as my first client. He accepted under the condition that I would become his protégé. He took me under his wing, sharing and educating me with over four decades of experience, all from a property owner’s perspective. My first client continued teaching me for close to two decades until deciding to sell his properties and retire!”
As for the inspiration behind her company’s name, Negri’s answer is simple: “Skyla, my daughter, was born in 1991, and my new business needed a name in 1998 when my little company began rocketing toward success,” she says. “‘SKY’s the limit’ and other fun slogans were tossed around, and it just made sense to me.”
Negri has worked hard to build a strong foundation at SKY Properties that centers on trust, communication and diversity. “It’s important to me to provide the support my employees need to help them perform their best,” Negri says. “I have a variety of employees from diverse backgrounds, and it’s a focus of mine to always make sure they feel welcome and accepted in the company.”
Negri’s passion for helping others also extends into the community. As the president of the Toluca Lake Homeowners Association (TLHOA), Negri, who is ending her second five-year term in March, believes “good old-fashioned community involvement is healthy for everyone who participates, and I have been able to surround myself with some of the most qualified and conscientious people anyone could ask for.”
Additionally, Negri says her team of TLHOA board members “are not afraid of hard work and thoughtful planning, and this has made a huge difference in the community I live in, my business and to SKY building owners. This organization speaks for itself over many decades of service.”
TLHOA’s commitment to protecting the special character of the community has helped make Toluca Lake “an amazing place to live and work, and I have been so blessed to be here and be a part of this community that has given me so much,” Negri says. “I was having coffee with District 4 Councilmember Nithya Raman last year, and so many people walked by and said hello that Nithya said it was like being with the mayor. It definitely made me feel like one to be so connected to the people who live and work here.”