A 2003 alumna of the Cook Honors College (CHC) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) has earned national recognition for her business acumen in property management.
Jennifer Ruelens, who earned a degree in marketing at IUP, was named by the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) in the Journal of Property Management in the “30 under 30” spotlight highlighting some of the most notable young property managers in the country. She will also be featured in the upcoming book 50 Interviews: Successful Property Managers Advice and Winning Strategies from Industry Leaders.
Ruelens went to work as a leasing agent after graduation, and fourteen months later she was promoted to property manager at Property Management, Inc.
“I was fortunate to get a job leasing apartments, and realized quickly that my skills were uniquely suited to the successful operation of residential communities,” said Ruelens, 28, of Mechanicsburg, Pa. “I was quickly promoted in a year to a property manager position, and since then have managed portfolios as large as 469 units with teams of sixteen to twenty people.”
She earned her Accredited Residential Manager (ARM) certification in 2005. By the age of twenty-six, she took over management of 469 luxury residential units for Triple Crown Corporation in Mechanicsburg. She achieved the Best on Budget Award as well as several Best of Living Awards.
Ready for a new challenge, she recently switched industries to become director of Sales and Move Ins of senior living residences for IntegraCare in Camp Hill, Pa.
“I enjoy working in communities to improve the quality of life for people who reside there. Working in residential settings allows me to use my strengths and have a positive impact on the lives of the residents. Working with seniors has proved to be especially gratifying,” Ruelens said.
Ruelens, a member of MENSA, said she applies the critical thinking skills she developed while a student to business.
“My critical thinking skills gained at the Cook Honors College have set me apart in everything I have done since school,” she said. “It is amazing how critical thinking enhances all other education and training and just how little of it exists in business. I also firmly believe that my time spent in the CHC was critical to my confidence and motivation. Being surrounded by the achievements and abilities of my classmates forced me to expand my awareness and step up my game.
“Like most Cook Honors College students, I was always the big fish in the small pond and that limited my growth,” Ruelens said. “Coming to the CHC made me the small fish in a big pond of bright, ambitious students and superbly talented professors that forced me to grow beyond what I had ever imagined for myself.”
Ruelens maintains ties with the CHC and credits guidance from faculty and strong experiences as a student in preparing her for a successful career.
“Dr. Janet Goebel has continued to be a strong supporter, even since my graduation,” she said. “I know she is available to me for advice and counsel. During my studies at the CHC, Dr. Goebel took a personal interest in me and was a great support and guide for my studies and career plans. I also often reflect back on the classroom and project experiences with Dr. Charlene Bebko in the Marketing Department. She is an incredible teacher, and she also took a personal interest in me that helped me to have confidence in my capabilities.”