Building a Village so I can Build Homes

by Kara Murray, Partner, Alair St. Albert

Like most people today, I’m sometimes so busy that I… almost didn’t have time to finish writing this sentence. Deep breaths in…and out.

I homeschool, I am a consultant for families, and I run a home construction company. I’m involved in my church, I volunteer in my community and I’m active in my neighbourhood. I make time for my hobbies and friends. I don’t say this as a humble brag, to wear a badge of martyrdom or to attempt to impress others. I simply say this because it’s a fact. And I know many of you reading this probably relate to a similar schedule.

I have many interests and love being active in various projects, so taking these all on is a decision that I have made and I wouldn’t change it even if I could. Is it easy? Nope. Do I enjoy it? Often. Is it challenging? Almost always. In fact, whenever I ask “what have I gotten myself into?” I know I am heading into a realm of stress from being outside my comfort zone, but with great rewards and growth on the other side of it.

People I know ask me quite regularly how I can possibly handle all that I have going on but the answer is quite simple….I have a superpower. Yes. This is the truth. I have this amazing ability to surround myself with people who want to see me succeed, want to support me and want to collaborate with me. I know and recognize the importance of having a village.

First of all, there is no way I can cover all the people and groups in my village. I am fortunate that I have an incredible group of friends, neighbours and other business associates outside of the industry, who both personally and professionally contribute to my life in such substantial ways. So like giving a speech at the academy awards, I want to focus on a few key set of people while acknowledging that there are many more not mentioned. My family, the homeschooling community, the construction industry and of course Alair, are my pillars.

I am very lucky that I have a family who encourages and enables me to participate in all the things I want to. From a husband who shares equally in the household management and parenting, while encouraging me to follow my interests, to an independent and helpful young daughter who goes above and beyond in her contributions to our family, I am blessed. My parents are only a few blocks away and after raising me and my three siblings, are still there helping us raise our kids. My daughter has a second home with her grandparents where she is always loved and welcomed.

Kara Murray with Kenton Zerbin who are collaborating on a Tiny Home project.

Kara Murray and the homeschooling community.

Another day at the office collaborating with Green Violin on some affordable and sustainable living projects.

The homeschool community is my mini village who help me in countless ways. We participate in some amazing adventures together and share childcare and teaching schedules. The children have such strong and healthy relationships amongst themselves and us parents (mostly moms) have become a source of strength and encouragement for each other. I don’t know how some of these women do all that they do, but they inspire me daily and love my daughter as one of their own. They make me laugh, they listen to me complain, they create and plan with me and they understand me. They remind me of what we can accomplish together when we have a village of caring women. I depend on them immensely.

It absolutely amazes me how collaborative the field of construction and development is. The tables I have been invited to sit at, the training I have received, the mentorship, the support to my business, the collaborating and partnering, the networking, the problem solving and the complete and utter interest in my contributions and ideas is astounding. I am meeting many engaging people and learning so much about other businesses and services available. By connecting with various experts in the industry, I am constantly being educated and updated on new products, innovative techniques and other beneficial resources. Collectively we are looking at ways to have positive impacts on the environment as well as socio-economic issues regarding housing.

I have found my colleagues at Alair to be some of the most incredible, intelligent, competent and team oriented people I have ever known. They are quick to share their best practices, to check in and see if there’s anything I might need some support with, to invite my participation and ask for my feedback. The expertise at the table is completely staggering and their sincere willingness to invest in me personally and my team is nothing short of amazing. Anytime I reach out with a question or to learn a little bit more about a particular item, I get a dozen responses within half an hour, no matter how busy they all are. And this doesn’t just include the local Alberta team but the entire Alair network. There is something very comforting in knowing that I could reach out to a partner anywhere in Canada or the United States and get immediate support and understanding. Their successes are my successes and vice versa. I can’t imagine being in this industry without this army at my back.

I have a pretty substantial list of things I want to accomplish in the next 5 years – both personal and professional. Will I accomplish them all? Maybe or maybe not. But with the village that I am cultivating – I sure like my odds.

So when you build a house with Alair St. Albert, you aren’t just working with me and my team. Please know that there is a large community of people supporting and contributing behind the scenes to ensure your home is built with quality, care and great service.

When it comes to the stress and uncertainty in renovating or building your home and the large time and money commitment that goes with it, it is imperative to have a trusted advisor and advocate who truly cares about you and your needs.

I’d love to be part of your village.