Member of the Month – Sarah Penman


Please share a bit about yourself and your professional background.

I grew up in Toronto in a “Brady Bunch” family. My parents were divorced and both re-married by the time I was six. The blending of our families made me the youngest of seven kids and was the recipe for a whole lot of chaos and drama.

I moved to Vancouver when I was 18 to study at UBC and graduated with a Human Kinetics degree in 2008. I was a personal trainer for many years but as I got older it became clear that it wasn’t in line with what I wanted for my future. I had always wanted to be a mom, but it was important for me to be a present and supportive mom. When you’re training, you’re only making money when you’re in the gym and that just wasn’t going to work with the mom I wanted to be. So I took the time to introduce my clients to other trainers that I thought they would be a good fit with and went back to UBC to get my property management license. Then, I started my own residential property management company, Penman Properties, about seven years ago. We now manage more than 1,500 units throughout the Lower Mainland, the Sea to Sky from North Vancouver to Pemberton, Kelowna and the Sunshine Coast. We work for individual residential home owners that have investment properties that they would like help with. We offer full management of both short-term and long-term rentals as well as leasing services to simply get the unit filled with well qualified tenants. We also offer nightly rental management, and home care services for owners that are only in Vancouver part-time.


In 2016, you completed your first Ironman 70.3 in Santa Cruz in just over seven hours; in 2017, you beat your time by 54 minutes at your second Ironman in Calgary. Tell us a little bit more about your love for sports.

I was a die-hard athlete as a kid. I love the passion – the grit and heart – in sports. I played on the school volleyball, baseball, and soccer teams, and I was the only girl in the boy’s club baseball league, but basketball was my sport; despite my lack of height! My heart and mental toughness made up for it.

I needed the family-like environment of team sports, so it’s kind of weird that I’ve gone into triathlons. Plus, I hate swimming. The hardest part about triathlons for me is committing to the training. Unless I have someone depending on me to work out with them, I struggle to get my butt to the gym. I won’t let someone else down, just myself! I’ve barely trained for any of the nine races I have done. I swam maybe once a week for a few months before my first ever race. When I bought a new bike before my first Ironman, I literally only rode it once, in a hotel parking lot on the way down to the race in Santa Cruz. The swims are by far the worst part, but as long as you can get through that, it’s just will power to not quit through the bike and the run. I’ve never not finished a race.

Races are a good test of willpower, and the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you finish is unlike anything else. It gives you a boost of confidence in yourself that stays with you for months afterwards. I honestly think that everyone can finish a triathlon, and should.


What motivates you?

People and connection. Passion and respect within and surrounding ourselves, are also huge for me. I’m a very nurturing person; I like to take care of everyone around me. I went through many years of abuse during my childhood, so one of my biggest motivations in life is to do what I can to give people what I didn’t have: a grounded safe place where they are heard and have no fear of judgement.

I chose property management because a happy home is something I never had and have always craved. I had visions of a great family in a house with a backyard and a driveway, a dog and basketball net. I worked five jobs throughout my degree, bought my first condo when I was 23 and my first house when I was 28. When I was a personal trainer, so many of my clients were realtors but none of them could name a good property management company, so I bridged the gap. Tenants often feel disrespected (often because they are) and owners often hate tenants because they ruin their homes. But if owners do their due diligence and show respect to the tenants that are likely paying their mortgage for them, and listen and communicate respectfully, tenants very rarely ruin the home.


Tell us about a book that made an impact on you.

I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. Her TED Talk about the power of vulnerability is incredible. I think the ability to be vulnerable with people is one of the greatest strengths in life. Once you learn that, you don’t waste energy on getting angry anymore. You process things differently, and you can recognize people’s pain from your own reflection, and that will prevent you from reacting as a result of your own pain, or disappointment, or shame, or vulnerability, without knowing it.

Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was one of the game-changing “TSN Turning Point” books in my life. But the best book I’ve ever read was Give and Take by Adam Grant. Everyone should read it. People tend to think that the takers are the most successful in life and that the givers are weak.  The book explains that it’s really the givers who have learned how to identify the takers and set boundaries to protect themselves from being “taken” that are the most successful and why. That was a huge book for me, because I’m a die-hard giver. Before I read Give and Take, I couldn’t identify the takers in life and often got taken advantage of because of it. But now I can, and I have learned not to be resentful or angry at someone for being a taker. I just acknowledge it and set up the boundaries that I need to protect myself from getting hurt. When you get to this point, you feel a lot lighter.


How are you using the Club today?

Other than not being in the gym (which I should be)… I use the Members’ Lounge the most; it’s an easy networking room. I’m often asked to speak at networking events and on podcasts and they are great, but most of them are just so forced when it comes to the networking. The Members’ Lounge is a comfortable space where you would naturally speak to people and the exchanges are authentic and genuine. I refer and receive more business in that room than probably any event, because people aren’t nervous or feeling like they have to uphold any expectations. They’re just playing pool, having fun, being their true self. So I’d say without a doubt, that’s the room I get the most out of.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

People will walk in and out of your life; you never know when or why, and there may not even be a reason. The world can take them from us too soon; dumb arguments can end friendships, or jobs force us to move away from the people we love and we lose touch. So many things could happen. But each person that comes and goes teaches you something that you will take with you for as long as you live. You may never really understand why someone is not in your life anymore, but every time you lose someone, if you can look up from the pain and let yourself see it and accept it, the world will have brought you another person who will find a home in your heart. Someone who will continue to teach you more about yourself and to keep growing. You just may not realize it until they’re gone. That’s why it’s so important to be grateful for the people in your life and not sweat the small stuff.