Angelina DeWitt currently serves as Digital Marketing Specialist for Chicago-based The Habitat Company, a leading U.S. multifamily developer and property management firm. DeWitt focuses primarily on supporting Habitat’s corporate presence as well as the market rate and affordable housing business lines through a comprehensive digital strategy, which encompasses digital advertising, social media, websites and online presence, videography, photography, and graphics.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up just outside of Morgantown, West Virginia in the small town of Bruceton Mills. I stayed in Morgantown for both undergrad and graduate school, attending West Virginia University for my bachelor’s in print journalism and my master’s in integrated marketing communications. I spent some time in Boston for a summer internship, but beyond that I had spent nearly my whole life living, learning, and working in Morgantown. I always knew I wanted to live in a big city, and I’m so happy life brought me to Chicago where I’ve been able to really pursue my career dreams.
How did you get your start in the CRE industry?
My professional career has been a journey of varying industries. I started in print journalism, then transitioned to part-time PR for a robotics institution, administrative work for a biosciences firm, and then ended up in research and marketing at a healthcare and research institute. When I made the move to Chicago in 2019, I had accepted a “marketing” position that actually turned out to be door-to-door makeup sales. After day two, which was spent walking door-to-door in the pouring rain without an umbrella (I’ve since made it a point to look at the weather in the mornings), I said, “This is not for me,” and then spent my first three weeks in Chicago unemployed—a scary time!
Spending my days at Collectivo in Wicker Park, scrolling through LinkedIn for jobs that caught my eye, I saw a listing for Marketing Coordinator at The Habitat Company, and the rest is history. The Habitat interview was the most comfortable I had ever felt in an interview, and I left that day thinking, “This is it—this is the one,” and I’m still there today. I think that feeling after leaving an interview speaks volumes about a company. This is my first experience in the CRE industry, and I’ve spent the past three years absolutely captivated by it. It’s been so intriguing to watch the transition toward proptech and AI over the past few years, and I’m really excited to see where things take us next.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
My biggest mentors throughout my professional marketing career have been Maureen Vaughn, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Habitat, and Hannah Inayoshi, who was Habitat’s Digital Marketing Specialist when I was hired. The two of them took me under their wings and helped guide me through the world of CRE and marketing. The environment that is fostered at Habitat really allows our department to have creative freedom and run with our ideas.
When we were sent home to work remotely in March 2020, I had only been with Habitat—and therefore working in the CRE industry —for six months, so having Maureen and Hannah to lean on and learn from made such a tremendous impact over the ensuing 15 months of working remotely. I’m not sure where I’d be with my career had I not been granted the opportunity to work so closely alongside the two of them and to learn through their expertise and wisdom.
What does an average day in at work look like?
Every day is crazy, but in a good way! Supporting Habitat from a corporate standpoint, as well as its various business lines, means each day is different, fast-paced, and exciting in its own way, and I absolutely love that. Being on Habitat’s marketing team is never dull or boring—our days generally start with an unofficial meeting about what the day has in store for us (well, before that, it often starts with a brown sugar shaken espresso from the Starbucks across the street) and catching up on emails before diving into the various projects and meetings we’ve allotted to that day.
Lately, my time has been heavily devoted to the groundbreaking event for our newest market rate development Cassidy on Canal; preparing for the lease-up of 43 Green in Bronzeville, the city’s first equitable transit-oriented development (eTOD) on the South Side; and videography and photography projects for several of our communities through our partnership with Indoor Drone Tours. We currently have four active developments, with several more in the pipeline, as well as our existing communities, so there is never a shortage of projects to tackle!
It’s exciting to cater to the different communities and demographics, shifting strategies to see what works best in each case. This role, and the CRE industry, absolutely keeps me thinking on my feet and requires pivoting seamlessly from one project to the next, and I think that has been an important and exciting skillset I’ve developed over the past few years.
What do you like most about your job?
My absolute favorite thing about my job is the creative liberty our team is given to market our communities and Habitat in new and unique ways. I’ve had the opportunity to create new logos and color palettes for three of our communities, and that’s something I never would have expected to have the chance to do. Another arena I’ve had a lot of fun dipping my toes into this year is designing signage for our new developments. I’m still not used to creating something and then seeing it blown up and on display, and honestly, I hope it’s something I never do get used to!
Out of all the Habitat projects I’ve worked on, my favorite ones are always the videos. It’s so much fun to watch a vision come to life on-screen, and I’ve been fortunate that Habitat has let us explore so much creativity in this realm. My favorite video projects have been our “Hey Alexa” commercial-style videos to promote One333’s penthouses back in early 2020, the fun and captivating videos to celebrate our annual service awardees each year, and the various unique ways we’ve been able to use drone videography to capture the greatest features of our communities and upcoming developments. We’ve also been having a lot of fun with Instagram Reels this year and the creation of our new TikTok channel, which just launched this week!
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you have not already?
As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I learn something new every day at my job, so looking toward the future I’m just excited to continue to learn from the incredible individuals I’m grateful enough to be surrounded by at Habitat, and to continue to foster new relationships and skills. Marketing affords so many different avenues you can go down, and through my roles at Habitat I feel I’ve gotten to experience several of them. I’m so excited about the opportunities that will continue down the line with this great organization, and I can’t wait to see what is in store next.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Time away from the office for me is primarily spent with my two dogs and my friends. I’m new to my current neighborhood, so my dogs and I spend a lot of our time exploring the neighborhood and surrounding parks. I also enjoy visiting the nearby breweries and restaurants with my friends, lazy nights spent reading, binging Law & Order: SVU, or taking in an unhealthy amount of Crime Junkie podcast episodes.
Before COVID, I spent a lot of time traveling and taking photos, so I’m excited to resume those activities soon. As often as time allows, I try to take trips back home to West Virginia to visit my family and friends, so I look forward to those visits however often they are afforded to me. I’ve recently been introduced to a group of WVU alumni in Chicago, so that has been a great deal of fun getting to meet and spend time with people who started their adult lives at the same university as me before we knew one another and ended up together in this great city!