December Face of Ensemble – Donica Gorra
The December Face of Ensemble is our Vice President of Finance (Phoenix Corporate Office), Donica Gorra!
When did you join Ensemble and what do you do?
I formally joined Ensemble in August of 2016 as the Vice President of Finance. My primary role for the company is sourcing, negotiating, and closing real estate loans for all of Ensemble’s projects. I’ve also assisted several of Ensemble’s third party owner clients in negotiating and closing loans for real estate projects that we manage or develop on their behalf. This role is particularly rewarding for me because prior to joining Ensemble, I spent 14 years in commercial real estate banking, where I served Ensemble as its’ most highly coveted provider of construction financing. My role here is the finest example of “career evolution” that was born out of the great relationship we built together.
What do you like most about working at Ensemble?
I really adore the people I work with. The entire team at Ensemble seems really engaged in prioritizing the company’s success before their own, and everyone is friendly and professional towards each other. The partners allow us a great deal of freedom to express our ideas on how to improve processes, and they really do show appreciation for our work (employee appreciation is often spoken about in corporate settings, but it is rarely delivered in a genuine fashion). I feel lucky to have become a member of an organization that is so well respected in our industry.
Why or how did you get into your current line of work?
I studied finance at ASU and really didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child, my sole career aspiration was to become a professional “horse jockey” and wear those colorful costumes. I was certain that I had what it takes to win the triple crown! But, since I am allergic to horses, I decided to leverage my finance degree and go into real estate banking. And, after 14 years of serving my most favorite client (Ensemble), I kicked banking to the curb and came to work for Ensemble!
Where did you grow up and what was your first job?
I grew up in Kingman, Arizona – a sleepy little town where the weather is always windy. At the age of 9, I landed my very first job at my dad’s business, Texmo Oil Company. I quickly climbed the corporate ladder and served as the right hand helper to the controller. My job was to lick and place postage stamps on envelops, retrieve the mail, replace the paper in the copy machines, and wipe dust off the oil barrels in the warehouse. A portrait of me still hangs on the wall at the corporate office of Texmo Oil Company as one of the company’s most valued employee and influential leaders of all time.
What do you do for fun after work?
I like to take my dogs hiking several times a week. I also love to cook for friends, and throw casual dinner parties. I am currently taking novice cross-fit classes to stay in shape, and I also love to ride my Harley. I have a “big girl” bike which is a 2010 Street Glide. It has XM radio capabilities, space for overnight travel bags, cruise control and the pipes are really loud! The Hell’s Angels would be proud to call me one of their own.
What is your favorite or most memorable vacation spot?
My most memorable vacation was doing the 5-day trek called “The Milford Track” in New Zealand. We spent 5 days covering 53 kilometers by foot, and I got to see and experience some of the most magnificent scenery on our planet.