MEET THE CEO WHO IS MAKING WAVES
Millie Freed of Nomadness Rentals is all about doing things differently: from creating a breakthrough business model in the hospitality industry to creating equal opportunities for women in the field.
When Millie Freed started Nomadness Rentals nearly eight years ago, she never expected to discover her hidden entrepreneurial spirit and the inspiration to empower women in the workforce.
Freed is the founder and CEO of vacation rental company Nomadness Rentals, centered in Mammoth Lakes. Formerly a sales rep and regional manager for Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, Freed currently runs her company with the help of her two daughters and a very prominent female workforce.
When Freed was at Upjohn, she noticed that she was the only woman in a sales department full of men, and that women frequently weren’t given the same opportunities as men. This was due to the societal assumption that they would leave the workforce to become mothers. Freed, however, saw this trait in women as a plus.
“Women naturally have a compassionate, nurturing disposition as a result, which is a great quality to possess in the hospitality business,” Freed says.
Freed had been working all of her adult life, while simultaneously raising three daughters. So rather than accepting society’s assumptions, she decided to create her own opportunities and prove that women could handle the pressures of business just as well as their male counterparts.
The inception of Nomadness Rentals began back in 2006, when Freed and her husband purchased a condo in Mammoth Lakes. After swarms of bad personal experiences with other vacation rental management companies, from poor communication to multitudes of unclaimed damages to their home, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
In 2008, Freed built a rental website for her condo in Mammoth without any intention of opening up her own property management business. Unexpectedly, phone calls and email requests from homeowners in Mammoth started trickling in. All of these requests had one goal in mind: they wanted Freed to manage their vacation homes.
Currently, Nomadness Rentals manages 100+ condos and townhomes in Mammoth and it continues to expand. Her ultimate goal is to incorporate numerous locations. Most recently, Nomadness has acquired clients along California’s beautiful coastline, from Malibu down to Oceanside.
Freed offers her homeowners complete knowledge of who will be staying in their unit, what repairs need to be made, how to ensure guest comfort, and strategies for maximizing occupancy.
“I see (the company) evolving so that it suits the needs of homeowners and renters as the economy changes,” Freed says. “Our goal is to empower them both. We don’t want them to feel trapped by corporate greed and indifference. We want them to feel in control in a society that feels out of control.”
This sense of empowerment is one of Freed’s proudest achievements when it comes to the setup of her company. Catering to the company’s family-owned feel, she encourages open discussion amongst her employees and her homeowners, wanting everyone to feel that their voice is heard and their ideas are considered. She wants her clientele to feel the same sense of geniality, maintaining pride in the fact that her business model does not rely on automated messages and flaky communication, but flourishes on the presence of one-on-one communication and live and personable representatives.
“A single idea from the homeowner, renter, or employee could change the entire direction of the company, and that is the beauty of how we do business,” Freed says.
Freed credits her daughters’ reliability and strength for allowing her to keep pushing forward. She praises them for helping her maintain her stance as a progressive and forward-thinking businesswoman. Overall, she feels as though she is surrounded by a passionate team and fulfilled work life, seemingly grateful for the job’s ability to always keep her on her toes.
“What (this business) has taught me as a person is that I should have gone into this line of work 30 years ago,” Freed laughs. “I just think of all the possibilities that could exist if I had polished my technological skills or learned some computer programming. There’s just always so much to learn.” By Ellie