‘You walk in and it’s dirt, and when you leave it’s this thriving family community’
For Mary Anderson, helping people become homeowners isn’t just a job — it’s part of a lifelong passion.
“As a teenager, I used to sit in church and draw houses,” says Anderson, the area sales manager for Stepper Homes in the Cochrane community of Heritage Hills. “I think I really liked architecture.”
That love of buildings developed in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Anderson grew up from ages 13 to 25. She was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but her salesperson dad soon moved the family to New Westminster, B.C., then south to the Los Angeles area before heading to the idyllic islands where Anderson spent her formative years.
It was there that she earned her real-estate licence as soon as she was of age.
“Sales was obviously in my blood,” she says.
Returning to Canada when she was 25, Anderson arrived in Alberta from Hawaii — in mid-January. Before long she was building a career in home sales, beginning in the multifamily sector. She and her husband moved to Vancouver for a few years, then came back to Calgary in 1998.
After working with a few other builders, Anderson found her niche at Stepper 10 years ago and has never looked back.
“It’s just a great group of people, a really supportive team,” she says. “They treat you fairly, your manager always has your back — and once in a while they listen to me!” she says with a laugh.
She started with Stepper at Heritage Hills, which was just beginning to sell at the time. Located on Cochrane’s northwest edge, the community — developed by Highfield Land Management — is now in its final two phases.
After a five-and-a-half-year stint in Stepper’s busy showhomes in the south Calgary community of Mahogany, she was happy to return to Heritage Hills. “It’s very peaceful and calm here,” she says.
The most rewarding part of Anderson’s job is helping to create positive outcomes for people who are making one of the biggest decisions of their lives.
“You meet so many great people. You’re usually working with people for at least a couple of months — one family talked to me for three years before making a decision. In the end they were so happy,” she says. “People are often dealing with all of life’s situations while they’re buying a house — they’re moving from out of province, having babies, getting married or newly single, downsizing, upsizing ...”
Each of those homebuyers play a role in turning a new development into a vibrant neighbourhood, and that’s a process Anderson never gets tired of seeing.
“You walk in and it’s dirt, and when you leave it’s this thriving family community.”
She and her husband of 37 years have three sons, one of whom lives in Vancouver and the other two in Calgary. In her free time Anderson loves to travel and visit wineries, and she has a passion for gardening. But she loves her work, and that’s a good thing given the nature of new-home sales.
“It’s very demanding and you have to be very self-motivated. But I can’t imagine doing anything else. I do love this — I get to come to work in a beautiful house every day, one that someone else cleans. It’s awesome!”
Founded in 1956 by German immigrant Rudy Stepper, Stepper Homes began small but grew as a family business into one of Calgary’s premier residential builders.
The company has built 8,000-plus homes in more than 50 communities in and around Calgary, all while winning numerous awards for excellence in every facet of its business.