Heather J. Cairns is on a personal mission to boost the quality of life for older and elderly people by providing residences where they can live well. As president of Coastal Streets, a real estate development company in her hometown of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Mrs. Cairns’ efforts to date have received positive public feedback, most important from the population she set out to assist.
The property for which Mrs. Cairns has garnered the most kudos is The Mariner Marblehead, a local assisted living facility for seniors she filled to capacity before it opened. Residents there appreciate her hands-on approach to help ensure they are taken care of and that her high standards for property management are maintained, just part of her daily responsibilities.
What makes Mrs. Cairns stand out is her reputation for having integrity and being transparent, especially as she rallied town residents to support the assisted living project. People in the community learned to trust her to say what she means and do what she says. Mrs. Cairns advises anyone who seeks to work in her industry to always press forward despite naysayers and regardless of their background or education.
Mrs. Cairns was named president of Coastal Streets in 2015 after working as an angel investor for several years at Keiretsu Capital, LLC, in Silicon Valley, California. Prior to that, she earned a human resources certificate from the University of California Berkeley and enjoyed a long career in human resources at Google, recruited by its founders in the earliest existence of the company as their fourth employee to create and execute human resources practices. Mrs. Cairns, therefore, witnessed Google’s evolution from a start-up with just a few workers to becoming the standard for internet search with thousands of employees by the time she left. She later became the human resources manager at Stanford University. As part of her versatile professional experience, Mrs. Cairns also spent time as a flight attendant.
Mrs. Cairns’ educational background is as diverse as her career. She received a post-baccalaureate certificate in painting from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and art history from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Mrs. Cairns also earned certificates in interior design and pastry making.
Profits often prevail as the primary goal in real estate, yet Mrs. Cairns’ definition of success is less about money and more about accomplishments that have personal value. She is as dedicated to philanthropy as she is to the business of developing prized properties as an active supporter of the local Contemporary Arts Initiative at the Peabody Essex Museum; Dress for Success and Image for Success, helping disadvantaged women; the New England Aquarium; and as a longtime past contributor to the New World Foundation. In her spare time, Mrs. Cairns enjoys writing and playing pickleball and croquet.
Within the next five years, Mrs. Cairns will consider opening another senior living facility in her ongoing effort to impact the lives of her older neighbors. She is working to finish writing her memoir titled “Lucky Me,” represented by the Francis Goldin Literary Agency to secure publishing. In the long run, however, Mrs. Cairns wants her legacy to be tied most closely to developing The Mariner, which she calls her love letter to the elderly — a love letter she will continue to write.