Speakers are alphabetized by last name. Speakers and sessions are subject to change.
Mariana Atencio | Keynote Speaker
Mariana Atencio took the world by storm in 2017 when her TEDx talk “What makes YOU special?” went viral. It has more than 17 million views and has been translated into 13 languages. Focused on the power of authenticity, her book Perfectly You was an Amazon bestseller and selected by Audible and AppleBooks. As an anchor at Univision and national correspondent at NBC News, she traveled the world to report on some of the most volatile conflicts of our times, in both English and Spanish, for more than a decade, specializing in the Latino experience across the Americas.
She founded her own media company, “GoLike”, and has teamed up with Microsoft, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble Co., YouTube, Citigroup Inc., the World Health Organization, and the United Nations, among others, to represent and empower our communities. Her story is featured on the award-winning HBO special “Habla Now” and her work has been honored with a Peabody Award, three Emmy nominations and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Presidential Award.
Session: Harness Resilience and Take Control to Engage, Lead, and Succeed (Opening
Session) | Thursday, October 12 @ 9:00 a.m.
Ricardo Alicea, CAPS, CPM
Vice President of Asset and Community Management | Wendover Housing Partners
Ricardo Alicea is the vice president of asset and community management at Wendover Housing Partners. He is a fundamental part of establishing the organizational vision to assist management staff in adapting to residents' needs and to the ever-changing multifamily environment. An accomplished professional with more than 25 years of experience, he is a skilled strategist who transforms strategic plans into workable solutions that benchmark performance against market and key operational goals. Alicea studied at the University of Central Florida, and he holds certifications from the National Apartment Association as well as IREM Central Florida. He is a past president of the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) and current president-elect of FAA.
Regional Education Director | CONAM Management
Joelis Barandica-Rodriguez is a real estate professional with over 15 years of experience with diverse property types. In her current role as regional education director, she is responsible for the oversight of training programs, creating of policies and procedures, as well as implementations companywide. Barandica has a very diverse background, having held several positions in the industry. She teaches for several apartment associations in Florida and has developed programs such as the Facilitator Training Program for the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando. Barandica serves on the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO) Board of Directors, the Florida Apartment Association Apartment Political Action Committee (APAC) Board, and numerous committees within AAGO and FAA. She is the founder of the podcast Latinas in Property Management and is an accredited advanced facilitator with the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI). Her passion is developing top tier talent that adds value to an organization through increased employee engagement.
Ayiesha Beverly, Esq.
General Counsel | The National Apartment Association
Ayiesha Beverly is General Counsel for the National Apartment Association (NAA) and has been with the organization since 2017. She provides strategic legal guidance to NAA’s leadership and ensures adherence to all laws and regulations. In addition to her duties as General Counsel, Beverly leads NAA's Legal Affairs team and oversees the legal and compliance functions of the NAA Click & Lease. Beverly also advises on several legal issues including association governance and management, research compliance, commercial transactions, contract law and employment and labor relations. Beverly also oversees and guides the association’s involvement in litigation. Beverly is a frequent speaker at rental housing industry conferences and enjoys keeping up with trending legal issues, reading case law, and speaking on issues that affect the multifamily industry. Beverly received her Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina State University and her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she graduated with honors. She is licensed to practice in Virginia and Maryland. Beverly also holds a certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida and is In-House Counsel Certified (ICC) by the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Credentialing Institute.
Dena B. Calo, Esq.
Partner | Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Dena B. Calo is co-chair of Saul Ewing LLP’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group. As a human resources strategist and employment lawyer, she counsels clients in the property management industry through complex reputational and legal issues. Calo advises executives, management, and HR professionals in a multi-discipline, national practice handling complex legal issues to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws. She develops and presents training programs to property management companies on a wide variety of employment and labor law topics. Calo also has extensive experience litigating cases in front of state and federal juries throughout the United States. She is a member of seven industry associations and is a national speaker and author, helping companies understand employment law and implement it day to day.
Director of Systems and Training | The Hanover Company
As the director of systems, training, and support with The Hanover Company, Nikki Chambers oversees software training, sales/customer service training, the internal HanoverHelp.com helpdesk with a team of six, and the global services division in Ahmebedad, India, with a team of 35. Her role supports several divisions, including property management, accounting, and asset management. She has her CAM and CAPS designations from NAA and was awarded the HAA 2023 training director of the year; she is on the property management advisory boards at both Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia.
Jimmy Chestnut, CPM
Regional Vice President | RPM Living
Jimmy Chestnut is an accomplished and passionate people-centric leader with over 25 years of experience in property management, multifamily development, and asset management. For more than 10 years, he has held senior leadership roles with several national organizations. Chestnut develops a culture of collaboration, respect, trust, and innovation, resulting in strong relationships with his teams and stakeholders. He partners with property owners and institutional investors to reach their full investment potential through critical analysis, innovative business plans, and effective marketing and management strategies. He is proficient at leading new development lease-up efforts, acquisitions, property rehabs and repositioning, and disposition efforts. He has worked for such noteworthy companies as Waypoint Real Estate Investments, Carroll Management Group, and Cushman & Wakefield. Chestnut is the current president of FAA and the immediate past president of the Bay Area Apartment Association. He holds several professional designations, including a Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and a Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS) designation through the National Apartment Association. He has a bachelor of science in management and an executive MBA from the University of South Florida.
Chiccorra Connor, CAS
President & Founder | Occupancy Heroes
Chiccorra Connor is the founder and chief executive officer of Occupancy Heroes Inc., which provides a carefully selected suite of services designed to help multifamily teams manage, maintain, and optimize their properties. Maintenance Heroes, a division of Occupancy Heroes focuses on all things maintenance. Connor developed a licensed maintenance apprenticeship program that has trained and employed more than 600 people since 2019. She has been in the multifamily industry for more than 20 years, serves on various committees for the National Apartment Association Education Institute, is a notable trainer, and helps owners increase revenue nationwide. Connor is an advocate for diversity and inclusion and champions affordable housing. She helped develop diversity and inclusion webinars and white papers for the National Apartment Association. Connor was named "One of the Most Influential Woman of 2020" by the Mecklenburg Times and was one of 100 entrepreneurs from across the country invited to The White House to advocate for minority entrepreneurship.
Founder | Leasing University
If you search YouTube or Google for anything about leasing apartments or property management training you will most likely find Matt Easton, the founder of Leasing University. Easton lives and breathes all things property management and leasing training and is a leading expert apartment communities look to when they need to get and stay occupied ahead of schedule and under budget. Easton has simplified and systematized how the industry leases apartments, making the lives of both new and veteran multifamily professionals easier. His mission in life is to help give property management professionals more confidence and the skills they need to sign more leases. Easton has personally helped hundreds of apartment communities do billions in additional revenue.
Vice President | ZRS Management
Jackie Impellitier joined ZRS in 1999, and has over 20 years of experience in property management. She is responsible for all apartment operations including asset optimization, information systems, management transitions, technology, support and training. Impellitier oversees the coordination of every ZRS lease-up, due-diligence project, management acquisition, and disposition. She also supervises the revenue department and pricing advisory teams, overseeing all discussions related to asset performance to ensure another layer of ZRS support and connection is realized by each client.
Theresa L. "Terry" Kitay, Esq.
Shareholder | Baker Donelson
Terry Kitay’s clients include many of the leading residential housing providers and public housing authorities in the country. Her practice places particular emphasis on advice regarding disability and accessibility issues, including compliance with the Fair Housing Act and building code requirements for accessibility in the design and construction of new multifamily housing. She is a California certified accessibility specialist, an accessibility inspector/plans examiner certified by the International Code Council, and a member of the inaugural class of APAC-BE certified accessibility consultants from the Accessibility Professionals Association. She was formerly a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Kitay is a frequent source and contributor on fair housing, accessibility, and related topics to such national publications as Units and Fair Housing Coach. She routinely serves as a subject matter expert on fair housing and accessibility for the National Apartment Association and has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on these issues. She is a member of the state bars of Georgia, California, and North Carolina.
Resident Service Director, DE&I Chair | Royal American Management
Sonya Knight is resident service director for Royal American Management, chair of Royal American’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) committee, and a certified DE&I professional. In 1996, Knight joined the Resident Services Division of Royal American Management, where she helped HUD communities establish on-site computer learning centers to give low-income residents access to digital literacy, job training and tutoring. She previously served on the board of directors for Women of Destiny Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on empowering single mothers transitioning from welfare to work, and as secretary for the Bay County chapter of the NAACP. To better understand the needs of older adults and persons with disabilities living in affordable housing, Knight obtained her Professional Service Coordinator designation. She assists developers and property owners with establishing referral agency partnerships for housing referrals for low-income persons with special needs. Her leadership and advocacy approach have been deeply influenced by her experiences as a woman of color and a mother to a special needs teen.
Leslie Mathis, CAM, CAPS
Director of Asset Management | Woodfield Development
As director of asset management at Woodfield Development, Leslie Mathis oversees portfolio operations and assists the development team with the design and strategy of new projects. Her main focus is to uniquely position each project from a branding and operational perspective for optimal performance, all with a focus on creating additional value for the asset. She also ensures Woodfield's third-party operators are meeting the strategically outlined goals for each asset. Mathis entered the multifamily industry 20 years ago and worked her way through the ranks from an entry-level position. She holds her CAM and CAPS credentials, and is an advanced facilitator trainer with the National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI). She has served on the Triangle Apartment Association’s Board of Directors and on several committees within the association. She is currently a board member for New Lease on Life, and she owns Streamline Multifamily Group, a consulting firm.
Jeremy Milton, CAM, CAPS
Property Management Executive
Jeremy Miltonprides himself in leading a best-in-class property management team with a focus on bench strength development and building next-generation leaders with problem-based learning and scenarios. He is a Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS), and is currently pursuing his CPM (Certified Property Manager) with IREM. Milton has been active in local, state and national apartment associations, and currently serves as the president of the South East Florida Apartment Association. He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Indiana Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, both in business administration, from California Coast University.years of property management experience in the Southeast U.S., Texas, the Midwest, and, most recently, Florida operations, most recently as . He has led portfolios of over 25,000 units and more than 450 team members. Milton
Maggie Murtaugh, NAHP-e, CPO, SCHM, HCCP
Director of Compliance | Cambridge Management
Maggie Murtaugh began her affordable housing career as a property manager on-site at a tax credit community with Ambling Management. She moved into the compliance department after 18 months to work as a rehab specialist focusing on HUD communities that were being layered with tax credits. She continued her career with Ambling for 17 years moving up to Senior Director of Compliance overseeing the entire Southeast portfolio. In 2020, Murtaugh joined Cambridge Management Inc. as the director of compliance overseeing a portfolio of 200 properties from Hawaii to Florida. Her experience with various programs includes HUD, HOME, NHTF, LIHTC, SAIL and Bond. Murtaugh is a longtime member of the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA) and is currently serving on the board as the director of communications. She has been an active volunteer in South Carolina assisting with the state conference and represented South Carolina on the Tax Credit Regulatory Affairs Committee. She holds the designations of National Affordable Housing Professional, Executive Level (NAHP-e), Housing Certified Compliance Professional (HCCP), Specialist in Housing Credit Management (SHCM), and Certified Professional of Occupancy (CPO). She has a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of South Carolina.
Megan Orser, CALP, HCCP
Game Changer & Chief Operations Officer | Smart Apartment Solutions
"Smart Chick” Megan Orser has more than 21 years of industry experience and three decades of generational perspective in the profession of apartment management. In addition, she received the 2020 NAA Excel Award for CALP of the Year. Orser has a degree in marketing and communications from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing her Michigan broker’s license.
Senior Director, Multifamily | PetScreening
With nearly 30 years of experience in multifamily and single-family rental operations, leasing and marketing, Pat Patterson is recognized as an innovative leader and strategic visionary. She has a unique ability to identify and understand the needs of PetScreening's clients in order to achieve specific goals. She received her degree from Virginia Tech and loves to support its Residential Property Management program. Patterson served four years on the NAA Board of Directors and was named National Supplier of the Year. She attributes her success to working with incredible companies such as Equity, Riverstone/Blackstone, Apartment Guide, CoStar. and now PetScreening.
Chief Communications Officer | SwiftBunny
Kara Rice started her career as a leasing consultant 30 years ago, thinking, “I’ll do this until I find a real job.” She quickly discovered not only that leasing was a real job, but it was one she loved. Since then, she’s held many roles on both the operator and the supplier sides of the business, always with an emphasis on employee development. At Swift Bunny, she serves as the company’s chief communications officer and helps multifamily organizations retain and inspire their team members. She is also a licensed Florida real estate sales associate and owner of rental property.
Principal | Trainer Don's World & VP, Marketing & Training | Cornerstone Group
Don Sanders entered the multifamily housing industry more than two decades ago as an eager leasing consultant, quickly rising through the ranks to hold executive positions within some of the industry’s largest and most successful companies.Today he is vice president of marketing and training for Cornerstone Group of Florida, one of the industry's most recognized affordable housing developers. Additionally, he is the principal of Trainer Don's World, offering consulting services, keynote speaking engagements, and educational seminars to the apartment industry nationally. Better known as "Trainer Don,” he is most recognized for his high energy, comedic and experience-based presentations, fueled by the simplistic teaching philosophy that learning should be fun.
Valerie M. Sargent
President | Yvette Poole & Associates
Valerie M. Sargent is a skilled speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive coach in emotional intelligence. Sargent specializes in leasing, sales, marketing, customer service, and leadership. She obtained her Level 1 & 2 TalentSmart Emotional Intelligence Trainer certification in 2013, and as an emotional intelligence strategist she thrives in taking companies’ teamwork and communication to inspiring new levels. Sargent is one of NAA's inaugural Mental Health First Aid trainers, and in 2022 she earned the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's title of Woman of the Year in Orange County, Calif., after leading her team to raise the most funds in her area for LLS.
President | MSB Resources
Brad Schwartz is the founder and president of MSB Resources, a firm offering recruitment services, consulting, training, and leadership coaching exclusively to the property management industry. He has been actively involved in the property management industry for 20 years. Schwartz has been instrumental in coaching property management companies on strategies to become a “sticky” company. Using these same strategies, MSB Resources won first place in NAA’s Top Employer award, Love Where You Work. MSB Resources has placed thousands of property management professionals from site level to COO. They also work closely with clients on how to build a great culture. MSB Resources’ clients range from publicly traded REITs to small family owner/managers. Schwartz has presented many seminars on hiring, retention and culture, and climbing the corporate ladder to various apartment associations, including NAA, chapters of IREM, and property management companies.
John Sons, CALP
Director of Training and Marketing Strategies | Burlington Capital Properties
John Sons is the director of training and marketing strategies for Burlington Capital Properties, overseeing training and marketing for a diverse portfolio. He is active in NAA, serving on the NAAEI Faculty as well as the NAAEI Board of Directors. He serves on the Bay Area Apartment Association's education committee and has served on various NAA committees including operations, mental health, DE&I, and curriculum development and is an NAA Leadership Lyceum graduate. Sons speaks and trains for apartment associations around the country. He has more than 34 years of experience in the apartment industry. He began his career as an activities director and part-time leasing agent, while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
Desiree Starr, CAPS
Learning and Development Professional
Desiree Starr is a learning and development professional and multifamily educator and speaker. She most recently served as the director of talent development for Lantower Residential, where she developed timely, relevant, and informative educational programs and seminars. Starr has more than 25 years of multifamily experience and has a passion and innate gift for training and developing others. She is an NAAEI Facilitator and an active member of NAAEI’s Curriculum Committee and NAAEI Education Advisory Board.
Raleigh "Lee" Steinhauer, Esq.
President | The Steinhauer Group
Raleigh “Lee” Steinhauer, Esq., is the current government affairs and legal counsel for the Apartment Association of Greater Orlando (AAGO). He also serves as government and legal affairs director for the Greater Orlando Builders Association (GOBA), and is president of The
Steinhauer Group LLC. Steinhauer obtained his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Delaware and juris doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law. He previously worked as a practicing attorney in New Jersey and New York specializing in land use and real estate law, and is licensed to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, and New York. Steinhauer has extensive political experience and has served in a variety of roles and leadership positions in community and political organizations. In addition to his professional work, Steinhauer is active in several business, political and community groups in Central Florida.
National Strategic Sales Executive | Possession Partner
Spencer Steward has over 15 years of experience in the multifamily industry, including includes 12 years with the Apartment Guide (now Rent.) and three years with Possession Partner. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami and a graduate degree from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Erik Szabo, Esq.
Partner | Shutts & Bowen, LLP
Erik F. Szabo is a partner in the Orlando office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he is a member of the Construction Litigation Practice Group. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in construction law. Szabo has represented individuals and businesses throughout the Central Florida area in construction, real estate, commercial, business, and collections matters. His practice includes residential and commercial construction litigation; construction lien issues; payment and performance bond litigation; construction law issues; construction defect claims; delay claims; change order disputes; subcontractor law issues; contract negotiations; contract preparation, review and revision; contract disputes; commercial litigation; shareholder derivative actions; preparation of operating agreements, asset purchase agreements, non-solicitation agreements, restrictive covenants, employments agreements, and non-compete agreements; commercial real estate; and more. Szabo has represented owners, contractors, engineers, architects, design professionals, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and material and equipment suppliers throughout the state, at trial and appellate levels, as well as at arbitration proceedings. Szabo has been recognized for his work in construction litigation by Best Lawyers of America and Florida Super Lawyers magazine, and has been rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell (highest possible ranking).
Executive Director | The Bay Area Apartment Association
Russ Webb is the executive director of the Bay Area Apartment Association. For more than two decades, Webb has taken on the challenge of a constituency of more than 2,000 member companies, and is passionate about helping other organizations reach their potential. He is a teacher at heart and the originator of edu-tainment — making people laugh while learning. Webb has presented to dozens of industry groups across the country and facilitated strategic planning and board visioning for more than 30 associations. His goal when presenting is to make his session useful, impactful … and always memorable.
Drew Williams, CAM, CAM+SH, CPM, ARM
Regional Property Manager | RADCO Residential
Drew Williams joined RADCO in 2023 with 13 years of multifamily operations, training, business development and marketing experience. He is an avid culture ambassador and DEI champion. He is deeply committed to education and holds four multifamily certifications through NAA and IREM; he is the current IREM “CPM of the Year.” Williams currently serves on IREM International’s Foundation Association Board and IREM GA’s Board of Directors, and is a contributor to the Residential Property Management Advisory Board for the University of Georgia. Additionally, he works with the Lost-n-Found Youth, Toys for Tots, and the Human Rights Campaign.