By Kimberly Maggard, CAPS, CPO
Royal American Management
If there can be such a thing as a silver lining to a pandemic, one would be the emergence of new ways to connect and collaborate — for both the Florida Apartment Association and the state’s multifamily industry.
That became apparent as I and my colleagues at other multifamily organizations reached across company lines to determine how we could continue in our essential roles of providing safe housing to our residents and looking out for the best interests of our employees. We’ve always had good working relationships, bolstered by seeing each other at affiliate meetings and trade shows, the FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show, and other industry events. During the COVID-19 crisis, all of those were postponed or shifted to virtual events. “Unprecedented” and “uncharted” have almost become clichés when we’re talking about the pandemic, but they are accurate. We all found ourselves in extraordinary circumstances and I’m grateful that we were able to share ideas and seek solutions.
Likewise, the Florida Apartment Association and its 10 local affiliates made the most of the pandemic to strengthen their network. The Association Executives Council, which comprises the executive officers of FAA and its affiliates, met via Zoom every week, beginning as soon as it was clear that the pandemic was going to dramatically affect day-to-day life. During these meetings, the AEs collaborated on how they could best provide vital information to members, from offering webinars and roundtables to sharing resources about health and safety practices and the patchwork of state and local regulations.
Even before the pandemic, FAA affiliate executives and volunteers had worked together to verify that all Florida affiliates met or exceeded benchmarks approved by the National Apartment Association in late 2019. NAA established the criteria to ensure that all members, regardless of the size of their affiliate, would enjoy minimal standards of service. Those benchmarks include financial and other operational policies, board meetings at least annually, at least two membership meetings or events per year, member communications, and timely reporting of member rosters to NAA.
Those efforts were underway before the pandemic, and by banding together in a time of need, the AEs helped further advance the 2020-2022 FAA strategic plan goal to strengthen the affiliate network.
Overall, FAA has made significant strides toward achieving the goals set forth in the strategic plan, in spite of and perhaps partly because of the unusual challenges faced during the past year.
As this is my last message to you as FAA president, I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of the individuals who have supported me throughout the year.
The FAA Executive Committee and Board of Directors helped make this year a successful one, and I appreciate each and every one of you.
The FAA staff has stepped up to continue to meet the needs of our members in many ways, and have helped make my presidency rewarding.
I am exceedingly grateful to the leadership at Royal American, specifically Kerri Toth, president, and Denise Ost, executive vice president, as well as to my Royal American Operations team, from site to senior level.
On a personal level, I must express my utmost thanks to my beautiful mother, Nita Hackett, who has always been an amazing teacher and mentor. Last but certainly not least, my husband Jason Maggard has consistently given me patience, support, and unconditional love.