Wrapping Up the Year

Posted By: Janelle French Leadership, Association,

There Were Many Milestones Despite Pandemic

Who would have thought back in June of 2020 that nearly the entire last 12 months would
have been spent on Zoom?

Taking that into consideration and looking
back at what we accomplished over this last year,it is truly remarkable. To say it has been a difficult year would be an understatement; we have all been stretched. This could have easily been a year of major setbacks, but the strength and determination of the AAMD members rose to the occasion. We leaned into the crisis instead of retreating, and we continued to move the industry forward.

While much of this is expanded upon in the July issue of Apartment Trends magazine, I would like to highlight just a few of the milestones that we have achieved as we look back at this challenging year.

At the beginning of my term, I set three goals to focus on during my year as your President: more involvement in the association from onsite team members, a continued emphasis on legislative initiatives that could negatively impact our industry, and a transitional focus on COVIDrelated issues.

Networking with the on-site teams has been highly successful this year. The education and event initiatives this year offered a variety of ways to engage with on-site team members including all-access passes for several key events. These passes created affordable options for owners and suppliers and sparked interest from our on-site team members resulting in increased attendance.

Our event planning team was spectacular and creative in shifting gears to outdoor and virtual events. Their ability to pivot to meet the difficulties of the pandemic resulted in several highly successful events including the AAMD Tailgater, which will continue annually.

The Inclusion and Diversity committee was created to help further awareness and aid our members with this highly essential topic, empowering people by respecting and embracing our differences.

The legislative focus has been intense this year. The industry has been targeted for several years now and adding COVID to the mix only intensified the fight. Our goal has been to monitor and act on proposed adverse legislation and we have been highly successful in this regard. There were several adverse bills that the industry faced this year, and I am proud to state that the accomplishments of the Government Affairs
group have been phenomenal. While there is always a measure of give and take involved, the positive impact for our industry that our team had on several of these key pieces of legislation far exceeded any concessions and resulted in much more favorable outcomes than what might have otherwise been the case.

Our COVID/CRISIS Related task force evolved this year from meetings related to navigation and setting policy for our industry to focusing on issues related to collecting funds from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, employee turnover related to the pandemic, analyzing rent collection data, and several other vitally important tasks related to the pandemic and its impact on our industry. This task force has been relentless
in its pursuit of assisting our members with navigating the ongoing effects of the pandemic on our members and I am grateful for all that they have done.

Beyond these three goals, the association also had several other accomplishments this year that I would like to highlight.

We launched the mobile AAMD app which creates quick access to this magazine, our Membership Directory, Legal Handbook and expands our new Supplier Partners Guide initiative. This is a great tool and substantially
improves AAMD’s digital footprint and exposure for the members.

Finally, this year we reached an important milestone related to our Strategic Unit Growth and Retention (SUGAR) program. Since we began this goal nearly a decade ago, we set a goal to reach 250,000 units by April of 2022. This goal was achieved in December of 2020.

This is only a short list of some of the key accomplishments that AAMD was able to achieve over this past year. It has been remarkable and memorable for our industry and our association. Our continued success relates first and foremost to the heart of a volunteer. No one person makes the difference; it’s about the team. Everyone who has served this year has made a difference; everyone has added value and significance.

You’ve all heard quotes like “There is no ‘I’ in team” or “It takes a village…”. I’d like to relate that to the heart of a volunteer and end with two quotes you might not be quite as familiar with:

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew

“You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill

We are better together. Thank you from your President, Janelle French.

Janelle French is AAMD President and Executive Vice President of Mission Rock Residential