President's Pen 2021 Issue 1

Posted By: Kelli Lea the ApartMentor,

Where did the first two months of 2021 go?  Is it just me or is time flying like it never has before??  It‘s incredibly ironic that this comes on the heels of most us saying 2020 was the “longest year ever”, yet it now seems we’re in a time warp so fast paced that I can barely catch my breath or remember what day it is - please tell me I’m not alone! 

If you’re new to the Triangle Apartment Association, WELCOME! I’m Kelli Lea and I am thankful, honored, and humbled to be your 2021 President!  I’m a returning President which is pretty rare, but I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason and I wasn’t done giving all that I have to give to this great Association!  

I have made the best friends and formed meaningful relationships over the many years being involved in TAA that will stick with me for life.  If we don’t know each other quite yet, we probably have a lot more in common than you may have initially assumed.  My headshot on this article is pretty sweet and formal, but most days you’ll find me on Zoom or Teams with my hair in a bun, chewing on a pen, and muting at the exact right time to “politely correct” my children. 

I’m also human.  I’m a mom who has struggled balancing work, volunteer efforts, and getting my first and second grade boys through virtual school for almost a year.  I’m a leader who wants to keep those on my teams motivated, but often am overwhelmed myself or unsure of how best to provide support for my people.  I repeat - I am human. 

Relatability and approachability is extremely important to me, and often what I seek in a leader. I’ve got really great examples within my inner circle, and I hope to be that for you, and for this Association as President. 

We’ve got a lot on the docket for 2021 and have big shoes to fill from 2020!  We made huge progress last year with Rental Assistance through Advocacy, fundraising, partnerships and program awareness and we are continuing to keep that as top priority for our membership.   There is an entire page on our website dedicated to rental assistance resources and updated continuously as new details come from Federal funding and local municipalities begin to disperse that funding. 

I KNOW we can blow 2020’s volunteer numbers out of the water as we continue to host virtual committee meetings and engagement opportunities.  It’s hard to have multiple passionate people at the same site or office and only one can go to the meeting or event.  We’ve seen so much more activity from these folks in the same office (suppliers too!) that can log on together.  I will continue to encourage this so that everyone can join which ever committee or event piques their interest.   

Our educational offerings are filling up quickly and the calendar is jam packed with something for everyone!  We’re busy planning drive-in movie nights for family and friends, our massive in person trade show later this year, and so many more ways our membership can engage with each other.  We also know that many of our supplier partners in particular suffered in 2020 and we will continue to come up with new ways to show how invaluable they are to our membership. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, you’ll here me talk about new initiatives surrounding DE&I, Diversity Equity and Inclusion.  I’m extremely passionate about moving the needle forward and embracing our differences, hearing more voices, and ultimately collaboratively moving this Association forward.  Our Board of Directors felt a void about two years ago while working on our long term strategic plan.  We ultimately decided a task force was needed to get the conversations going.  I’ve been blown away by those of you that have reached out so far to be involved, so stay tuned for updates - I’m so excited to see what comes out of this group! 

I’ll be attending various committee meetings and classes virtually in the upcoming weeks and I hope you’ll say Hi!! I also will bring back “Kelli’s Korner” videos, but will have to schedule that on the next day I’ve put makeup on! 

With my last sentences, I’m putting it in the Universe - IN WRITING - to bring on the sunny skies and warmer temperatures! See you soon and cheers to an awesome 2021!!

Kelli Lea, CAM, NAAEI Faculty
TAA President