President's Pen 2022 Issue 1

Posted By: Craig Nardi the ApartMentor,

The New Normal and What’s In Store for TAA in 2022

As this is my first entry as the President of the Triangle Apartment Association (TAA), I first want to thank everyone for their support and confidence in me! The TAA means so much to me on both a personal and professional level and I could not be more honored and excited to fill this role as we all move forward into 2022 together!

I cannot begin this year without acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the incredible people that held the position before me. I am so fortunate to have been able to serve on the Board and work closely with eight of the most recent past presidents. Each of whom provided me with inspiration, perspective and unique styles of leadership that will shape and form how I approach the year in front of me and the many paths I will charge down for years to come.

I especially cannot begin this year without recognizing the challenges our Association faced over the past two years. In February of 2020, COVID-19 was a very unknown threat on the verge of becoming a simple meme before we began to see the real impact that began to hit home just one month later. Since that time, COVID-19 has changed the course of history with devastating impact over the entire world taking so many lives and leaving others feeling helpless and scared.

For the TAA, COVID-19 forced us to cease doing the one thing we have excelled at for so long, bringing people together. Through classes, committee meetings, dinner and networking events, the TAA has always found a way to gather and appreciate our career path and build relationships with the people that share our eclectic industry. Without the ability to gather, a sense of panic began to set in.

However, with the introduction of video conferencing, the TAA began to make lemonade out of the big bag of lemons we had just been handed. Not only did meetings begin to resume, but with a virtual format, we began to see some new faces as a video option allowed for people to attend in the comfort of their home or office. Before long we were offering online classes, networking, and even an online trade show, none of which were ideal, but certainly the best option we had at our disposal.

In 2021, we began to see glimpses of our past as we were able to hold some meetings and events in person. It was becoming evident that as time went on, people were beginning to feel Zoom burnout and longing for human interaction. Several of our in-person events were a huge success.

As we kicked off 2022, the Omicron variant kicked in and suddenly we were back in 2020 only this time we were much more prepared and ready to adapt and adjust. January Meetings were quickly changed to virtual and large events such as the Dinner Meeting were quickly rescheduled to February. This adaptive response is just a glimpse of what I consider to be the ‘New Normal’ that we are living in today. It is such a testament to our industry as well as our association that everyone was able to adjust so quickly and ensure that “business as usual” also includes the need to stay safe and look after one another, yet still provide the events and services as promised. As a result, our Dinner meeting went from less than 200 registered guests to over 300 in just a few short weeks. On the day of the TAA Dinner Meeting, Governor Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end their mask mandates. While this is a good sign that the very worst is certainly behind us, we do realize that a new variant or strain may arise tomorrow. While less masks may be worn, I imagine they will remain in the glove compartments of our cars as opposed to just being thrown away.

In 2022, we live in a world where we appreciate human interaction more than ever and hopefully never take it for granted again. We also live in a world where people are becoming more in touch with their feelings, anxieties and mental health and in my opinion, we must become more sensitive and aware of the needs and well-being of others in the wake of the pandemic.

As we move forward and strive to understand what will be considered normal post COVID-19, it is important to note that it is normal for humans to evolve, adapt and change. We set goals and do what we can to see these goals are met. That is how we ended up on the moon and is how we made it to where we are today. The “New Normal” is reflected in our ability to be able to make those changes and adaptations at a faster pace as more unthinkable challenges are thrown our way. My hope is that as we push forward, we continue to provide help to those that need it and appreciate and celebrate what makes each of us different, even more so than what makes us similar.

The TAA has some incredible plans for 2022 as well as several amazing new committees and initiatives that in certain ways were a product of all we have observed and learned in the past two years. If you are reading this, you likely have a vested interest in both our industry and association. If you have never taken the opportunity to join a committee or even just attend one of the amazing classes or events we offer, I strongly urge you to dip one foot in the pool and make an effort to do so.

Craig Nardi, CPM, CAPS
TAA President
S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co.