President's Pen January/February 2018

Posted By: Claire Michael TAA News & Updates, the ApartMentor,
Happy New Year!

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as your 2018 Triangle Apartment Association President. Thank you to the 34 past Presidents; your leadership has created a vibrant association that remains unparalleled in achievements and milestones. And like my predecessors, I strive to earnestly represent the invaluable qualities of the TAA, and will continue our journey towards shared goals and ambitions.

I began my journey with Triangle Apartment Association in 2004 when I attended my first leasing class. New to the industry, I was eager to learn more and saw that the TAA offered a variety of classes to assist in my personal growth. The leasing seminar ignited a spark, and I was soon signing up for any class that I possibly could! 

In 2007 I was promoted to Property Manager at a community in Carrboro. My Regional at the time recommended I obtain a
designation if I was serious about pursuing a career in the multifamily industry. He said the NAAEI National Designation,
Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) would help my development. I explored this option, and decided it was exactly what I was looking for to help understand the financial components of managing a property. At the time, I was not able to cover the expense, and was at loss on how to take the course. A coworker shared that the Association would cover expenses for certifications through their Education Foundation (TAAEF). I applied for a scholarship, and was extremely fortunate to be
awarded it! I could not believe that I was a part of an Association that would offer something like this to me, and I began the course with a sense of purpose. 

Fast forward a few years and I was a multisite manager overseeing 800 units. Although I was besieged with resident issues (as we all are!), I recall sitting at my desk and thinking “I would not have this opportunity had it not been for the CAM class.” It was at this moment that I felt it was time I reciprocated and give back to an Association that had been so pivotal in my own growth and development.

I renewed my commitment to become more involved and at the recommendation of a dear friend and colleague (Tamara
Hayes), I propelled myself into Government Affairs, which at the time I knew nothing about. For the first few meetings I sat
in silence, listening to the volunteers around the table offering feedback on the impact of noise ordinance fine and utility rate increases in their market. A few weeks later I had familiarized myself with US government language and codes and realized that I too had something to contribute. Before I knew it, I was raising issues and concerns for my communities and attending PAC fundraising events to help raise money. Then I found myself walking the halls of NC Congress to meet with our elected officials to promote our industry’s needs and concerns. Being from the UK this was all a little out of my comfort zone, but the classes I had taken at TAA had given me the equipment and knowledge to execute this with poise. Again, I was struck with the thought that I had set out to say thank you to TAA, but found I was also benefitting by making new network connections and increasing my confidence. 

In 2014, I applied to the Board of Directors, and after an extensive interview, was thrilled to be asked to serve. The initial
meeting made quite an impression on me, the collaboration around the table was upbeat and constructive; managers, regionals, vendors and VPs from a variety of companies were putting aside their personal and company opinions to make progressive decisions for the TAA. After two years on the Board I applied for the Treasurer position and will never forget that call from Bob Metzger letting me know I had been selected. That phone call led me to my first Executive Committee meeting in 2016, graduating from the NAA Leadership Lyceum, and now sit here writing my first Presidents Pen! None of this could have been accomplished without my early involvement in the TAA. 

Now that I have shared my journey to this moment, I start my term as the TAA’s 35th President with one question in mind, how can I help you have an enriching and exceptional experience in 2018? One method that is tried and true is simple encouragement to get involved. Attend meetings, After Work Networking events, whatever your professional and personal goals, the TAA can help you meet them. Do you want to develop your leadership skills? Increase your network of industry friends? Overcome a fear, maybe of public speaking (one of mine)? Or, would you like to improve your knowledge of the apartment industry in general? Whatever your goals, I encourage you to continue to be involved in the TAA and to embolden co-workers, employees, and employers to help grow this wonderful institution. 

I am grateful to be given this opportunity, and will work steadfastly and purposefully in the hope that others like yourself will be inspired to create a community of volunteers and members that cannot live without the Triangle Apartment Association.

If you are new to the Triangle Apartment Association you may be asking, what is the TAA? In a recent Board of Directors Strategic Planning Retreat, the Board asked that very question. As a result, the Board revised the Associations Mission Statement and I am excited to introduce it to our Membership! 

“The leading resource committed to the advancement of the rental housing industry through advocacy, engagement and innovation.”

Claire Michael, CAM

TAA President
Fairfield Residential, LLC


This article was originally published in the 2018 January/February issue of the ApartMentor magazine.