Reflection and Moving Forward

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This is the time of year when we all need to take the appropriate time to reflect on the year, make important distinctions, gather up our wins and losses, and evaluate what happened. Then we take everything we’ve learned through our entire lives and gather it all up to move forward and plan the new year. Proudly, I get to say that this has been, in many ways, one of the best years AACSC has ever had—the forward motion, positive changes made, challenges met, and finances for the year—each have not been better in all our history that we can recount. For that, I am extremely proud of our current staff and Executive Board and Officers for their leadership, decisiveness, wisdom, and courage in the face of all the industry naysayers, ill-informed, and those who refuse change no matter how bad things get.

The problem is that some of us spend far too much time looking into that tiny, rear-view mirror of the past and not enough time looking into that massive windshield of the future. When we get stuck on the past, it is a killer in business and progress, and we always need to be on guard for that. The world never stops spinning and growing, and if we cannot grasp that, then we are in big trouble no matter what we do or whom we do it with. Reflection is important, no doubt, but staying there too long is counterintuitive, counterproductive, and has been the source of decline and/or stagnation everywhere you see it, including our own businesses or families. Like any plant on the earth, if it is not growing it is dying, or like my mentor, Darren Hardy says, “If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind.”

The past year took a lot of effort, time, knowledge, courage, introspection, and a boatload of humility to ask for the help we’ve asked for from you—our members, our Staff, our Board, and outside consultants and professionals in order to put us in the position we have arrived at today—in one of the most promising positions we’ve been in since those of us who have been affiliated the longest with AACSC have seen in a long time. There has been a lot of growth and change, and when those things happen, they feel tough—they feel chaotic, but the numbers don’t lie. Change is tough, but necessary. Change is natural. Change is necessary to stay ahead of the wrong philosophies of our local and statewide economics, such as enacting the poorly thought out confines of rent control and other punishing and hindering policies. If we don’t believe these philo sophies will be reintroduced again at a later point with upgraded messaging and thinking (aka: CHANGE) then we are in for big trouble in the future. At the same time, we need to upgrade and change as well to combat for the future win. The same is true for our innerworkings of our association—to remain relevant, to reach and hold onto being the premier association — we need to think about the changes we need to make, and we need our members far more involved and engaged.

As President of the AACSC this year, I came in with two major goals, which #1 had to do with Board Engagement. Admittedly, before this year, the engagement of our Board was not what it should have been, but let’s face it—several years ago, and for many years prior, there was an Executive Leader who ran the show, did so well, and did so much that there wasn’t much left for anyone else to do! A superpower she was, indeed! But, by this time in 2018, change was beyond necessary and change came to the AACSC in fantastic ways; now, I have never seen this Board so deeply engaged, knowledgeable, and continuing to learn and grow—and I have to say I am extremely proud of them for rising to that challenge and blowing the goal away in ways I never imagined.

Goal #2 was to have the best financial year we’ve had in the last five years, and we pulled together and decimated that goal as well. At the beginning of the year, we pushed and pushed for higher budgeting goals, and pushed ourselves, our members, and our Staff to deliver, and even though we didn’t hit every goal the way we wanted, we sure ended on a positive note to the likes of which we never expected or can recall from our recent past.

At the same time, there is also news that is not positive that we also need to reflect on and plan for 2019 and beyond. As of now, we’ve missed some of our deadlines in getting next year’s Board and Officers elected, which we usually have done by now, and that leaves some uncertainty moving forward. No matter how that turns out, we need our members’ voices now more than ever in the coming years to hold our feet to the fire and to make sure we are going after the proper goals and mission of this Association—to preserve, protect, and enhance the rental housing industry. Our members’ voices are very powerful, and you need to check in on us and inspect what you expect from us. You need to make sure we are changing with the times and situations and staying ahead of the opposition and naysayers—within our circle along with externally, and frankly, as a member, I would spend most of my time on the internal—what are we doing and delivering as an association? How are we helping you and doing what we say?

We need to see to it that we are the leaders of education in property operations and management. We need dedicated staff working full-time on legislative advocacy, growing our membership footprint, and combining forces to educate our lawmakers on the unintended consequences of their laws and actions, as well as to educate renters in the same way. We need to open our doors to the opposition to educate them as well and come to viable solutions that don’t include punishing anyone but instead working out solutions that can fit us all.

We are very hopeful after this tumultuous, yet fantastic year we’ve had in our association and industry, but the hard work has truly just begun, and we cannot allow the rear-view dwellers to send us backwards. We need to continue the forward push; 2019 is going to be the most important year the AACSC has faced in many, many years and we need our members to be highly engaged and involved. We need you on committees to see what we are doing and to help be the voice of forward motion to keep us on track to meet and exceed your expectations.

Cheers to 2018, cheers to you, and cheers to 2019!

This has been an absolute honor, and I cannot be prouder of this experience and hopeful for our future.

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