Apartmentalize 2019

By on Jun 26, 2019 in Events, News

DENVER (June 26, 2019) – The National Apartment Association’s annual summer conference, Apartmentalize, got underway Wednesday at the Denver Convention Center. It’s the ultimate destination for multifamily professionals to get educated, engaged and inspired. But a consistent theme throughout the event’s opening sessions was not renting apartments or multifamily technology, but something far simpler: people.

“I love this industry because we interact so intimately with our customers,” said Melissa Joy, vice president of Village Green. “Renting an apartment is the best or the worst day of someone’s life.” Making the experience as positive as possible for residents is Village Green’s constant goal, Joy explained. “We obsess over our residents and their happiness.”

The theme of this year’s Apartmentalize is “Everyone. Together.” That spirit of inclusivity pervaded the educational sessions – which covered topics like fair housing, short term rentals, technology, management techniques, benchmarking, investment ROI, leasing best practices, workplace violence, apartment advocacy, reputation management and more.

A highlight of Wednesday’s Living Room Learning, a series of quick TED talk-style presentations, was Heather Blume and her service dog MoonMoon, who bluntly addressed the negative reaction she has encountered to her certified service animal.

“When you have a service dog, your disability is on display,” Blume confided. But MoonMoon has enabled her to overcome debilitating panic and PTSD attacks to travel, work and give speeches again. She urged multifamily professionals to consider the whole picture when considering renting to residents who rely on support animals.

“Home is supposed to be a safe place, and we are home providers,” said Blume, a training and leasing consultant from Seattle, with MoonMoon calmly seated behind her on the stage.

Wednesday concluded with a keynote address by Brandon Stanton, who you may have never heard of – but he’s the most followed photographer on Instagram with his account @humansofny. The street photo account, which has 9.2 million followers, and the accompanying blog make an art out of telling the personal stories of people Stanton has met worldwide.

“I stop random people in the streets of New York City and make them comfortable enough that they will share a story with me, often very intimate details of their personal life,” Stanton said. His professional experience – losing his job as a bond trader in Chicago in 2010 and reinventing himself as a storyteller – prompted the energetic audience to settle down and engage with his compelling story.

Stanton’s description of his work process, and how he turns someone’s life into a story for public consumption, encouraged the audience to see the humanity in everyone they meet.

“I think with every person I talk to, there are two threads going through their minds at all times. One is, ‘I just met this guy, why is he asking me all these personal questions? I’m very uncomfortable.’ And the other one is an appreciation of having someone to talk to about all this stuff.”

Social media saturation has enabled us to share our lives more easily than ever before, but it has also ramped up the volume of information to overload.

“In a world that’s structured to let you broadcast this stuff, nobody is listening anymore. To have somebody sit down and validate you with intense focus and such attention, can be such a gift and such a relief,” Stanton said. He has now taken photos and told people’s stories in 40 countries around the world and published two bestselling books.

“The moments when I feel best about my work are when I’ve finished an interview and the person and I are profusely thanking each other,” he revealed. “Sometimes the only thing somebody has is their story. And if somebody comes along and makes that valuable, that is something special.”

Apartmentalize continues through Friday. On Thursday, Yardi executives will participate in the following sessions:

Get Smart: Top Tech Trends for Better NOI will be moderated by Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. Bonardi is joined by panelists Taylor Wiederkehr, director of innovation services at BH Management Services and Garin Hamburger, senior director of national property marketing at Pinnacle.

How to Leverage Big Data for Big Results will be moderated by Dharmendra Sawh, industry principal for Yardi Elevate. Sawh is joined by panelists Darren Wesemann, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at Berkadia, Diana Norbury, senior vice president of multifamily operations at Pillar Properties and Gino Ferro, director of sales and procurement at Bridge Property Management.

Building Resilience with Tools, Trends & Energy Strategies will be moderated by Martin Levkus, regional director at Yardi. Panelists include Deborah Cloutier, president of RE Tech Advisors and Cindy Zhu, fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Follow @YardiSystems on Twitter and the hashtag #Apartmentalize to keep up with the event online.