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Nichol Beckstrand
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The Morning After

Multi Housing Advocate, May 2019

The morning after a big event you always feel a sense of exhaustion and, depending upon how that event played out, you may feel elation or frustration. I’m writing this the morning after MHA’s 2019 Presidential Gala and I can say I definitely feel exhaustion and elation. I know now that I should not plan back-to-back meetings the day after this event in the future. I have some other emotions as well, that I had not anticipated. I feel fulfilled. I feel fulfilled because I have a Strengthfinders executing mindset and the completion of any big tasks brings forth a feeling of fulfillment.

I was so impressed that our little staff pulled off (with the help of many great members) a very cool event. I also have a feeling of fulfillment because I had a personal goal of talking with as many great members as conceivably possible and, given all the names and faces swirling in my head this morning, I think I accomplished that.

In my first five months of being at the association I have been mostly a humble observer. I have observed an industry that is in itself its own village. I have observed members that truly support and care for one another (including our staff). Last night I observed the brotherhood that exists between an exiting Board Chair and an incoming Board Chair. Of course, there was lots of fodder coming from Chris Culp and Mike Garvin to one another. Our own Tom Cassidy did his own fair share of roasting each of them too. But when it got right down to the heart of what the message was, Chris expressed it as a heartfelt thank you to Cecil for coaching him during the year of chaos.

Unlike any chair that had gone before him, Chris faced obstacle after obstacle from Mary’s retirement, the search process, Section 8 arguments, revitalization of rent control discussions, and more City regulations than this industry has ever experienced. Having a friend and confidant like Cecil clearly meant a lot to Chris. Mike’s comments didn’t lack any less empathy either. He appreciated the efforts that Chris put into position for a successful 2019, and thanked other members of the Board for grooming him and coaching him to be ready to take over as our new chair. I was impressed and touched with this brotherhood and the sentiment that these guys really do like each other. This is a tough industry for all of you. It is a 24-7 industry
when you stop and think about it. Having special bonds and support like what I saw last night is crucial to your mental health. I love this industry.

Last night was the first major event for me with MHA. Yes, of course I did the MAC luncheon, but technically Mary was still around and I had that safety net. Last night felt big for me going into it. As I reflect back on the past five months here at MHA, I have spent a lot of time integrating with the “officials” in housing: the city officials, nonprofit officials, state officials. All the influencers in housing to ensure that we have an active seat at the table. I can confidently say that we do, and the seat is well-respected. I have also embellished my time with getting the staff and 2019 off to a fast start on goals and pent up initiatives that the Board and committees have shared with me. These two items have been very inwardly focused, but necessary for our long-term success.

Last night, for the first time, I felt like part of MHA. I felt like part of the industry. I am no longer just an observer. I am excited for the coming months. My goals include getting to meet as many of you as possible. I want to road trip to all of our chapters, go on property tours, and meet with as many of you as humanly possible. I want to talk with you about your business. I want to see the “homes” that you are creating for so many individuals and families. I want to document and broadcast what we really do and stand for!

Thanks for your welcome, support, and, if I haven’t met you yet, your willingness to share with me what we can do together.

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