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Rick Graf Participates on Three Panels at the 2017 NAA Education Conference & Exposition

2017 National Apartment Association Education Conference at Georgia

Pinnacle’s President & CEO Rick Graf took the stage on three separate occasions at the NAA Education Conference & Exposition, where approximately 10,000 people gathered in Atlanta to share innovative ideas and practices involving the multifamily industry.

“Finding the Cure for Community: (Why) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

In his first session, Rick participated in a discussion about how employees can work to connect residents, build loyalties, and increase retention through engaging activities. The session, titled “Finding the Cure for Community: (Why) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” emphasized the importance of cultivating ‘real’ neighborhoods in our communities to improve resident’s lives as well as financials. When people feel connected, the panelists said, they tend to stay longer and share a more positive view of the property with others.

A Cares team, which helps with onsite event planning, can implement a schedule of popular activities such as cooking classes, wine and painting, and chili cook-offs, to name a few examples. These types of engagements are among the Top 5 reasons residents retain their lease, according to surveys. The panelists also revealed that over 11 percent of residents break their lease, or choose not to renew, because of unresolved neighbor disputes. Connection matters and the operators are a critical component for making sure that happens.

Sharing this panel with Rick were Beth Tuttle, VP Marketing at LMC, Jen Piccoti, COO of Managing, and moderator Kiley Haught, VP of Client Relations at Apartment Life.

 “Corporate Social Responsibility”

Rick paneled an executive session with other CEOs on the topic of “Corporate Social Responsibility,” where discussions uncovered practical strategies for creating sustainable public-private partnerships to help sway homelessness and hunger in our country. Moderator Debbie Phillips, President of Quadrillion, led the discussion that also included Mitch Harrison, President and CEO of First Community and Chuck Sheldon, President of T&C Management. Each panelist was asked to talk about what their own companies were doing to help impact people’s lives.

Rick shared how Pinnacle dedicated an entire week in 2016 to community service. At this time,team members were allowed to assist a charity during the work day to increase involvement. He talked about how 354 Pinnacle volunteers spent a total of 2,155 total hours performing a variety of activities, some of which could be categorized as environmental stewardship, donation centers, community engagement or food pantries, during the company’s Heart of Service campaign. He also said that while Pinnacle supports major national non-profits, such as the United Way, its regional offices and properties across the country are busy helping their favorite local non-profits on a daily basis. Hands-on activities, fundraisers and large corporate donations are all a part of Pinnacle’s outreach strategy, he explained.

At the core, Rick said, we are all servants. We serve residents, investors, communities, associates, and our vendor partners. We must have the heart of a servant.

“Executive Leadership”

Rick’s third opportunity to take the stage came during an early morning Executive Leadership panel where he disclosed his keys to success and gave practical advice to high-level audience members who were seeking ways to advance in their own careers. He and the other panelists had casual conversations about how they have impacted others and spoke about things executive leaders are doing to evolve and grow their talents. Speaking alongside Rick were Cindy Clare, President of Kettler Management and current NAA Chair, Tom Beaton, Senior Vice President of The Dolben Company, and Brad Williams, Senior Vice President of Lincoln Property Companies. The panel was moderated by Jerry Wilkinson, Chairman of the Wilkinson Company.