My 2024 EdCon Experience

Posted By: Libby Hollan Articles,

On March 26, WMFHA hosted an educational conference in Seattle for all multi-family professionals. Through the WFMHA Emerging Leaders Program and the generosity of my employer, I was able to attend EdCon for the first time this year. Here’s that story.
The melodic hum of an iPhone alarm jolts me from my sleep…it’s time for EdCon! I donned my Greystar EdCon shirt, packed non-perishable items to donate for Move For Hunger’s food drive, and headed out the door. This year, EdCon took place at the Seattle Convention Center which was easily accessible for me via public transit. After a quick bus ride to Downtown Seattle, I signed in at EdCon and headed to the expo floor to connect with knowledgeable suppliers before the sessions started.
Before long, it was time for the educational sessions to begin. Using the PheedLoop app, I researched different educational offerings and created my schedule. I aimed to capture a wide range of topics and step outside of my comfort zone. My first session of the day took me to a conference room located down a set of escalators. I was thankful for the clear signage provided on the floor otherwise I suspect that I would have been aimlessly roaming the halls of the Convention Center.
While attending Critical Systems, I became even more impressed by the vast knowledge that multi-family maintenance professionals possess. Alex Gurdian and Darrell Clark emphasized the importance of ensuring the functionality, safety, and comfort of high-mid rise communities. I learned what an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is and how this differs from a generator. Remember folks, proactive maintenance and proper testing are critical.
In between sessions, there was plenty of time to revisit the expo floor and connect with industry peers. I enjoyed a cup of tea while sharing takeaways from the first session with others.
After the break, it was time for the second session of the day. I chose to attend Master of Improv, facilitated by Jeanele Bolder and Madison Barr. We learned the importance of using improv to stay calm, react quickly to anything, and create connections regardless of the situation. Using the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for “I love you” we learned I – intelligence, L – listening, Y- you, and your confidence. These are three tips to help you maximize the art of improv. A big takeaway for me was the idea of eye contact while on a phone call. Jeanele and Madison recommend finding something on your desk to focus on while speaking on the phone. This focus and overall engagement in the conversation is something that can be felt by the party on the other end of the line. This technique is something I put into practice immediately following EdCon.
Time flies when you are having fun! After the second session, it was time for lunch and the Table Talk conversations. I participated in a quick Greystar team photo in front of a large lit-up WMFHA sign and then rushed off to meet Brittany Flajole at the Hiring & Interviewing table. Brittany happens to be my mentor through the Emerging Leaders program, so I was especially thrilled that we were able to co-facilitate a conversation about recruiting, interviewing, and hiring in the multi-family industry. We heard from several folks about how challenging it can be to find talent, particularly maintenance talent. Engaged in a discussion about if cover letters are still relevant. And were able to share some words of encouragement with leaders who are making hiring decisions. Brittany and I then decided to attend a session together to support our mentor/mentee learning.
Our pursuit of growth led us to attend Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a Daily Practice, which I found to be the most energizing session of the day – very convenient that this session occurred after lunch. Ishea Shepard and Monica Frazier provided a comprehensive overview of terminology that is commonly used in conversations surrounding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Belonging (DEIAB). They shared that intention and impact truly matter. A big takeaway for me was that diversity is all around us and the hard part of diversity is not finding it, but rather celebrating it intentionally. In the words of Ishea, “get weird!”.
After another brief break, it was time for the last session of the day. I am a big believer in the importance of affordable housing and decided to attend Navigating MFTE Like a Pro to increase my knowledge about the program. Jason Phillips spoke about Seattle MFTE housing programs with such passion that it was impossible to not feel invigorated by the information. This session emphasized the importance of “getting it right the first time” and “getting it right the second time, too”. Taking the time to follow the process correctly pays off every step of the way. I learned about the relationship between students and MFTE housing, which is not something I have considered previously. This was a great session.
Attendees then filed into the lobby to partake in refreshments, continue connecting, and prepare to depart for the day. As I shared observations from the day with peers, I realized that in addition to swag items, I had collected knowledge and true connections throughout EdCon. This realization made me excited to attend again next year.

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