A Word from Our President

Posted By: Mary Howell Community, Industry,

DMAA President’s Report


Greetings, it was my pleasure to see so many of you at our last DMAA General Membership Meeting of 2023.  Unfortunately, the acoustics weren’t amenable to relaying the following information to those in attendance, so we are posting it on the website for Membership’s review.


Per our DMAA Bylaws we were able to introduce our DMAA Board candidates for 2024.  This impressive group of leaders, if elected will start their term January 2024 and finish December 2025.  We encourage all members to look on the top right of the website for the header, “2024 Board Candidates” or to check your email and follow the link to the voting site and enter your selections for our new Board of Directors.


We have 5 seats open for property professionals.  Our 2024 property management candidates are as follows:

  • Valerie Hayhurst – Dominion Realty
  • Melanie Brown – The Associated Management Company
  • Khalil Muhammad – Essential Property Management
  • Stephanie Linton- Princeton Management
  • Alicia Holmes – Paragon Properties
  • Duy Vu – The Associated Management Company
  • James Spearman – Essential Property Management
  • Kyle Hillabrand – Monarch Properties
  • Mary Howell – Legacy, LLC


We have two seats open for our Supplier Candidates, which are as follows:

  • Shannon McMahon – The Liberty Group
  • Sheri Bretz – CORT
  • Teena Neal – M.J. White & Son
  • Wendy Sherman – Maris Brown


All these candidates are very qualified and deserve a credit for all the great work they have already done for the DMAA.   When our organization can provide such a talented and dedicated group of leaders to our Membership for election, our organization is the real winner.  Thank you all and good luck.


Before we delve into our Year-in-Review, we’d like to take a moment to thank our current Board of Directors.  Our Executive Officers are Patrina Smith-Vice President, Valerie Hayhurst-Treasurer, Rochelle Cole-Secretary, and Mary Howell-President.  Members-at-Large are Douglas Marcum, Mike Kovalesky, Shannon McMahon, Chelsea Strudgeon, Heidi Jenuwine, Corrine Russo, and in attendance is our Past President- Aaron Lewis. Thank you all for your volunteerism and your contribution to this association!  We appreciate each one of you for your integrity, your teamwork, and your willingness to explore change and focus on the successful future of the association.


Your DMAA BOARD of Directors and Committees focused this past year on promoting our new strategic plan.  We’ve talk about this frequently, but I’m not sure our Membership is clear as to what our plan is, so I thought I would give a high-level overview of the plan.


  • Our mission is to build the multifamily industry through education, advocacy, and leadership.
  • Our vision is to be the premier partner serving and inspiring everyone in the multifamily housing industry.
  • And our goal is to increase Membership and participation. 


Our Strategic Objectives overview is as follows:


  1. To Improve Membership engagement in advocacy by focusing on local legislation forecasting, review,  education, and promotion of issues to Membership and to develop an advocacy link and outreach to all members.


  1. To Improve and increase communications and strengthen public relations by spearheading marketing initiatives and promoting engagement, by increasing our social media presence, thereby enhancing Membership value for Supplier Council members.


  1. To Develop leadership by providing Chair and Vice-Chair training, resources, and quarterly meetings.  To develop a Board member mentoring program and criteria for holding a Board position, and by recruiting NextGen Next level leaders.


Now let’s take a moment to look at our year in review, so you, our Membership, can see how we’ve applied our Strategic Plan to all our endeavors, and help us achieve our goals in the next four years:


  • January saw us welcome a new board, Chairs and Vice-Chairs.  We worked with them to develop or refresh their committee meeting leadership skills and we gave them access to resources needed to lead their committees. We refined committee reporting and attendance recording, and your Board of Directors continue to consistently review all proposed activities, education, advocacy, philanthropy, and events before approving them, to ensure they apply and promote our Strategic Plan and DMAA’s culture.  Our committee’s hosted extraordinary events and education opportunities and of course, we started the year fresh with our annual Fair Housing class.


  • In February we held our 2nd Annual Designation luncheon.  We want to remind everyone that this is luncheon is open to all designees, and our 2024 luncheon is already scheduled for February 9th, 2024.


  • March saw us host our first DMAA Trade Show, independently from IREM, and it was a huge success.  We thank all our Supplier partners and  Property Professional members for their confidence in us and look forward to another successful event March 7, 2024, at our new location, Suburban Showcase. We also, as a board traveled to Washington DC in March, to join our industry cohorts from across the nation to  lobby for our industry issues at NAA’S ADVOCATE.


  • April saw us celebrate Fair Housing month and we also merged our NextGen Book Club with Mid-Michigan, but don’t think we let the dust settle because May saw us host a fantastic Spring Event at Tiger Stadium.   The 2024 Spring Event has been revamped to become a Scholarship Fundraiser to help our Membership with education and/or conference expenses.  Our Task Force is working on eligibility and selection criteria and will release information regarding this new Scholarship opportunity once it is completed and approved by the BOD.  We encourage and support all positions of property management to apply for education scholarships.  Also in April,  it was exciting to help initiate Statewide President’s Meetings, whereby Michigan’s  four association Presidents, currently David Gerchak-PMAMM, Paula Rote-Tigani-WAAA, Mike Culver-PMAWM and PMAM’s President, Doug Marcum and I meet to promote common association goals, share ideas, procedures, and policies, create efficiencies, reduce expenses, share education and event scheduling, and encourage a state bond and unity. 


  • The month of May saw several other activities including NexGen’s “Star Wars” themed Trivia night at Shield of Detroit, which offered networking opportunities and was fun for all attendees. PMAM’s Capital Day was held in May, were we met in person with our state legislature for the first time in two years at our state’s capital.  Many of your Board members capitalized on the experience and education learned at Advocate to help personalize and promote our causes to our legislators. Also in May, a Leadership Lyceum class was hosted, where several of our members took on the task of fulfilling their leadership training and many more earned their Lyceum Eagles this year. 


  • In June the DMAA kicked off our summer with NAA’s Apartmentalize in Atlanta, where committee work was continued on a national level and the education was superb.  We also were proud to have two Michigan members make 20 in their 20’s, Khalil Muhammad, and Mitch Lovell.  And we are proud to announce, DMAA’s Khalil is the first ever maintenance professional to make that cut. After Atlanta, we traveled home to host one of our largest DMAA golf outings in recent years at the Links of Novi.  Thank you to all who sponsored, volunteered, or attended this event.


  • July had us preparing for a jam-packed fall and calling for our PRISM award nominations, and we celebrated our Supplier Council partners at Zen City Center.  In addition, we took a risk, but it turned out to be a good one, when we hosted an incredibly educational and relationship building Fair Housing Panel at our General Membership meeting.   Leah Brewer hosted the Fair Housing Panel discussion, with Detroit Fair Housing Center Executive Director, Steve Tomkowiak, and Membership representatives, Karlene Lehman, Rich George, Mirriam Livingstone, and Clio Barker as panelists.
  • August had our PRISM award submission deadline approach, and our Special Events committee went into full swing planning for our Prism Award Ceremony that was being hosted at a brand-new location, The Detroit Motor City Hotel and Casino!  By the way, the reason we had to move the venue this year, was because we outgrew our last one when we had over 240 attendees.


  • September hosted the main event where we held our Annual PRISM awards with record attendance of over 340 guests.    And, yes, we are planning next year’s event at the Motor City again, however, we listened to our members, and we are working with the Casino on an area to hold a workstation, as well as to offer some sort of activity for those who want to work or  have nowhere convenient to wait between education and the dinner.  Finally, in September, Peggy and Rayshaun launched our new NOVI software, which will help us communicate with our Membership better, not to mention connect data with our other associations and NAA, effortlessly.


  • And here we are at the end October where we  have already had a great education seminar and awards banquet with GLAStar, where many of our PRISM winner’s found success as well!  In October, we also hosted along with our other associations our annual Real Estate Continuing education, and please note, all attendees have had their attendance recorded. We also hosted our final General Membership meeting at NextGen’s Halloween event held at One Eyed Jacks. Also in October, I’m pleased to announce, we reached exceptional Membership growth to 107,000 units!!!


  • In November we will be hosting a wreath making Open House at the DMAA office to continue to raise funds for the State Pac.  We exceeded our fair share for the NAA Pac raising just under $10,000 dollars but we are still almost $1,300 away from meeting our State Pac fair Share!  (Please donate or just buy a STATE PAC shirt on our website to show your ADVOCACY support and help us achieve our State Pac fair share goal.) We also will be joining IREM for our Annual Joint meeting on November 15th at the Italian banquet center in Livonia.


  • And to finish the year strong we will host our Annual Holiday Gathering and Silent Auction on December 6th at the Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak.


We’d like now to take a moment to acknowledge Peggy Ellis, whose passion and investment in the DMAA has been a driving force in its growth and development, and Rayshaun Phillips, whom I like to call RayShine for his beaming personality, and for his diligence in helping get NOVI ready to launch on time, and to them both for all their combined hard work, and for their implementation of policy and procedure, and their continuous recommendations for improvement, that help make DMAA a great and growing association. 


All the events noted create a lot of hard work, which was executed by our volunteer committee members, our staff, our Board of Directors, and our Membership volunteers.  But each event, class or meeting hosted was only successful because of your support, your engagement, and the feedback we have received from you. 


Please join me in recognizing our Committees, Board, Staff,  and yourselves, our Membership, for the successes garnered this year.   With your help and continued support we have been able to have a banner year!  We humbly thank you and look forward to a bright new year.



Mary F. Howell

Chief Operating Officer/Partner, Legacy, LLC

President, DMAA