Don Brunner is a multifamily leader. As the current NAA Chair of the Board, he understands both the supplier and management sides of the industry from a career devoted to both. Listen in to hear his reflections on challenges he has encountered in his various roles, the importance of mentors, and how to continue evolving and sharpening your skills.
“I don’t think there’s anything more important than that personal relationship and being able to look someone in the eyes and talk to them."
Mindy Price chats with Don Brunner about his various roles in the multifamily industry, from supplier to manager to CEO and Chairman of the Board. As he reflects on his younger years, he wishes he’d known to buy as much real estate as he could, for land is scarce with great possibilities for growth. He also wishes he’d understood what an extended family his network of professional relationships would become, through sharing information and learning from one another, to being a support system during the pandemic.
Mindy next asks Don to reflect on the challenges he has faced in his roles as president and chair. He acknowledges that staffing shortages have required his team to assess new strategies for acquiring and retaining talent, including the development of an apprenticeship program for maintenance professionals, and advancement and “work from home” opportunities for other members of the team. He also notes that while partnerships and relationships are key, not all business is good business, and some ventures will not pan out.
Finally, Don and Mindy discuss leadership trends and career advice for those both new to and established in the industry. Don details some of his team’s efforts to bring down the age of participants and volunteers by establishing a variety of groups that develop new leaders. He also emphasizes the importance of sharpening your skills through talking to and learning from as many people as you can. His demonstrates the ever-changing ways to communicate with team members by his own open-door policy, and he advises those starting out to stand by their word, treat people fairly, and be willing to reinvent.
Priyanka Agarwal is a public relations expert with over two decades of experience in the field. In her current role, Priyanka serves as the public relations consultant for J Turner Research. She specializes in online reputation management, corporate content creation, and strategic PR planning. She is a contributory author for NAA, Multifamily Insider, and PR Daily. Priyanka holds a master’s degree in public relations from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communications, University of Houston.