Conference Wrap-Up
By Shirley A. Berger
President, North Park
Cooperative

As promised, I am writing a follow-up article after attending my first MAHC Conference in    Arlington, Virginia.  Representing North Park Cooperative at the MAHC conference was an honor and a privilege.  For me and Treasurer T. Regina Talbot, it was a “wealth of information”. Since there were so many topics of interest, she and I met just to map out who would attend what workshop.  Below are highlights of my training experience:

 After leaving the first workshop “Serving on the Board:  The Two Worlds of a Housing    Cooperative,” my expectations were high. 

Some of the workshops that I found beneficial were “Applicant Screening”, “To Catch a Thief”, “How Not to Live in a Garbage Can” and the workshop on Governance. 

The workshops that I recommend all conference attendees participate in are the Legal Updates and Fair Housing blocks of training.

The dialog, feedback and participation from these two workshops were “outstanding”. After each of these workshops, I went back to my hotel room to transcript and codify my notes.

Although some attendees were from difference states, it appeared that we were all connected.  Both workshops outlined the importance of good management, legal counsel and training.   In the Fair Housing workshop, I realized how important it was for maintenance staff and management to be trained on the current State and Local Laws.                 

They interact daily with our shareholders; therefore, they must also be trained in order to reduce the liabilities for the Cooperative and to understand what Members are “protected classes”.   

Once I returned home, I shared the various handouts with other Board Members that did not attend.  In the summer months, we have agreed to schedule some training sessions with the information received at conference.  We have also discussed a Saturday retreat for Board Members.  North Park Cooperative would love to partner with another Cooperative in the State of Michigan for some collective training.

I contacted several conference facilitators for additional training materials and assistance.  All of them were very generous with follow-up questions and documents.  

I met the Board of Directors from a neighboring Cooperative.  We discussed some joint projects, in addition to coordinating services, contractors and vendors.  We have some of the same concerns and issues.  

This MAHC conference also allowed me to meet some extraordinary people such as Sue Jones of Southwood Cooperatives, Indianapolis, IN, Randall Pentiuk and his staff, Melanie Phillips, and Linda Brockway (who kept me laughing).

As I stated in the first article, although this is a volunteer position, I take my fiduciary responsibility as President very seriously.  This  training enhanced my talents and skills.  I highly recommend the MAHC conference to all Cooperative Boards.

In Closing, I look forward to seeing everyone at the MAHC Conference in 2018.
I am a proud member of the MAHC family