2020 Conference

2020 STRENGTH MATTERS

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

As the Strength Matters conference goes virtual, we will retain key features that make this a unique forum for senior-level professional development, while taking advantage of our new virtual format to expand access to much of the content!

Join us as we gather financial managers, accounting professionals and community development investors and lenders to build skills; share vision, lessons and inspiration for changing operations; network; and renew energy for the challenges we face.

Looking for CPE information?
Please read the information sheet. Link to the survey for evaluations.
Still have questions? Email Lindsay

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SPEAKERS

An outstanding array of industry and organizational leaders from throughout the U.S. will lead this year’s conference sessions.
Download All Speaker Bios

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    AGENDA

    Each day kicks off with a general session to reconnect and reenergize and to gain information about critical marketplace realities and new visions for our organizations. After the general session, attendees can select one of several technical sessions to join. Following a short break, attendees can choose from several peer-exchange sessions.

    Download Detailed Agenda

    Use the buttons below to select a day’s agenda to review or download the PDF versions of the complete agenda.

    Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

    Our Strength Matters conference usually opens with a discussion of key market dynamics defining our work as housing and community development organizations. Today those key market dynamics must be the impacts and long-term implications of the dual pandemics - COVID-19 and racial injustice. As much of the country remains shut down, or is in danger of being shut down again, we now do much of our grappling virtually. So, we thought our first ever virtual conference called for a different approach – a different way to set the context for our work together over the next three days, a new way for financial management leaders to approach a rapidly unfolding new reality.

    Robert Kennedy III, Founder and CEO of Kennetik Kommunications, will guide us through a highly interactive series of virtual experiences to help us find a new frame for communication and leadership as we build resilient finance teams ready to operate in a new hybrid workplace and move our organizations forward on a path of impact, change, and justice.

    Financial Reporting/Management

    Internal Controls in the New Normal

    Remote work is likely with us for a long time to come, and often internal control procedures that worked well in the office need rethinking. Hear how several organizations are handling internal controls in the new environment while working closely with their auditors to ensure sound procedures are in place.


    Speakers: Kelly Perlman of Plante Moran, Valorie Schwarzmann of Homeport, Doug Bates of National Affordable Housing Trust Inc. and Jill Kolb of National Church Residences

    Learning Objective: Evaluate the effectiveness of internal controls in the remote work environment.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Accounting

    HR in a Pandemic

    Effective Remote Work Policies

    As the pandemic hit, many organizations had to scramble to implement remote work policies. No one had contemplated having most or all of ther staff working from home. Learn about the effective remote work policies that HR leaders at two organizations have been putting in place. This includes areas such as what the policies should cover; what’s expected in remote work and what does supervision look like; maintaining cohesive teams and culture; office equipment; technology and cybersecurity; measuring success; dealing with employee moral and health, etc.

    Speakers: Sherry Burton of Housing Partnership Network, Janice Turner of Mercy Housing and David Jones of The Community Builders

    Learning Objective: Discuss effective remote work policies, explain what areas they should cover, and identify short-term and long-term implications.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Risk Management

    Managing Enterprise Risk in the New Hybrid World

    Enterprise risk management and planning have never been more relevant than today. Moreover, the challenge of ensuring sound risk mitigation while managing reduced resources is increasing. Hear from CohnReznick's experts on effective ERM and from a CFO regarding balancing ERM with operating realities.

    Speakers: Leanne Agaman, Marianne Turnbull, George Gallinger of CohnReznick; Chris Cherry of CFO Wesley Housing Development Corporation and Art Fatum, IBP Assoicaties (moderator)

    Learning Objective: Apply sound enterprise risk management planning at your organization.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Management Services

    Tax/Tax Credit Issues

    2020 Tax Legislative Update

    This past year has seen a number of tax changes effecting our industry. In this session, learn about the impact of new rules and suggestions for managing your organizations under these changes and the required reporting. The session focuses on corporate tax issues such as PPP, CARES act, forbearance, NOLs and more.

    Speakers: Brittany Besler, Tom Washburn and Matt Troiano of AAFCPAs

    Learning Objective: Identify 2020 tax legislation issues affecting your organization.

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Taxes

    Homebuilding

    Home Builders' Business Model Evolution: Striving for Sustainability

    According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the home building industry has made an amazing resurgence in the wake of the pandemic and current economic conditions point to continued momentum and growth opportunities. So where is the nonprofit developer in this outlook? Join three nonprofit single-family developers to hear how they’re evolving their single-family business model (business evolution that got underway pre-pandemic) to remain financially viable and support growth.

    Speakers: Jay Perlmutter of ANDP, Chris Laurent of Cinnaire Solutions and Leo Barrera of CDC of Brownsville

    Learning Objective: Discuss various single-family development business models and how they impact an organization’s financial performance. Identify and discuss key challenges to the business models.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Business Management & Organization

    Lending/CDFI

    Managing Loss Reserves in a Pandemic

    Join a discussion about how auditors and practitioners are thinking about loan loss provision amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Speakers: Katie Rodriguez of HPN, Christopher Griffin of CohnReznick and Chuck Wall of RCLF

    Learning Objective: Identify best practices for reviewing loan loss reserves during the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss key steps to prepare for your next audit in regards to LLR policies and process.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Organizational Management/Resilience

    Building Organizational Resilience

    Resilience and sustainability go hand in hand as the ability for an organization to bounce back from a disaster and be stable for the long haul. Disasters, whether natural, economic, or pandemics will happen and effect our businesses. This session focuses on the strategic approach to positioning your organization for whatever lies ahead.

    Speakers: Sean Callum of First Republic Bank, Steve Spears of Mercy Housing, John O'Callaghan of ANDP and Art Fatum of IBP Associates

    Learning Objective: Identify strategies for building the long-term resilience and sustainability of organizations.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Business Management & Organization

    Rental Real Estate

    Rental Preservation Market in Times of Threat and Opportunity

    Every year is a new year, a new market – and THIS year is extraordinary. How are developers and capital providers transacting to preserve affordable rental housing? How are they factoring in racial justice? Are capital sources continuing to expand at terms that support long term affordability?

    Speakers: Celia Smoot of NAHT, Bob Taylor of Morgan Stanley, Brian Dowling of CDT, Oliver Gross of New Urban Development and Bill Mague of Aeon

    Learning Objective: Discuss strategic issues in increasing preservation of rental housing, including real estate targets, capital sourcing. Explore completing this work through a racial justice lens.

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

    New to Strength Matters? Active for many years? Come join us for our virtual coffee hour! We will introduce Strength Matters’ programs and services, and also spend time in cohorts by major business lines, so that you can be sure to meet your peers!

    Perhaps the most important elections in our lifetimes will be taking place a week after this session. We will hear from industry leaders who will help us make sense of the world we are dealing with from a policy and real estate markets perspective – capital market trends, rental markets, CRA, and how the COVID-19 and racial injustice pandemics will impact 2021 and beyond. This will help us formulate a vision and an approach to how we develop a strategy for our work at the federal and state and local level after the elections.

    Priya Jayachandran, Michael Novogradac and Robert Moss will share their views on key policy expectations affecting the real estate markets and explore market conditions and positioning for the nonprofit housing and community development sector.

    Financial Reporting/Management

    A Free Platform for Portfolio Oversight: NeighborWorks MFInsights

    Learn how to use NeighborWorks’ MFInsights Benchmarking System for efficient asset management and crisis stress analysis. This session is for NeighborWorks America organizations in rental housing ownership.

    Speakers: Harold Nassau of NeighborWorks America, Phil Hood of NeighborWorks America and Len Tatem of Tatem Consulting

    Learning Objective: Use benchmarking and trending as key elements of a strong asset management plan. Use data to efficiently assess performance and assess and mitigate risk.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    HR in a Pandemic

    Telework: But REALLY How Do You Manage Performance Challenges Virtually

    Managing people virtually - there's best practice; then there's "real life." This session will discuss how to anticipate and avoid human resource, OSHA, and worker’s compensation liabilities whenever managing virtual and hybrid workforces.

    Speakers: Peter Zaretskiy and Lori Sweeney of Insperity, and Gayle H. Lacroix of Roxbury Tenants of Harvard

    Learning Objective: Identify and discuss HR policies and practices available to manage HR challenges in a virtual workplace & in the pandemic specifically.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Personnel

    Risk Management

    Cybersecurity in an Increasingly Virtual World

    Tom Maynard, VP Strategic Initiatives and Solution Delivery at Mercy Housing will lead this session.

    Speakers: Tom Maynard of Mercy Housing and Anne Mola of New Vue Communities

    Learning Objective: Implement effective practices to strengthen security of data and systems

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Information Technology

    Tax/Tax Credit Issues

    Tax Considerations for Project Financing Under Recent Legislation

    Join Nancy Morton and Justin Rumer of Dauby O’Connor & Zaleski (DOZ) as they cover the impact of tax on project financing.

    Speakers: Nancy Morton and Justin Rumer of Dauby O’Connor & Zaleski

    Learning Objective: Evaluate tax law impact on current and future development project financing

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Taxes

    Homebuilding

    Equitable Valuation: Overcoming Single Family Valuation Challenges in African American and Low-income Neighborhoods

    If you Google “discrimination and home appraisals”, the news is plentiful of incidences about discriminatory appraisal practices that hinder African Americans from amassing equity through homeownership. Appraisal discrimination is not news for many Black homeowners and nonprofit developers across the country, who have experienced appraisal bias for decades in their majority African American neighborhoods. Join the NHS of Chicago and a local appraiser to talk about appraisal discrimination and how responding to the challenge may require solutions from multiple fronts.

    Speakers: Linda Greene of NHS Chicago, Andre Lanier of CKR Property Consultants and Sarah Brune of NHS Chicago

    Learning Objective: Discuss bias practices in single family property valuation in African American neighborhoods and the nonprofit developer’s response.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Lending/CDFI

    Projections Into The Future During Uncertain Times

    Join three seasoned CFOs as they discuss their approach to planning for their organizations amidst the pandemic and all the uncertainty that goes with it. Hear their thoughts on the future, where they watch for information, and what measurements they use to determine the financial strength of their organization, and learn whether their approach has changed during the pandemic.

    Speakers: Brittney Murphy of Fahe, Alan Branson of Hope Enterprise, Chuck Wall of RCLF and Anjanette Brown of The Resurrection Project

    Learning Objective: Identify key internal and external factors to the financial success of an organization, and utilize those to build financial projections to proceed strategically with financial decisions.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Organizational Management/Resilience

    Emerging Revenue Models For Resident Services

    In the pandemic, resident services have proven to be more than "nice" -- they are essential. As the value proposition for resident services changes, so too is the "business model" for delivering them. What portion of services tie to expense management? Are there new revenues possible when services are framed around health outcomes? How are investors viewing the impact of resident services?

    Speakers: Bob Simpson of Simpson Impact Strategies, Trevor Samios of WINN Management, Ken White of NHP Foundation, Alia Pacombe of Urban Edge and Joan Tally of Morgan Stanley

    Learning Objective: AAA

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Rental Real Estate

    Homeless Housing: Opportunities in the Era of COVID

    Housing our homeless neighbors is being recognized as a public health emergency this year. How are developers capitalizing on these opportunities? Are there strategic pathways to opening the scaled sources of funding needed to really make a difference in meeting the housing needs to end homelessness? Panel will provide perspectives from developers as well as organizations working at the County, State and Federal levels.

    Speakers: Debbie Burkart of NEF, Sharon Lee of LIHI, Michael Monte of Champlain Housing Trust, Bill Pickel of Brilliant Corners and Marcela Maguire of CSH

    Learning Objective: Learn how some groups are capitalizing on the moment of acquiring properties using resources being made available due to COVID. Explore strategies for how to create more sustainable capital resources over the long term, to continue close the funding gap for homeless housing.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Thursday, October 29th, 2020

    Michael McAfee, CEO of PolicyLink and co-author of A CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity, will provide and opening keynote on what we, as organizational leaders, can be doing within our organizations and our communities to build an enduring legacy of justice, inclusion, and fairness. Susan M. Ifill, COO of NeighborWorks America, will moderate discussion with Dr. McAfee.

    Sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, the fight for racial justice, social equity, and finally addressing centuries of inaction seems to have finally taken hold. This time it feels different, with a broad majority of Americans, led by the younger generations, pushing for change. How is this energy going to rebuild our industry and our organizations? What can we do as financial management leaders of our field to build stronger and more equitable organizations and a stronger more equitable industry?

    Financial Reporting/Management

    Cash Forecasting Tools Exchange: Across Your Lines of Business

    Cash forecasts by business line are an essential strategic tool in the CFO toolkit, yet too many groups still do not use them regularly. Hear from peers in multiple lines of business about the forecast tools they use to respond and adapt to financial challenges, ensure your nonprofit organization stays healthy and viable and to inform senior management and Board decision-making.

    Speakers: Michelle Bush of Corporate F.A.C.T.S., Travis Gordon of Avenue CDC, Brittney Murphy of Fahe

    Learning Objective: Discuss how organizations are using cash forecasting tools to balance their multiple lines of business, coordinate with staff and assist executive and board teams.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Management Services

    HR in a Pandemic

    Hiring, Retention, and Racial Equity

    Hear from leading HR professionals about best practices for hiring, retention, and racial equity in a virtual world. This includes posting and outreach strategies that ensure a diverse pool of candidates; deciding whether to keep the applicant pool local or expand it beyond your home geography; effective screening/vetting techniques; effective interviewing via video conferencing; and the challenges of virtual hiring, onboarding, and ensuring new hire connects well with the team.

    Speakers: Sherry Burton of Housing Partnership Network, Dorrie Bryan of National Community Renaissance, Cheryl Read of Champlain Housing Trust and Tracy McMillan of HCGA Consulting Partners

    Learning Objective: Identify and discuss best practices for hiring, retention, and racial equity in a virtual world.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Personnel

    Risk Management

    What’s Going On With the Insurance Market?

    The Property, Umbrella/Excess Liability, Casualty, and Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability markets are currently dealing with a number of challenges and uncertainties resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and climate-change related catastrophic events that are likely to continue well into the future. We will present an overview of the markets, dive into key aspects affecting residential properties, and look at future trends.

    Speakers: Brendan Dolan of HPIE, Tracy Pride of IMA Financial Group and Chuck Wehrwein of Housing Partnership Network

    Learning Objective: Examine current dynamics and challenges in a very unstable insurance market.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Tax/Tax Credit Issues

    What Makes an Effective Development Staff and Finance Department Partnership?

    A number of new investors have committed capital to the issues of affordable housing. Hear from CZI, LIIF, and Housing Trust SV on the types of capital, what the investor drivers are, and how borrowers can best position their projects to use the capital.

    Speakers: Kimberly Latimer-Nelligan of LIIF, Ruby Bolaria-Shifrin of Chan Zuckerberg, Fathia Macauley of HTSV and Art Fatum of IBP Associates

    Learning Objective: Discuss new sources of investor capital available to affordable housing developers and identify strategies for utilizing the funds to advance mission.

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Homebuilding

    Pandemic and Operational Change & Challenges for Homebuilding

    The pandemic has certainly turned nearly every aspect of our lives on its head. For some businesses, the fallout of the pandemic was too much to bear while other businesses paused, regrouped, and established a set of operating efficiencies that are making all the difference. Come talk with two nonprofit developers to hear about and discuss change and challenge of single-family business operations in the age of COVID and how they’re keeping it going.

    Speakers: Angie Allen of Frontier Housing, Stephanie Cooley of Frontier Housing and Glenn Karlson of Trellis

    Learning Objective: Discuss operational challenges and changes to the single-family development line of business due to the pandemic.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Lending/CDFI

    Opportunity Zones: Lessons From Funds That Are Working

    Learn how three CDFIs have been able to make Opportunity Zone investments work for their organizations. These organizations will share their experience closing Opportunity Zone investments, including why and how they did it and what they have learned.

    Speakers: Betsy Biemann of CEI, Jeff Crum of NJCC, Phil Eide of HOPE Enterprises and Paula Planthaber of NeighborWorks America

    Learning Objective: Identify key considerations when thinking about engaging in and closing Opportunity Zone investments.

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Organizational Management/Resilience

    Racial Equity and the Transformation of the Workplace

    What have we learned from how we have worked for the last eight months that we want to build into the future? Does the new virtual/hybrid environment open opportunities for greater equity or does it pose new challenges? What new resources or buy in might we need to take the equitable path? Building off the morning plenary on racial equity as the building block for our future organizations, we will explore the challenges and opportunities we have in this unique moment in history to begin to build more equitable organizations and a more equitable industry. And let’s take a look ahead at what our changing workplaces might look with a new equitable lens – everything from office space to evolving cultures and new approaches, such as the potential for more outsourcing of some services than in the past and new ways of collaborating.

    Speakers: Lorraine Gordon of Lead with Heart LLC, Gail Latimore of Codman Square NDC amd Karen Law of CommonBond Communities

    Learning Objective: Identify and apply the learnings of the last eight months of virtual and hybrid work into building the future workplace with a focus on racial equity.

    Learning Level: Intermediate

    Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

    Rental Real Estate

    Rental Portfolio & Development Pipeline and Capital

    Cash is King. It is hard to manage in the face of swirling unknowns. CFOs will discuss how they are identifying the risks to rental housing development and portfolio management for the coming two years, and how they are engaging boards and senior leadership in these scenarios.

    Speakers: Dana Moore of Washington Management Services, Julie Hovermale of Better Housing Coalition, Griffen Moore of Peoples' Self-Help Housing and Valorie Schwarzmann of HomePort

    Learning Objective: Discuss strategic issues for rental development, pipeline and portfolio cash management looking ahead to 2021 and 2022.

    Learning Level: Advanced

    Field of Study: Management Services

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    MATERIALS

    Presentations and handouts from sessions are available to conference attendees.
    Please check your email for a link to all the presentaions and recorded sessions from Lindsay Wells (consult.lwells@gmail.com) on 10/29.
    If you can't find the link, please email Chelsea at info@strengthmatters.net for access.

    SPONSORS

    Strength Matters thanks our wonderful sponsors for their commitment to supporting a thriving, well-capitalized, high-performing nonprofit affordable housing sector.

    Major Supporters of Strength Matters:


    Silver Sponsors:


    Bronze Sponsors:


    Friends of Strength Matters: