2023 Conference



One year after we met in New Orleans for the first in-person meeting in three years, the velocity and intensity of disruption in our markets seems to have increased exponentially. The legacy of the pandemic, climate disasters, economic uncertainty, rising operating and construction costs, and the deepest changes in the workforce we have ever experienced – just to name a few - have created a perfect storm of volatility and uncertainty.

Strength Matters’ 16th Annual Financial Management Conference will bring together more than 200 CFOs and other senior financial management professionals from the nation’s leading nonprofit housing and community development organizations, along with investment, accounting, and other industry partners. While we’re facing serious challenges to organizational sustainability and to managing our portfolios, our approach is to learn from one another to tackle them head on. Our conversations will be solutions based, not an admiration of the challenges at hand! 

Register for Conference 

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All times are Central Time 
Information about CPE credits here. 

Tuesday, Oct. 24 
5:30-7:00PM  |
Welcome Reception at the Royal Sonesta Denmark Commons

Wednesday, Oct. 25
7:30-8:30AM |

8:30-11:45AM | Opening Plenary – Challenges to Organizational Sustainability
The current macroeconomic environment has been defined by rising interest rates, supply chain shortages, a banking crisis and the end to COVID moratoria. The impact on our organizations has been ongoing rent arrearages, increased operating costs, delays in executing closings, COVID funding ending, staffing shortages, stress and uncertainty. Where are we in the current business cycle? Are we at a point that either a major change to the business model is needed or, at the very least, are we facing a severe though temporary challenge?

Join us for what promises to be an insightful plenary offering important external perspectives on the critical issues impacting our businesses – what every CFO should know about the current market climate and its effect on key partners that impact our organizations.

11:45-12:00PM | Break
12:00-1:00PM | Lunch

1:15-2:45PM | Concurrent Sessions
Managing Through the Turmoil of the Property and Casualty Insurance Markets
Global warming is triggering unprecedented losses related to storm events. Post pandemic, insurance claims have gone through the roof (sometimes literally!) and premiums are increasing dramatically, adding significant pressure to operating budgets. We’ve brought together insurance experts to analyze the trends and offer practical tips on managing through the turmoil in the insurance markets.

Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on the Financial Management Space
It’s not just about ChatGPT. Vassilis Kontoglis of AAFCPAs will lead a session focused on the use of AI and bots to streamline work and drive efficiencies in the accounting space. Join the conversation about what CFOs need to know about the emergence of AI in the finance field.

REDI Evolution
Our field’s commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion remains very high. But where are we in implementation of REDI initiatives in our organizations? What has worked and what has not worked? We’ll explore how we are doing – and how we can do more - in implementing REDI as a lived value.

Financial Forecasting Tools
What forecasting tools do you need that are responsive to the current volatility in the market with the flexibility to dynamically model scenarios reflecting changes to your portfolios and your corporate operations? Financial modeling experts and practitioners will be joining us to discuss critical tools that can help you stay on top of changing macro-economic conditions.

2:45-3:00PM | Break

3:00-4:30PM | Concurrent Sessions
OPEX Management
Property expenses are under pressure due to inflation, lingering supply chain issues, lifting of eviction moratoriums, rising insurance premiums, etc.  Margin squeeze needs to be proactively managed. This session will focus on successful tools and approaches to get control of your operating expenses and to better manage them over the long haul.

The State of Lending
How are CDFIs handling the current economic climate? What’s been the impact of rising interest rates on CDFI loans? How are CDFI loan portfolios performing? What new resources are coming into play for CDFIs to help their nonprofit borrowers? Key CDFI lenders in our networks will reflect on the current market forces and address what CDFI borrowers need to understand to absorb changes in underwriting and risk tolerance.

The CEO and CFO Relationship
One of the most crucial relationships within any organization is that of the CEO and CFO. Visionary and tactician coming together to deliver impact in a sustainable manner. This panel will address how those relationships are formed, the healthy dynamic tension that exists in these partnerships, and the elements that define a successful relationship.

Downsizing Considerations
Are you resource constrained and having to make difficult decisions around what services or business lines you may have to eliminate or reduce to remain sustainable?  You are not alone. How do you make these difficult decisions thoughtfully and analytically? Our panel will share their experience.

Retention Compensation & Benefits
In this increasingly competitive world to find talent,  isn’t it just easier to retain and develop your existing staff? Learn the tools that other organizations are using to create corporate cultures where staff can thrive and develop.

Thursday, Oct. 26
7:30-9:00AM |

9:00-10:15AM |
 Plenary – Resetting and Right Sizing: Do You Need To Shrink To Grow and Prosper?
Collection issues are persisting, evictions are increasing with moratoria having been lifted, inflation and expense pressures (security, insurance, repair and maintenance) are all combining to squeeze property cash flow.  The implications corporately include loss of distributions from properties in the waterfall, to having to feed and support properties through cash advances. This session will cover how the CFO develops a strategic plan around solving for property and portfolio issues - from the existential (can we survive this?) to simple belt tightening. The panel will outline a practitioner's guide to developing a comprehensive portfolio and organizational approach and implementing strategy and solutions to effect change. Subtopics will include property disposition policies, workout approaches and engagement with third parties and operational tweaks and enhancements.

Join us for a learning session oriented towards implementable approaches for your organization.

10:15-10:30AM | Break

10:30-12:00PM  |
Concurrent Sessions
Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management
Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has surfaced as an important element to contain and manage risk, but it is not well understood as it could be and there is no single definition of what it is. This session will focus on the fundamentals of ERM and offer practical tips on how financial management leaders can create effective ERM frameworks, strategies, and implementation plans.

The Current State of the Permanent Mortgage Market
This session will focus on permanent debt financing from an agency perspective and other long term debt solutions for multifamily affordable and NOAH properties. The conversation will focus on the impact of rising interest rates and higher operating expenses on underwriting and loan sizing criteria.

Outsourcing Financial Expertise
How does an organization with limited resources expand its financial capacity through outsourcing financial expertise? Come engage with practitioners who have successfully outsourced needed support and those to whom the work has been outsourced – CFOs for hire, consulting support for capital raising, or just creating tools you need for your business. Practical tools for expanding your organization’s finance department’s capacity.

12:00-1:00PM | Lunch

1:15-2:45PM | Peer Coaching/Challenge Presentation  
The 90-minute peer coaching session at the conference will provide structured time to talk through the options, risks and resources of a variety of issues and topics challenging the industry right now. Topics to include:

  • Changing property management companies
  • Cutting services/costs
  • Debt restructuring/workouts 
  • Leveraging public partners/agencies for solutions
  • Repositioning existing portfolios to maximize resources, including insurance solutions and tackling collections/receivables

2:45-3:00PM | Break

3:00-4:30PM  |
Concurrent Sessions
Fundamentals of a Good Workout
A primer for every CFO who has or might have a debt or equity investor problem on the horizon. What are the must haves in approaching your partners for a resolution of the problem? How do you frame the hard asks and achieve a mutually beneficial solution?

Recruiting & Developing Talent
Our organizations are only as strong as our people. Recruiting and retaining staff has become increasingly difficult. This panel will address recruiting strategies – including a novel approach to bring in a young, diverse pool of candidates to affordable housing – as well as development of staff through innovative training programs. 

Panel Greenhouse Gas Emissions 
There is $27B in funding associated with the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund established by the EPA. How do you access the funding from the alliances that are being created to win and distribute funds? Getting ready to access your share? Those at the forefront of this effort will share their knowledge on this emerging funding source.

 LIHTC Accounting – The Problem Exit
Year 15 exit fundamentals and dealing with the problem investor exit – join experts who will share tips on how to address a problem exit along with a case study discussion of a real exit that was resolved through litigation. When does the CFO need help and whom do you turn to?

Dashboard Innovations
Dashboards get stale, how do you innovate and engage your board and management team around financial data? This session will provide tools and tips for engaging your audience with more informative and engaging presentations of your data and KPIS.

5:30-7:00PM | Special Pre-Dinner Event – Improv Cafe performance

Friday, Oct. 27
7:30-8:30AM |

8:45-10:15AM |
Concurrent Sessions
Accounting Experts Update – Pronouncements and Industry Issues
A perennial favorite panel for the CFOs, this panel will address accounting pronouncements that impact the nonprofit and affordable housing industries revisiting some adoption challenges. In addition, the panel will address “hot topics” the industry is facing from the viewpoint of our accounting firms.

Foundation Priorities
What are the changing priorities of the foundations who have supported our industry in the post-Covid world?

10:15-10:30AM | Break

10:30-11:30AM  |The Road Ahead

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