I always get excited when I learn about our members’ personal as well as professional successes. It’s a reminder to me of how driven, how committed and how ambitious our membership is to its core. When I hear about such accomplishments, I usually send the individuals a note-a small shout-out to say congratulations, good job or something along those lines.
But every so often I feel the need to share some of these stories with a larger audience, mostly because there is something hugely motivating or inspirational in the mix. And I think we can all agree that that’s important given the crazy in today’s world.
Most recently, NMHC Chairman Daryl Carter was asked to give the commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sloan School of Management. Given that MIT is one of the most respected academic institutions in the nation and Sloan a top business school, it would be an honor and a thrill for anyone anywhere to be asked to deliver such an address. But it was even more special for Daryl because MIT is his alma mater.
I’ve read a good number of commencement addresses over the years, but this one in particular sticks with me. Mostly because it stands in such stark contrast to so much of the garbage I hear every morning from the Donald Trumps of the world as I have my coffee and watch the news. But there are a few more reasons to love Daryl’s speech.
First, it offers a fairly detailed portrait of the man who is not only a well-respected member of the apartment community at large, but also a powerful advocate for affordable housing - an issue that currently has urgency around it both socially and politically. NMHC as an organization is blessed to have a person such as Daryl helping not only guide us but challenge us to expand and grow.
Second, there’s a certain beauty in his story, one that both starts with and returns to a shared dream in a blue collar Detroit neighborhood. And yet the growth experienced in coming full circle is impressive.
And third, there are some important lessons to be learned from Daryl’s journey to today that apply to more than just kids getting out of college. Even as experienced business leaders, we all can heed his advice to maintain the highest standards, learn from failure, do your homework and embrace diversity in all its forms.
So, please take a moment to read Daryl’s commencement address and reflect on his key messages. It touched me in a way that it inspired me to share it with you. And I hope it does the same to you.