From Essential Operations to Building Community

Meet The Backbone of APAH: the Admin Team

APAH’s administration team manages day to day operations to keep the organization running smoothly, and their work is all encompassing. From ensuring staff have the necessary resources for work, to HR responsibilities, and executive support, it is clear that this team is ready to tackle anything that comes their way. The crucial work of the admin team can be seen across every corner of the organization, like with APAH’s hiring and on-boarding of 21 new staff since 2020.

Elizabeth, Kim, and TyReisha
at APAH’s 2021 Celebrate Home! benefit.

The team has faced major considerations over the past 24 months. For example, APAH abruptly closed its headquarters – like so many others in March of 2020 – to protect the safety of its staff, residents, and partners. Quickly, staff realized the closure wasn’t short-term. “In addition to safety, communication flow and connectivity among staff in a virtual environment were some of the administration team’s biggest considerations,” recalled Elizabeth Johnson, APAH’s Operations and Talent Acquisition Manager.

While APAH already had technology solutions in place to support virtual work, like Microsoft Teams and a virtual private network (VPN), these solutions were not widely
used by staff and required the admin team to lead the
charge to support a sustainable environment for all.

Daily Business Operations
In addition to managing new technology considerations for staff, the admin team had to rethink how to handle essential daily operations like processing mail and invoices and ordering supplies amid global supply chain delays. When APAH invested in gift cards to get emergency funds in the hands of residents quickly, the admin team was there to support with logistics and distribution. Elizabeth shared, “the biggest thing for the admin team is being flexible and innovative. For a while, there were only two people who were regularly working from the office – we were rotating shifts daily. We just made things work.”

Expanding Staff Capacity and Building Community
Since 2015, APAH’s portfolio has grown from 1,218 units to 2,062 with an additional 310 affordable homes opening later this year. Another nearly 1,000 units are under development in APAH’s pipeline. This exponential portfolio growth takes staff growth, too.

To keep up, APAH has ramped up hiring to expand staff capacity to further meet the region’s affordable housing needs, and the admin team plays a crucial role in the process. Since March 2020, 21 staff have been hired and on-boarded virtually, doubling the total number of APAH employees.

The admin team conducts all the HR aspects of our staff growth from coordinating interviews, to creating on-boarding schedules for new staff, and everything in between. Of course, it all requires cross-departmental collaboration. Elizabeth then works closely with all new hires to ensure their home office is set up with the necessary equipment and software – and that’s just the beginning.

Annette (left) and TyReisha (right)
alongside colleagues during APAH’s
virtual holiday party, 2020.

Thanks to the creativity of this team, APAH has successfully continued to build community among staff with virtual initiatives like periodic “plank breaks” for staff to rest their minds while building their abdominal muscles and a casual Wednesday morning coffee break, and even inviting all staff to participate in a walking challenge (staff collectively walked for 265 hours, the equivalent of 795 episodes of Seinfeld!). The team created virtual relationship opportunities for socializations encouraging staff to share recipe and book recommendations. Additionally the admin team shares a weekly update to support the internal flow of key information, such as vaccine availability and recapping organizational milestones like the real estate team’s recent closing of APAH’s Ballston Station/ CUMC project.

The Administration Team
The admin team is headed by Kim Painter, Director of Talent and Collaboration, who joined APAH as an Asset Manager in 2007 when the organization had just three employees! Elizabeth Johnson joined the team in 2019 as the Office Manager and was promoted to Operations and Talent Acquisition Manager in 2022. TyReisha Pugh, APAH’s longstanding Administrative Assistant, was promoted to Accounts Payable Specialist in 2022. Executive Assistant Annette Hennessey joined APAH at the beginning of 2020 and greatly supported APAH’s CEO transition throughout 2021. This well-rounded team is excited for what’s to come.

So, you may wonder what is on the horizon for APAH’s admin team. To begin, the team is growing and hopes to fill its open Administrative Assistant position in early 2022. The team is working to support a hybrid work environment for a continually evolving workforce. But most importantly, the team is prepared to maintain day to day operations so that APAH can continue to work to meet the region’s affordable housing needs.