Marie has been working in affordable housing for more than 20 years. During her career, she worked as a community manager and director of compliance before working as a compliance consultant with A.J. Johnson Consulting Services for a little more than 13 years. Marie is now working with The Franklin Johnston Group as the vice president of compliance. With her five-person compliance team, she oversees 71 affordable communities with more than 11,000 units spanning five states and the District of Columbia.
How has the HCCP designation affected your career?
I believe the owners and investors we work with feel more confident in our ability to effectively manage their communities knowing we have our HCCP designations. The HCCP designation is considered the gold standard in the LIHTC program. Everyone in our compliance department has this designation, as do many of our regional portfolio managers and community managers. The HCCP designation also has given me the opportunity to meet, work with and continue to learn from so many other professionals in the industry.
How did you get into the LIHTC industry?
My story is one of who you know, not what you know. I just happened to know an owner/developer of LIHTC communities in the area. Wendell Franklin had been developing in the Hampton Roads area for quite a while and was about to open a new community that needed a manager. He asked if I’d be interested, and I laughed and told him I knew absolutely nothing about apartments. His response was “You’re a smart girl, you’ll figure it out.” He was right ― that’s what I did, and I haven’t regretted it once.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I’m fortunate to have a wonderful team of compliance specialists that work with me daily to oversee 71 communities and almost 11,000 units. Most days are filled with file reviews, training, working with
and scheduling reviews with State Agencies and Investors, and quite a bit of travel. I have to admit though, some days I think all I do is answer emails.
What helped with your success in the LIHTC industry?
I’ve been very lucky to work with the best of the best in this industry since the very beginning. Going back to my knowing nothing about the apartment industry, Wendell gave me some great advice. He told me to surround myself with people that knew more than I did so I could learn from them. That is exactly what I did. I found the best leasing agent, and I worked with a fantastic community manager from a sister property who took me under her wing and taught me everything I needed to know. Not long after, I had the opportunity to work with A.J. Johnson doing compliance and asset management reviews for clients all over the country. When I say I worked with the best of the best, I truly did, and I’m certain I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the talented people I surrounded myself with.
What’s your favorite hobby?
I’m not sure I have an actual hobby, but I love country music, football, reading and spending time with my family. Trying to find the right balance between work and play might be my hobby.