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True Blue Volunteers

Many thanks to Debbie Sulzer, our 2012 Go-Getter of the Year, and Kevin Fenn, HAA’s newest Honorary Life Member, for their dedication to helping the association grow.

Debbie Sulzer, Francis Property Management, has been a champion for HAA, leading her entire team to recruit new members. She is known for her positive attitude and dedication to the association, and she has recruited more than 30 new members so far. Here, she shares what motivates her and why the association is important:

Why is recruiting new members important? When you believe in something it’s easy to recruit. We have

the most wonderful organization created by very intelligent and smart industry leaders. When you have leaders who are pulling for our industry and have a basis that is so strong, it creates a charge for you to make sure you help it stay strong and grow. My entire team feels the empowerment that HAA counts on their support and helps to find quality new mem- bers offering great services to our industry.

What do you say to prospective new members to help

them understand how joining HAA can help them grow? Recruiting is easy when you share the good stories about how

the association not only strengthens your business but provides a charitable outlay, a professional networking and learning envi- ronment and amazing friendships. As we continue to strengthen the mentoring portion for the new members, we add a smooth transition into a beautiful, new, productive relationship. The worst thing that happens is when a new member doesn’t renew. Letting them know that mentors are there and willing to help their business grow, we also do take the time to invite them to events, and it seems to help make them feel included.

What advice do you give an eager new Go-Getter? Share your passion! HAA has made a tremendous difference

in the success of so many companies and the careers of so many individuals that I can’t help but be passionate about sharing the best with them. When the focus is on how they can make a difference by being involved and that the group is mostly volunteer, it piques their interest. From that point I talk about what it can and will do for their company by reaching out and building relationships. … You have to realize that being a part of a successful group will help them be more suc- cessful – what’s in it for them.

How has recruiting helped you in your work? Recruiting allows me to build relationships that I can depend

on for quality services and products. … I thoroughly enjoy doing work with good, honest and dependable companies – companies that care and give back to the community. That’s absolutely what our association is all about.


Kevin Fenn, Pavecon, has earned a place among HAA’s Honorary Life Members by recruiting more than 100 new members for the association. A Certified Apartment Supplier and tireless volunteer, he has served in many roles in the association, from Expo chair and Product Service Council officer to Ambassador and Go-Getter. Here, we

compile some of his thoughts from previous interviews: You joined the Go-Getters in 1999 while working as an

on-site manager. What inspired you to recruit for HAA? Terri Clifton and Pat Johnson (back in our Pinnacle days)

were the ones that encouraged me to come to a membership meeting at City Streets. Susan Hinkley and Lisa Butler made me feel right at home. I was hooked instantly and became a recruiting machine. The team challenges between the man- agement companies were a lot more intense back then. New prospective members usually came to several meetings and began to feel like part of the family before they joined. I think the faster pace of today and the Internet have taken away some of the one-on-one time.

What advice can you give newer suppliers looking to

make their way in the industry and HAA? Get out there and attend events and say hello every chance

you get. I have said it many times before and still believe strongly in this: People do business with friends and people they like. Building those relationships will only make you a bet- ter friend, supplier and person overall. Don’t be on a push to sell your product or service every time. Relax, buy someone a drink, have fun, get to know them as they get to know you. I promise the business will follow. There is no need to be shy with this group. Pick an event

and show up. … Start small. Take a nibble, like becoming an Ambassador. Once you start, you will see how easy it is and become more comfortable. Before you know it, you are an old hand. When you have a day that you’re slightly off step, you will fall back into the group, and someone will put you in the right direction before long. Whether it’s a bad job experience, bad customer experience or just someone driving by and winging you in traffic or something, it tends to go away once you’re with the group.

What do you think makes great customer service? Follow-up is paramount and always item No. 1 with me.

The customer may not always like the answer, but the quicker everyone knows the answer, the quicker solutions can be found or work can begin. Treat people like you want to be treated and you can never go wrong.

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