Speaker Bios

Monica Blankenship

SPHR, VP of Human Resources

Monica has directed the Human Resources function within the Milestone organization for twenty years, including with its predecessor companies, Drever Partners/Concierge Management, Walden Residential Properties and WMC Management. Ms. Blankenship is responsible for human resources, payroll, risk management and office services for over 1300 employees in 15 states. Milestone Management was recently purchased by Starwood Capital Group in April 2017. Prior to joining Milestone, Monica spent eight years in Human Resources for Hines Interests, which an international commercial real estate developer and property management. She also has a BBA in Finance from the University of Houston and she holds national certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. 

Kenny Block

Director of Facilities Management

Kenny is no stranger to the multifamily industry where he began his career as a Maintenance technician more than 28 years ago. He has a strong background in operations and is passionate about service and its possibilities. Kenny provides quality leadership that will help, develop and grow team members. He is commitment to delivering outstanding customer service.

Kenny Recently joined Cottonwood Residential. Prior to that, he worked for CF Lane, Landmark Apartment Trust, Archstone and other recognized multifamily operators. Over his twenty-year tenure with the organization, he held the rolls of Senior Regional Service Manager and Director of Service Training where he helped develop policy and best practices.

Nicolle Block


Nicolle has been in our industry for 18 years, the last 9 spent as a Regional Manager. She is currently a Regional Manager for AMLI Residential in DFW.  She earned her Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Arlington. She is very passionate about her people and about volunteering for the Apartment Association! In 2017, she was involved locally with AATC and AAGD sitting on the Tradeshow, Government Affairs, and Nominating Committees.  She currently sits on The Board of Directors for AATC. For TAA, she sits on the Board of Directors, the Education Committee and the Legislative Committee. She holds her CAMT and CAPS designation with NAA and sits on the NAA Next Gen committee for 2016-2017.

Jerry L. Carlton


Jerry has represented property owners and managers for over 30 years in all aspects of their business. These include evictions, fair housing claims, tenant disputes, lawsuits and bankruptcies, vendor and contractor agreements, disputes and lawsuits. He also represents clients in a wide range of employment law issues, including employment agreements, handbooks, hiring and firing issues, discrimination, wage and hour law and overtime claims. He is with Glast, Phillips & Murray, P.C., a 60 attorney Dallas and Houston law firm, and is licensed to practice in all Texas state and federal courts.

Brenda Carpenter


Started in the business as a leasing consultant in 1989 working for American Residential Communities in North Dallas. Brenda worked with AMLI Residential for over 14 years holding various positions from – Assistant Manager, Community Manager, Area Manager, Area Trainer, Regional Manager and Regional Vice President overseeing the Texas region. Brenda then joined Superior Floors as Executive Vice President. Recently, Brenda accepted a position as Executive Vice President of Operations for McMahan Flooring. Brenda has spent much of her career helping teams meet company initiatives, growing many leaders that guide our industry.

Rick Ellis


Rick Ellis, CAM, CPM has been intimately involved in the apartment business for over 35 years. Starting as an onsite assistant manager and leasing consultant, Rick directed a fast-growing apartment portfolio from two properties in the Dallas area to over 6000 units in four states. In 1984, he founded ELLIS Consulting Group in Irving, Texas. Now the name ELLIS has become synonymous with the finest market consulting, training, and contract leasing to the multi-family industry. Rick also founded the largest apartment mystery shopping company in the United States. Rick lives in Coppell, TX, with wife, Diane, and their Cavalier Spaniels, Marley & Bree. The Ellis family enjoys working out, racquetball, sporting events, music, and hanging out at Starbucks. Life is good. They feel blessed!

Susan Goff

Director of Brand Management

Susan is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing, branding, and reputation management initiatives on a diverse portfolio comprised of more than 60,000 units in highly competitive markets. Her approach to develop digitally infused, effective campaign strategies and tactics are intensive on relationship and customer experience branding methods, with an emphasis on delivering superior levels of service to both internal and external customers. Susan has successfully infused new media throughout the portfolio, which includes both stabilized and lease-up assets, capitalizing on digital, social, and content marketing. She is a skilled composer and presenter of market data and research, marketing and operations strategies, and SWOT analyses on existing assets and proposals for potential acquisitions, delivered to executives and owners.

Susan is a Tarrant County Apartment Association Lyceum graduate, has created and developed curricula and educational programs, and assisted in the planning and execution of various marketing and operations education conferences. Susan is member of NAAEI’s faculty, having successfully completed the Advanced Instructor program, and is a noted speaker on leasing and marketing strategies, emerging trends, social media marketing, reputation management, digital marketing, and more.

Matthew Haines


Was born in Iowa and moved to Dallas area in 1989 when he received a job offer. Over the years, he has earned many accolades from corporate jobs including several national and global awards from various technology based companies. He currently is the General Manager at The Tangent Group which was named The Bob Ross “independent Rental Owner of the Year” by TAA. Matthew serves on the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas’ Board of Directors. Also serves on many other Board of Directors and Independent Rental Owner Councils with TAA, NAA and the City Council for Shady Shores.

Valencia Hooper


Valencia Hooper, LMSW, is a licensed Master of Social Work for the State of Texas. She has worked as a professional social worker in Nebraska and Texas since 1979. Currently she works for the Dallas Police Department in the Crises Intervention division as a geriatric social worker. In addition to her work for DPD she is an adjunct professor in Social Work at Eastfield College. She is the past chair of National Alliance on Mental Illness in Dallas, the Hoarding task force of greater Dallas and adult protective services community board on the local and state levels.

Anita Hord

Pace Realty

Anita began her multifamily real estate career with Pace Realty in 1986 while attending the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.  She held multiple on-site positions prior to being promoted to the Corporate office as a Regional Property Manager in 1994, and was appointed Vice President in 2006.  Today, she is the Senior Vice President and oversees the company’s Affordable Housing Compliance Department, specializing in LIHTC properties.  Additionally, she is responsible for Pace’s internal Training and Educational programs through Pace University, which includes a robust Mentoring program.

Anita is a recipient of several awards from the Association, including the prestigious Lone Star Award for Supervisor of the Year and was the AATC 2014 Member of the Year.  She holds the NCP designation from the Housing Credit College and is a graduate of AATC and AAGD’s Leadership Lyceum programs.  Customer service is a passion of Anita’s and she is looking forward to sharing the pickle philosophy with you.

Kourtney Miller

Sales Manager, Century A/C Supply

Kourtney started her career in the warehouse of an air conditioning contractor 16 years ago and then worked her way up to eventually run the business. After realizing the opportunity for personal growth and challenge was on the distributor side of the industry she switched. Having the clear picture of all aspects of the business has helped her understand the challenges of customers and business. She has covered it all from call centers, marketing, managing facilities, warehouses, and outside sales. Kourtney currently leads the team of 8 and faces many aspects of the air conditioning industry daily. Meeting new people and finding ways to help them with their situations and helping solve problems based on her experience is most satisfying. 

Ashley Nix

Regional Training Director

Ashley Nix is a Regional Training Director at Monogram Residential Trust. Ashley has over 19 years of experience in the multi-family industry. She began her career as a successful Leasing Professional and quickly moved to Assistant Manager and then Community Director. A few years ago, she followed her passion for developing and training others, joining the Monogram Training Department. Her favorite part of her job is developing others and getting to work alongside some of the best people in the industry.  

Jennifer Owen


Jennifer Owen, Attorney, a graduate of Washington University School of Law, has been practicing law since 1986 and has been active in The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas and the Legal Services Program.  Ms. Owen is a frequent speaker at legal seminars and is an author of the Briefcase column in Rooflines.  In addition to business litigation, Ms. Owen concentrates her practice in landlord/tenant and employment law.  She has represented property owners and managers in eviction suits, security deposit claims, fair housing matters, property damage, personal injury and deceptive trade claims, construction warranty claims and employment matters.  

Vicki Sharp


After serving an initial enlistment in the US Army, Vicki began her 40 + year career in Property Management.  From Leasing Agent, to Community Manager, to Regional Manager to Vice President, Vicki has truly “walked the walk” of property management. Vicki has worked for several property management companies, both privately held and REIT portfolios.  Because of her history as an Army Veteran, she was recruited, and worked for 10 years in the Privatized Military Housing niche of the industry. Vicki has been the on-site manager on communities from 100 units to 1200 units.  She has also worked with her teams to manage multi-site portfolios nationwide to include a 10,000 unit portfolio in Hawaii.

As the National Director of Training for Balfour Beatty Communities, Vicki was responsible to create and present all training activities for housing at 47 military installations across the United States. Because she has worked “on the front lines” of the industry, she relates well to her audiences, sharing real life stories, and offering great solutions based on actual experiences in our business.

Sarah Turner


Sarah brings fun energy and knowledge that she has learned throughout her years in the industry. Sarah serves as a Regional Manager with Olympus Property. Over the years Sarah has held key positions from leasing consultant to National Marketing Director, to Regional Manager with reputable companies in our industry. Sarah has served with the Apartment Association of Tarrant County in many capacities and was once the AATC Director of Education, as well as an active member and volunteer for AAGD and TAA for many years.  Sarah’s number one priority is to support, motivate and educate those in our industry and enable them to reach their full potential.

Jann Villanueva

CAS, Lyceum Graduate

Jann began her career in the Apartment Industry in 1998, working as a leasing consultant with Barnes Real Estate Services. Jann elevated through several positions and was an Apartment Manager with Capstone Real Estate Services when she decided to leave property management in 2006.

Jann went to work for Apartment Home Living before joining The Liberty Group in 2009. Jann has experienced great success with the Liberty Group and currently serves as the Dallas Branch Manager. Jann is actively involved in the AAGD/AATC, volunteers on several committees and is an AAGD Mentor. Jann’s passion for education and training fuels her dedication to the Multi-Family industry.

Wendy Rae Walker


Wendy is a dynamic speaker and published author with over 25 years of experience in the Multi-family Industry. She is also a cast member of the hit Style Network Show, Big Rich Texas! She began her career as a part-time leasing consultant in 1986. After a short time she bypassed the assistant manager position and was promoted to Property Manager. She was then promoted to Senior Property Manager and then Regional Manager before finally landing in the Director of Training role. After a wonderful career Wendy Rae left to form the Strategic Solution, a training and property support company. After 7 years, she went out on her own to concentrate her time on speaking and training.

Sue Weston


Sue brings 30 years’ experience as Vice president of Operations, Director of Human Resources and Vice President of Learning and Development. She also served as the Director of Education for NAA and earned the prestigious ACE award for education excellence in 2009. Over the last five years she has presented scores of programs at associations and companies across the nation. Her operational and strategic experience brings value for both asset performance and talent development. She also AAGD’s newest Legend of Education for 2014.

Don Willard


Don has been in the industry since 1979. He is a National Apartment Association Education Institute Certified Advanced Instructor, speaker and technical trainer with over 25 years of hands-on multi-housing maintenance experience and over 25 years of professional teaching in the multi-housing industry.

Certified CAMT by the National Apartment Association and Certified by the National Association of Homebuilders in Building, Apartment and Home Maintenance. Don is a certified teacher and Proctor for Ferris State University and ESCO Institute in EPA Section 608 and R-410a certification programs. Don has served on the NAA task force as subject matter expert and program developer for the CAMT, CAM, CAPS and Maintenance for Managers programs. Don has been recognized by AAGD, TAA & NAA for his outstanding industry experience.