Meet Your AANC Board of Directors - Secretary, Maria Barker

AANC News,

Meet Your Secretary: Maria Barker
Chief Operating Officer, Phillips Management Group

Maria Barker is AANC's current Secretary, and has been in the industry for 36 years. During that time, Maria has been involved with AANC, Piedmont Triad Apartment Association (PTAA), and other local associations. In addition to serving as AANC Secretary, Maria is a past Atlanta Apartment Association volunteer, past Greater Charlotte Apartment Association Volunteer, past PTAA Board Member and PTAA Past President (3-year term). Get to know Maria below!

What does volunteer leader mean to you? 

It means to serve and give back to an industry that has been wonderful to me and to set an example as a mentor (time, money, energy, experience, knowledge, example, etc) for industry professionals.   

What is your proudest work/life moment? 

I've been blessed in numerous ways, and by numerous people throughout my career, and I'm thankful for opportunities where I've been able to bless others. As a recipient of many accolades/awards, it is hard to name just one, but each has provided precious memories, and a challenge to continue to give back to this industry. People who have shared moments where I've helped them or encouraged them in some way are both humbling and encouraging, and make me proud to be a part of something bigger than myself.

I've been married to the love of my life for 29 years and we have 2 incredible children. They each provide me (often) with moments and instances that are awe-inspiring and uplifting for this proud wife and mother. 

What would you say is your biggest challenge?

Communication as a whole. Great communication solves a lot of issues before they beome problems and actively involves all key-players. I strive to be a good communicator (still working on this) and people who don't communicate well are both a challenge and a struggle.

What advice do you have for others in the industry who are looking to serve in a leadership role?

Do it! Your unique set of skills and life experiences will be valuable contributions!

Share something unique about your local market. 

I started my career in the Piedmont Triad area, then moved out of town/state for 25 years. I've come full-circle back to my roots, and I couldn't be happier to be home! The PTAA is a very special association, made up of some of the most impressive industry professionals that I've ever had the privilege to work with. Having worked with many, there is something very unique and precious about this association, and it has everything to do with the people. 

If your entire life was a movie, what title would you give it?

Positive Impact!

Life is a series of struggles, ups and downs, highs and lows... but we can make it better with positive intentions and actions. Making a positive difference has always been my desire within relationships and companies. Having been labeled a "Change Agent" and "Solutions Producer" by colleagues, my goal is to always look up, reach higher and make a positive difference in the world and the people I come into contact with. Circumstances may not always be easy, and the people we interact with may not always be easy, but we can make a positive difference if we stay the course and focus on the best possible outcomes. 

I'm thankful to be part of associations that are committed to providing great things for their constituents and will continue to look for opportunities that will support and sustain our industry.