Sharon Wilson Géno Takes Helm at NMHC
The organization's new leader brings more than three decades of policy and advocacy experience to the role.
Along with its customary panel discussions on industry issues and other events, the National Multifamily Housing Council marked a milestone last week at its annual meeting in Las Vegas. Sharon Wilson Géno formally stepped into the role of the organization’s president, five months after being named to the position. As she succeeds Doug Bibby, NMHC’s longtime leader, Wilson Géno takes on a broad spectrum of challenging issues.
A history of advocacy
In her new role, Wilson Géno intends to focus more on housing policy, with a particular emphasis on advocating for the construction of and access to more market rate and affordable housing, both of which are in historically short supply. At the forefront of this struggle are numerous legislative, regulatory and economic hurdles, such as a lack of congressionally mandated legislation and a volatile financing and investment landscape for new developments.
As president-elect, Wilson Géno had been in contact with the White House and numerous industry leaders informing housing affordability and accessibility policy, forming an action item for the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. Wilson Géno expressed significant concerns about the plan when it was released in late January, citing its burdensome regulations and its failure to address the supply crisis.
Nevertheless, NMHC plans to contribute to the initiative by creating a page on its website that works with the organization’s 2,000 members in identifying business practices that assist renters with building credit and accessing resources if they are struggling financially. In prepared remarks, Ken Valach, CEO of Trammell Crow and the organization’s 2022-2024 chair, highlighted the value of Wilson Géno’s expertise, noting that she has a deep background in housing policy, experience developing and operating apartments and proven organizational management experience.
Wilson Géno brings over three decades of housing access advocacy and policy consulting experience to the organization. Prior to joining NMHC, Wilson Géno served as executive vice president & COO at Volunteers of America National Services, where she oversaw the operation of 240 mixed-income and mixed-use communities totaling 13,000 units across 40 states. Additionally, Wilson Géno was a partner in numerous D.C.-area law firms, where she advised on affordable housing policy and community development.
Doug Bibby’s next act
Following the move, Bibby will join the national board of Shelters to Shutters, a nonprofit that provides supportive housing and financial services for the homeless. Bibby had twice delayed his planned 2021 departure due to sector-wide challenges, notably the pandemic and accompanying economic shutdown.
Bibby led NMHC for more than two decades, playing an instrumental role in navigating and mitigating the effects of both the Great Recession and pandemic, as well as forming the organization’s commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2020, Bibby earned Multi-Housing News’ first ever lifetime achievement award.
Last month Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland paid tribute to Bibby’s 30 years of service, which he said has “left a productive, positive and enduring mark on the apartment industry.” Van Hollen pointed to Bibby’s leadership during the pandemic, his establishment of NMHC’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and his commitment to creating a pipeline for talent, as well as other accomplishments. “His legacy will be felt for generations to come,” Van Hollen concluded.