MY NAME IS ______________.

At one time or another, most of us have attended those “social mixers” where you try to use a giant black Sharpie to legibly write your name on a white sticker that then attaches haphazardly to your clothes. The label is supposed to serve as an icebreaker inviting those around you to stop for a moment and say hello.

Well, today, I'm sporting that sticker. Hello, my name is Shabnam Mogharabi, and I am the new editor of Apartment Finance Today.

Some of you have no doubt already seen my photo in AFT's e-newsletter. Others of you, I've chatted with at industry events and conferences. But for those of you who I have not yet had the chance to meet, I'm excited to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about the strategic vision we are putting in place here at the magazine.

For nearly six years, I have covered the real estate and residential housing markets, and for the past two years, I have been the editor of AFT's sister publication, Multifamily Executive. Now, I'll be working to help you and your companies navigate the complicated, continuously shifting dealmaking and financing landscape.

Over the next six months, you'll start to see some changes in the magazine, beginning with the issue you hold in your hand. We'll be giving the magazine a facelift to help enhance the aesthetics of the content and allow for data-rich tables and infographics to help you better consume the information we offer. In addition, we are going to expand the book to include more external voices from industry experts. And starting immediately, we have increased our production of exclusive Web-first news stories, available online at

Why all the change? Because in tough times, everyone has to be willing to evolve, step up, and assume additional responsibilities to help their companies, products, and services survive and thrive.

The reality is that even in the multifamily sector, roles are changing. Consider the novel new catchphrase that was batted around at a recent invitation- only gathering of industry heavyweights: In the current economic environment, “real estate professionals are going to become bankers, and bankers are going to become real estate professionals.” The C-level professionals discussing this cross-party pollination were adamant that their job descriptions—and the multifamily real estate business— would never be the same again.

Or how about some of the industry's other emerging trends? Large property managers and third-party operators are beginning to act as consultants to institutional owners, helping them understand the fundamentals at their assets. Governmentsponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are active owners of real estate with a more pivotal and relevant role than they have played in recent years. And within many multifamily organizations, the dearth of development has resulted in construction professionals donning new hats and taking on responsibilities in the realms of operations, technology, marketing, and human resources.

Yes, times are tough. But I firmly believe that the willingness to change and evolve will be the key to our collective survival of this economic recession.

Do you disagree? If so, I'd like to hear from you. Send me an e-mail, give me a call, or just track me down at the next industry event. After all, now that you know my name, I won't bother with blurry markers and sticky white labels—I will simply focus on getting the conversation and dialogue going.