BAAA Celebrates Black History Month: Benissa Hagins

Posted By: Tara Polchinski Black History Month,

BAAA celebrates Black History Month and the incredible leaders in our industry every day. We asked Benissa Hagins, Community Director with Highmark Residential, about her experience in the multifamily industry. Thank you Benissa for all that you do and for sharing your experience with us! We are so grateful for your involvement in BAAA.

1. Tell us who you are and how long you've been in the industry.

I, Benissa Hagins, am a Community Director with Highmark Residential and have been in the multifamily industry for 16 years.

2. Who would you consider your mentor?

I have been privied to work alongside so many influential leaders. One to mention is my current Regional Manager Amanda Flood. Her tenacity in the multifamily industry and ability to prepare her team for the next level is infectious.

3. What is one piece of advice you would give someone new to the industry?

For someone new in the industry, I always encourage them to get involved with the Bay Area Apartment Association. This group of ambassadors has been essential in providing resources to further my career. In addition, the Bay Area Apartment Association provides the education that is needed to be successful. This thought still stands to be true “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” -Malcolm X

4. How has being a black woman shaped your experience in multifamily?

As a young Black Woman starting in the multifamily industry, I did face opposition from some of the clients that I served. As an Assistant Manager in the rural area of Plant City it was important for me to focus on serving the client instead of the colorism that was presented. I used the challenges as a bridge to further my knowledge and prove my ability to make a difference in the assets that I managed. Thankfully, with the guidance of my leadership, peers, and training through the BAAA I am now more confident and embrace being a part of a diversified group and industry.  

5. In your opinion, what is one way we could make the industry more equitable?

The multifamily industry is moving in the right direction by opening the forum for voices to be heard through the D.E.I. initiatives.


Bonus, just for fun!

6. What is your must-have item for your hurricane party?

A hurricane party is complete when you have your strobe light Bluetooth speaker. The beat of the music and illuminating lights will turn any dark space into a party vibe.