As hinted at earlier, we got very lucky and had a candidate for the general manager position suggested to us within hours of Glenn resigning. We took a chance and interviewed her before opening up the position to other candidates in hopes of saving us the long hours, costs and frustrations. It was important to get someone up and running right away because we needed someone down at the office. Jan and Cindy in the meantime did an amazing job keeping things going. Especially Cindy who was just incredible. If any of the Board members deserve to be re-elected after all of this it is Cindy.
So who is the new GM? Her name is Maggie Merante and she comes to us from Aliso Viejo Community Association where she was the general manager for that 14,000 unit association. I checked her references myself and she got glowing reviews from those who worked with her, from one of her board members and from a former boss who also lives in Aliso Viejo. Maggie was with them for 1.5 years through her management company Merit before Merit lost the contract to another firm. That contract expired April 1st so you can see why we wanted to snap her up and had to keep things quiet while we checked her out.
Everyone says she is warm personable, dedicated, smart and many other great qualities. She came up with a few ideas for saving us money already and how to improve the HOA. She lives in a community that also has horses and trails so she is not unfamiliar with the challenges. Prior to Merit she worked in the private sector for Toshiba. She has an excellent grasp of business principles and communication with demanding individuals. (That will come in handy here).
I know there were folks wanting to know if the process would be open and how residents would participate. I looked at this and thought long and hard about this before realizing there really wasn't much way to do it. We needed to keep things quiet and move quickly if we were going to get her. Did we take the chance there is someone even better out there? Sure. But that's the risk you take on any hire. There may always be someone even better out there if you wait long enough. And frankly we don't have anyone on staff who is quite qualified to be the interim while we spent more time looking. If it helps, everyone is in agreement on how great she seems so if you don't trust me, you can trust one of the other board members you are in line with. I wish that there was a way we could have gotten more input, but I really don't know how without slowing things down and risking losing this opportunity. It's a matter of trusting that you elected the right group of people to get the job done right. We have a budget to prepare and adopt within a month. We have an election to plan and all the other usual problems and frankly none of us had the time to run the HOA and our own lives at the same time. I'll take my lumps with the rest of the board if this doesn't work out. (But then Jan and I are taking the easy way out and not running for re-election in June so the others will have to live with the consequences.)
I encourage you to be open and give Maggie a try. We're going to set up some sort of meet the new GM reception hopefully before the next Board meeting on the 16th (or some date that works). Once she is on board, contact her to set up a meeting if you have things you want to talk to her about. She is very friendly and receptive to ideas. The greatest compliments she got were for her people skills.
So there we are. I think she's going to be great. The other Board members think she will be great and we hope you do to. And if you don't, I'm sure we'll all hear about it. ; ) But here is a chance for (another) new beginning. Let's look at this as a chance to move forward again with new energy and ideas to address the issues that confront and sometimes divide us. Let's just give her a month or two before we have some new equestrian emergency to deal with though, please? LOL!