- Published: April 4, 2019
It is with great enthusiasm that I applied to the role of Village manager and I’m honor to be considered for the role. I have a special relationship with the village; I graduated from Antioch College, I was a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT, met my wife (blessed with two children) and have made lifelong friends, all because of the time I spent living and learning in Yellow Springs.
Likely many Antiochians, I attended Antioch to acquire the training to win a victory for humanity. Much of my professional and personal endeavors have been to improve the quality of life for the various communities I have served.
I was born in El Salvador (displaced by civil war) and raised in Washington DC. I’m a graduate of DC Public Schools and hold a MBA from Virginia Tech University and a bachelor’s of science in Biomedical Sciences from Antioch College. I have served as the President of a limited-equity coop that operates as a non-profit with the purpose of retaining affordable housing in the District. I also serve as a board member for the DC Federal Credit Union and Fiesta DC (sponsor of the largest Latino Festival in the DC Metro area).
Question 1: Describe your experiences related to planning, budgeting and managing day-to-day operations of a government agency or as an executive in the private sector.
Throughout my career, I have managed finances, funding, contracts, assets, partnerships, and programs at Community Preservation and Development Corporation, Collaborative Solutions for Communities, Executive Office of the Mayor, and more. Additionally, I am a board member for a $62M credit union.
I’m a certified project manager with 10+ years in complex financial, operations, and non-profit management. Most recently I served as the managing director for Community Impact Strategies(CIS) for Community Preservation and Development Corporation, where I provided a combination of administrative and leadership support to a Department that serves over 8,000 residents across 26 affordable housing properties. Previously, I served as deputy director at Collaborative Solutions for Communities, an organization providing family reunification and social services, where I had oversight of strategic initiatives, operations and business development. I’ve also served as deputy director at the Executive Office of Mayor, Office on Latino Affairs, where I provided oversight over the four core functions of OLA: strategic management of public and private partnerships, expertise on policy, community relations, civic engagement and overall management of $10-million grant portfolio, with investments in eleven health and human service areas.
Question 2: Give examples of how you have fostered inclusion and acceptance and embraced diversity in your current and previous positions.
When I think and talk about diversity, it is more than color, gender, religion and sexual orientation, it includes language, political views, approach to the work, income class and more. I work on including people who haven’t been included in the past.
I attribute much of my professional success to my ability to foster inclusion, acceptance and develop a team that can work together, trust each other, understand and represent the diverse community that we seek to serve. The work starts within ourselves and addressing our own biases. I also seek to learn and understand the views and motivators of the individuals I work with.
I’ve also worked to address micro-aggressions in the workplace. After hearing a sermon on the forgiving heart, I sought to engage with others in the workplace on things that may seem “small” and not worth talking about it. While individually these things are not much, together they make people feel less significant as a human being and they create a hostile environment, which leads to poor performance.
In hiring, I’ve expanded the candidate pool beyond traditional website job postings to reach out to residents and stakeholders to refer candidates with the aptitude and/or attitude for the work.
Question 3: How do you view the role of policing in a community and what ideas or practices would you bring to the running of the police department?
I believe the role of policing in a community should be to create a safe social environment through collaboration with residents to proactively identify and mitigate risks and create policing priorities in partnership with the residents. As Village manager, I see my role with the police chief as a partnership and we’ll work collaboratively to provide the best service to residents that we can. This work starts with open, three-way communication with residents, the governing bodies (council, village administration, committees) and our colleagues (staff and police officers).
Question 4: What are your leadership and management styles?
Over the years I’ve focused my development as a motivation and situation leader to create a work environment that is strength based, solution-focused and inspires and motivate others.
I’ve worked on acquiring and building skills in mentoring and coaching employees that lead to creating a coaching organization, which leads to high performance.
With regards to management style, I focus on managing the work, not the people. Organizations and employees excel in an environment with clear expectations, performance standards and performance feedback and evaluation.
Question 5: Discuss your experiences in retaining, growing or enhancing business.
In addition to my MBA training from Virginia Tech, my early business experience was with my mother who often dragged me along for door-to-door sales for Avon, Amway and others. I’ve helped develop her retail business of 16 years that includes a multi-million dollar money services (remittance) business.
During my time at the Mayor’s Office, and as a grant manager, I managed investments of small business capacity building grants to help businesses improve their business practices and invest in staff development, products and services to meet market demands. Among my greatest impact was helping to reposition Latino businesses to meet the market demand of a changing demographic (gentrifying neighborhoods) and competition from big box retailers moving into their geographic space.
As a business leader, I’ve led planning and execution of strategic initiatives, business intelligence, operational enhancements and innovative programming with the purpose of expanding customer base, diversifying into new markets and increasing revenue. These initiatives have included: identified and presented non-traditional and sustainable investment opportunities; drafted proposals, contracts, and grants; negotiated terms and oversaw execution; led major development initiatives for healthcare, education, housing, and arts; and drove operational excellence across multiple functions (finance, operations, HR, technology); and built strong and trusting relationships with government agencies, public/private partners, non-profit organization, banks and community leaders to achieve mutual goals.
Question 6: How will you engage with the public to keep citizens informed and to get feedback on your plans and activities?
I will make sure the administration and staff have all the means (skills and technology) to engage in two-way communication with residents in their preferred method, be it via email, in-person, phone, social, digital and print media. I want residents to have a direct link to me and others within the Village administration that are responsible for providing services.
Among my first acts as Village manager would be engage with residents, representatives, business and staff, to learn what is in place, what is working, what is not working, what we should do more of and what we should stop doing. Citizens should and will have the opportunity to provide input on relevant plans and activities that are under my purview as the Village manager. As Village manager, I will work for the residents and Council.