Who are our Homeowner Association Board members? What brought them to Continental? Why do they love it and what do they want to see for our community in the future? In this new feature, we explore these topics and more with the leaders of our HOA. First up: Board Vice President Kathy Mitchell
Tell us a little about your background?
I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in Mexico City, Mexico until my family moved to the U.S. in the late 1960s. To this day, I cherish fond memories of my life in Latin America. My husband, Mike, and I have been married for 30 years and have a daughter who lives in San Diego. Although we have no grandchildren, Mike and I are very fond of our “grand-dogger,” Po. I am gratefully retired and have enjoyed several careers ending as an Administrator for the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University.
When did you come to Continental?
Mike and I moved to Flagstaff in Spring of 2002. Although we had never wanted to live in an HOA, the home we fell in love with through an online search happened to be in the Continental Country Club. We have since grown to appreciate what an HOA can offer.
What do you love about Continental?
Neither Mike nor I golf or take advantage of many of the amenities but what we have always loved about Continental are the beautiful surroundings and our neighbors, some of whom have become close friends. Even the golf courses, which we do not use, provide a lovely ‘green belt’ that we appreciate daily. It’s a really nice place to live and we feel safe here.
When did you run for the Board of HOA and why?
I ran for the Board in late 2019 because there were several active issues that were of great interest to me – specifically the management of Lake Elaine and short-term rentals. Through many decades in the professional workforce, I have developed analytical and organizational skills that I felt might be useful to the board and our community.
What is the most important function of the board in your view?
I think the most important function of the board is to ensure that the Country Club runs as smoothly as possible for the benefit of our members and our employees. That function requires general business and operations expertise and knowledge that is specific to managing a golf club. It requires a willingness to share our experience with others and to learn from others. One of the biggest surprises in my first year on the board was the vast array of responsibilities and challenges that arise. Being a member of this board takes a lot of dedication and hard work! I am grateful for the colleagues with whom I serve on this board. We are all very different individuals with a remarkable balance of strengths and experience. Despite our differences, we are bound by respect for each other and a genuine desire to see our Association thrive.
Why was filing for Chapter 11 necessary?
For many years it was clear to my husband and I that the association was struggling with basic maintenance of an older facility, along with other larger issues like Lake Elaine. We have friends in other HOAs who pay monthly assessments that are close to the annual assessment we pay in Continental and we wondered why our assessments were so low. When I joined the board, I developed a heightened awareness of the fiscal challenges our association faced and an understanding that resolving these challenges would not be a ‘simple task’. The last quarter of 2020 really pushed our backs against the wall, and it became clear to all of us that Chapter 11 was the best option to assist us in resolving some of the challenges and, most importantly, develop the most thoughtful way forward for the association.
What do you see as the future for Continental?
What I, as a homeowner, would like to see for Continental is a Country Club that is respected, supported, and enjoyed by its members. Whether we golf, swim, enjoy meals at the Oakmont, or take daily walks through our neighborhood, Mike and I want us and our neighbors to feel a continued sense of belonging and appreciation for where we get to live.
As a board member, I want to make sure that our future reflects exactly what our members want. To that end, I feel a shared responsibility with my colleagues on the board to make sure we provide our members with facts and the information they will need to make informed decisions as we move through the reorganization process.