Building relationships is a Keystone core value, one you can recognize best when you see it in action. As General Manager of The Bluffs HOA in Newport Beach, Antonia Vizcarra exemplifies this to a tee by maintaining a high level of professionalism, showing respect to everyone she meets, and treating the community she manages as her own.
Her innate ability to connect with others and her authentic approach made it surprising only to Antonia that she was the recipient of the 2021 Keystone Building Relationships Core Value Award as well as a nominee for the 2021 CAI-OCEC award for Onsite Community Manager of the Year. To everyone else, it simply echoed their sentiments regarding her achievements and the je ne sais quoi when in her element.
Award-winning customer service from the beginning
Antonia’s previous banking experience offered something that’s helped her excel in her current community management role. Her supervisor at the time said, “Customers can go to any bank, but it’s the service we provide that makes us stand out.” And the message stuck. Antonia believes the same goes for property management. Clients can go anywhere; but it’s the people that make a difference.
Her sister, also in the industry, recommended a part-time position for Antonia as she transitioned back into the workforce after a few years as a stay-at-home mom. This part-time, on-site property management position served as the catalyst that led Antonia to quickly begin exploring the day-to-day activities of different departments and gradually grow her career through genuine curiosity.
Unafraid to ask the hard questions to find solutions
Learning to manage various problems and personalities comes with its own set of challenges. Antonia confesses that working in property management requires developing a thick skin. She believes in asking hard questions, going beyond surface-level reactions, and getting to the root of the problem in order to find a solution for her clients. Since communication is paramount in building relationships, Antonia understands it takes confidence to spearhead tough conversations, while also understanding when it’s time to listen.
Additionally, Antonia’s superior oversight and diligence means she easily identifies when work and procedures are not properly performed. Her research skills then provide her board members with the insight they need to make informed decisions on how to handle complicated issues. Driven both by a desire to solve problems and to be of service, Antonia also demonstrates humility when asked tough questions. She doesn’t mind admitting when she doesn’t have an immediate answer to a problem, but instead will say, “Let me research it and get back to you.” She shares, “If you get in the habit of giving business partners the correct answers versus just giving them an off-the-cuff answer, it works out in the long run. It builds trust within the relationship.”
Building relationships on a large scale
There are certain skills necessary to manage a large-scale, onsite association.
Being the face of the community management team day in and day out requires earning trust as soon as possible because there’s nowhere to hide when onsite.
To build relationships, Antonia gets to know every board member, demonstrates her expertise, and provides support as someone who has their community’s best interest in mind. She also equips herself with property knowledge by reading every contract to ensure all work is completed properly.
Although it is the fiduciary responsibility of the board members to make the decisions for the benefit of the community, it is the community manager’s role to support that responsibility and provide the directors with the insight and industry experience to ensure the successful future of the association. Antonia is able to build rapport with board members by following through on verbal promises with visible actions.
Though surprised by the recognition of her recent award, Antonia felt it represented a huge win for the community by reaching a place where board members were united and actively working towards goals as one. Through her example, she not only builds her own relationships but nurtures them as well.
A people person who finds balance in the everyday
Antonia says she loves what she does and truly enjoys growing her career in community association management. Although often challenging, she tries to constantly put this into perspective in the overall scheme of life. With this outlook, she’s better able to balance the ups and downs of the day. Antonia likes to start each morning by chatting with her staff on a friendly basis to get them all on the same page and begin with a positive mindset before tackling the day’s heavy workload.
She says, “I don’t come to work with the mentality of this is just an 8-to-5 job. I’ve had some pretty tough situations, but I just tackle one thing at a time and I love what I do. Every problem has a solution.”
Maybe it’s her upbringing that lends itself to her genuine desire to get to know others. As a California native growing up in Norco, Antonia lived surrounded by dairy cows. She credits this as a great experience, but is likely the reason she enjoys human interaction so much. When not in her property management role, Antonia enjoys hiking Orange County trails, experiencing local cuisine with her chef sister, traveling, keeping up with her two teenage sons, and developing her inner fashionista, all of which help her maintain a work-life balance.
Or maybe she just has that X factor so many want to claim. Whatever it is, we’re fortunate to have Antonia share it with us and her community.
Interested in joining Keystone’s team of dedicated and relationship-focused professionals? We’re always on the lookout for talented people ready to help us deliver exceptional client experiences. Browse our current community association management openings at kppm.com/careers and submit your resume today.