“Keystone Spotlight” is an ongoing series introducing our top performing staff who continue to go out of their way to provide exceptional service.
Like many on our staff, Laurie Nelms performs a range of functions, all with the focus of providing attentive and responsive service for our HOA management clients. As our New Development Escrow Manager, Laurie has helped countless developers and homeowners navigate the complexities of escrow on new developments during her seventeen years at Keystone Pacific.
Laurie is among a developer’s first contacts at our office, assisting in the collection and preparation of documents for a newly established association, and helping the developer prepare for first closings. “I’m the main contact for the associations’ phase annexations, assessment and facility bond releases and developer assessment billing during the project’s construction,” Laurie explains. “I’m often the go-to person when developers have questions or when their staff needs a more in-depth explanation about the makeup of their project, including range assessments, phasing budgets and general questions about HOA management. This information helps their sales teams offer more thorough explanations to potential buyers.”
Laurie derives her greatest professional satisfaction from uncovering unseen issues that might arise as developers move into the sales phase, as well as helping homeowners understand the information coming from the developer’s sales office. “This process can be overwhelming for both home buyers and developers. There are lots of complex, time-critical requirements and if any of these details fall through the cracks, it could jeopardize the sale. I understand that sometimes an explanation from a different perspective is all that is required to make sure that the process flows more smoothly and everyone gets the information they need in a timely manner.”
Prior to working with Keystone Pacific, Laurie’s career had a different customer-centric focus: life insurance underwriting and product marketing. “It might not seem similar to HOA management, but at its core, insurance is all about customer service. The decisions you make affect people’s lives. I learned that a clear explanation goes a long way toward calming down a confused or upset client. With a better understanding of why something is the way it is, the customer is empowered to make smarter decisions about the choices they face. I take the same approach to my job at Keystone Pacific. I educate our clients so they can feel more confident about their decisions.”
One of the main things Laurie tries to convey to clients is that the homeowners association management company acts on behalf of the HOA board of directors who bears the responsibility for decision-making. “I often find myself explaining that, although I completely understand their perspective, the homeowners association management company cannot make any decisions on behalf of the association. I am unable to change association rules that affect the homeowner. However, I am totally willing and able to help them understand the process of bringing their issue to the attention of their HOA board.”
Laurie credits her success with the company to the autonomy she receives from upper management. “I know that I have the authority to make decisions pertaining to escrow and new development in my area. The management team respects my opinion and recognizes that since I am in daily contact with our clients, I am best suited to use my judgment to handle situations in a way that satisfies our clients and makes them feel heard.”
Laurie extends this philosophy to her own team, encouraging them to manage their own desks and their responsibilities. “Seeing my team do a good job and hearing the compliments they receive from our clients is one of the most rewarding parts of my day,” she explains.
A few of the traits that make Laurie excellent at her job are outstanding listening skills, empathy, and patience. “When people call the escrow department, they are looking for answers and are unhappy with their struggle to get them. I try my best to explain complex issues to homeowners or the developer’s sales team in a way that makes sense. From there, I help them find solutions that they understand and can act on.”
All of us here at Keystone Pacific are both proud and grateful for all the attention Laurie provides to our customers and all the dedication she applies to her job. Here’s to another seventeen years!