What inspired you to enter city management?

In the many roles with different organizations I’ve worked for over the years, I’ve had the honor to work and become friends with some fantastic leaders and mentors along the way. The personal and professional growth I still experience when working with these leaders is certainly inspiring and helps fuel the passion and desire I have for this profession.

How did I become a city manager?

My first job was as a recreation leader for the city of Santa Fe Springs at 16 years old. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the start of what would be a lifelong pursuit of public service. I stayed in local government through college and graduate school, making myself available for new projects and assignments, learning new roles, observing and listening. Along the way, I found a love for working with people, managing teams and constantly learning. In that sense, I feel like I grew into the position more than it being a linear career path. Having worked in almost every position in local government, I’ve served in some wonderful cities, taking with me many experiences and lasting professional relationships.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

Being just a little shy of three months on the job, I am still learning. But so far, I love the dynamic and challenging issues that pop up every day. I’ve always liked putting puzzles together. In many ways, I feel like every new issue is a different puzzle piece that needs the right fit. The constant learning is something I never get tired of.

What does your typical day look like?

I found out pretty quickly that my days look anything but routine. Although standing meetings with department heads or project updates can fill my calendar, a phone call, email, a friendly drop-in by a Councilmember or a dissatisfied resident rearranges priorities for the day. It makes the day fly by!

When and how do you interact with the residents of your city?

Here in Lomita, we are a small dynamic community with a population of just over 20,000. We have very active and engaged residents, who trust our City Council and responsive staff. I make it a point to take phone calls from residents, strike up a conversation at one of the many coffee shops here in town and chat with our City Hall guests when possible. I attend as many special events as possible, Chamber mixers and any other community gathering not only to meet people, but also to keep my finger on the pulse of issues impacting residents. I find often that residents’ true sentiments get misinterpreted in emails or letters. A casual conversation can clear up so much.

What is the role of a city manager in upholding the publics’ trust in local government?

Growing in this career path has provided me with many lessons along the way. Of all the lessons, maintaining the public’s trust in the people and institution serving them is among the most important. Organizations like CCMF and ICMA are great resources to help remind me that above all else, I have a responsibility to our residents, staff and the profession to ensure I’m not just doing things the right way, but that I’m doing the right thing.