Resiliency and Resident Governance at Piper Shores

Resident Association President Susan Russell opened the January 26, 2023, Resident Association meeting with a New Year’s resolution to “refill my tank of resilience.” 

Now in her fourth year as president, Susan pointed to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, a 42-year-old who recently resigned her position proclaiming that “My tank is empty” after three years of weathering the pandemic as that nation’s leader.

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“ I knew what she meant,” quipped Susan, who then went on to praise the Piper Shores staff and resident volunteers who have kept an even keel during the challenging times presented by the pandemic. “We now have the opportunity to create a new version of what is ‘normal’ for our community,” she continued, reminding the audience of approximately 100 residents in attendance that the entire world was grappling with similar issues. 

“Since July of 2020, Piper Shores has welcomed 67 new independent residents, and we will welcome 88 more to The Meadows when it opens its doors this summer,” said Susan. “Their welcome has been different than perhaps our welcome was, and we are defining a new normal as we work together every day with resilience, kindness, and respect for one another.”

The monthly Resident Association meeting is at the heart of resident governance and communication at Piper Shores. It is an opportunity for the Senior Leadership Team to report out on progress made on key initiatives for the community and for residents to ask questions of the Team. Meetings are routinely streamed to residents in their homes should they not be able to attend in person, and they are recorded for subsequent viewing.

By virtue of the community’s bylaws, every resident of Piper Shores is a member of the Resident Association. The Association annually elects nine (9) representatives to the Resident Council, which is charged as a communications conduit between residents, the administration, and the volunteer board of directors. The Resident Council also oversees twelve (12) standing committees that cover every aspect of living at Piper Shores – from Finance to Marketing, Building & Grounds to Quality of Life, Food & Nutrition, and more. Residents are encouraged to join formal committees as well as to participate in resident life interest groups that contribute to the active fabric of life at Piper Shores. 

In addition to her role as the Resident Association President, Susan is also an elected resident representative to the Board of Directors. While she is a “voice without a vote,” the board is always eager to hear how residents are doing and to understand their needs and concerns. 

Over the past year, the Resident Council and members of the Association at large played an active role on the CEO Search committee and routinely supported board subcommittees and initiatives where both their voice and their vote counted. The Council and Association also participated in shaping the 3-year strategic plan that was recently adopted by the Board of Directors. “As a result,” says Susan, “I think we have a much better strategic plan that reflects a broad range of perspectives and resulting goals.”

I’m thinking things like being on committee for the CEO search, supporting some of the board sub-committees and initiatives where you do have a vote.

During the Resident Association meeting today, CEO Phil Jean spoke of those things that residents and the administration accomplished together during 2022 as a result of direct resident input. 

The top 10 highlights included:

  • The development of an operational and integration work plan for The Meadows Campus, scheduled to open in the summer of 2023.
  • A solid financial performance despite challenging market conditions and a high inflation environment.
  • Approval of the strategic plan with tactical objectives.
  • New technology offering including streaming, video production capabilities, and community app (Touch Town) enhancements.
  • New talent and recruitment initiatives designed to retain existing employees and to attract new members to the team.
  • Restoration of many programs post pandemic in partnership with Resident Council and committees.
  • New leadership roles established, including a new CEO.
  • Revitalization of the community’s sustainability initiative in collaboration with the board, residents, municipal and community representatives, as well as staff.
  • Initiated a new communications workplace.
  • Advanced a new Human Resources Board Governance initiative.

Looking ahead to what will be her final year as Resident Council President, Susan is focused on improving the ways that committees function and engage residents as well as how to best involve new residents this summer from The Meadows. 

Given her energy, focus, and resilience, we are confident Susan will leave a lasting mark on Piper Shores resident governance for years to come!