By March 4, 2020

How to Run Anthem

Anthem’s leadership is in the midst of a total transformation. A search is underway to replace Community Executive Officer Neal Shearer, who is retiring this summer. Michele DeMichele, who has organized the community’s special events the past 11 years, was recently appointed community operations officer. A new chief financial officer, Paul Conley, started in January. 

Meanwhile, the seven-member Anthem Community Council (ACC) board will seat new reps from Parkside and Country Club this spring, and an ACC board seat representing the Village has gone unfilled since last June. That in mind, In&Out reached out to outgoing ACC board member Roger Willis, who has served two terms (six years), including two years as president.

What’s the hardest part about sitting on the ACC board?

Avoid micromanaging the staff. The board is here to:

  • Set overall goals, direction and policies consistent with the needs of the entire community.
  • Help acquire and retain appropriate resources (people, money, tools, assets) needed to meet those goals.
  • Monitor performance against those goals.
  • Initiate corrective action when necessary.  

We are very fortunate to have a very capable staff that works so well together and does the right things in the right ways at the right times. 

Any advice for the newcomers when they’re elected?

Listen, and try to make 2+2=5 (except not in the finances!). Seek to understand, then be understood. Directors need to understand the capacity of staff to get things done and then prioritize projects and responsibilities consistent with that capacity.      

Any particular challenges the board will face over the next year?

Given all the turnover, it will be “a new ballgame” for leadership of the council, and everyone will need to refocus on how to effectively work together for the benefit of Anthem residents. 

Also, growth in the North Valley area will continue to increase pressure on Anthem’s amenities. The board and staff need to develop realistic methods to prevent overuse of Anthem’s amenities, and work with the county and Phoenix to ensure that developers include appropriate amenities for their new residential developments.

This article first published on North Phoenix News.

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