As manager of Parkbridge’s Evergreen Community in Edmonton, Alberta, Desiree knows her neighbourhood inside and out. Her connection to Evergreen dates to 1988, when she filled the community’s most important role, that of a fun-loving kid. Since then, she’s called the property home in more ways than one. In her words, “I moved in when I was a young child, grew up here, owned my own home here, and started my family here. Then I moved out and now I manage the property. (It’s a) great big huge circle.”
Her intimate knowledge of Evergreen serves her in good stead. As the community manager, Desiree declares that “every day is different” and she wears many hats. With about 700 families calling Evergreen home, the neighbourhood feels a bit like a small city. And just like any city, it needs a great team to keep things running smoothly. Desiree points to the work of her office mates and the maintenance team as being “just amazing.” She also notes that positivity flows from the top. Desiree says: “This company really, really has people that are leading us (that) really believe in healthy minds and healthy work environments and creating a positive and good environment for our customers. They truly care.”
That sense of compassion came to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation where Desiree readily admits it was hard to find any silver lining. Communication was key in order stay in touch with vulnerable residents during the crisis. She takes tremendous pride in working with residents to implement positive solutions during such a challenging time. Desiree says that when someone is “Coming in and saying, ‘I’m really not happy with my neighbour,’ or ‘I really am having a hard time with my bill. Can you help me get into a better position?’ Having those conversations, that’s rewarding.”
While the circumstances of the pandemic are certainly unique, Desiree sees this emphasis on communication as part of a broader trend with Parkbridge. As a seasoned employee, Desiree has observed a shift in how the company has deepened its relationship with residents in recent years. She says “we have to be empathetic and understanding to what our customers’ expectations are of us” and cites her colleagues as examples of how people at Parkbridge truly care about their work.
Desiree’s passion for helping others also emerged in an unexpected way outside of the office during COVID-19. She found herself crocheting gifts for friends and family! From baby blankets, hats and holiday ornaments, Desiree’s talent learned from her grandmother and mother has flourished. She has even taken on a serious rehabilitation project where she is restoring a vintage blanket dating back for four generations.
Though community work and creative projects keep her busy, Desiree’s Evergreen roots are never far from her mind. As she says, “I am Evergreen at heart. I bleed Evergreen and honestly, it’s a huge part of my life…I have a very emotional attachment to this property.”