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Voice of the people

Resident-staff partnership thrives at Eagle’s Trace

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November 3rd, 2016
The 2016 Resident Advisory Council of Eagle’s Trace. (From left) Ray Doba, Sam Power, Debby Cate, Bill Cain, Jack Gleeson, Pat Osborne, Jay Brooks, Pat Coatsworth, and Dennis Gregg.

The 2016 Resident Advisory Council of Eagle’s Trace. (From left) Ray Doba, Sam Power, Debby Cate, Bill Cain, Jack Gleeson, Pat Osborne, Jay Brooks, Pat Coatsworth, and Dennis Gregg.

With the November elections just days away, it won’t be long until Trump vs. Clinton is tucked away in the history books.

While candidates for federal and state office have been hot on the campaign trail, one democratic organization in West Houston has continued its steady work to make improvements, heed suggestions, and work toward solutions.

The Resident Advisory Council (RAC) at Eagle’s Trace is a group of nine residents, elected by their peers, who partner with staff to work on behalf of the community.

“Our role is to promote the health, comfort, and safety of the residents by giving management timely information and feedback on services and programs,” says Jack Gleeson, president of the RAC. “We’re the primary voice of communication between residents and staff.”

Each RAC member serves a three-year term. Elections are held in February of each year, and the terms are staggered so three members rotate off and three new members join the council each year.

Annual goal-setting

Members of the RAC meet twice a month. The executive team at Eagle’s Trace joins the RAC for the first hour of each meeting, giving every team leader the opportunity to share their department’s activity with the council.

“The whole process is very transparent,” says Jack. “As council members, we have tremendous insight into the running of the community, and that allows us to be a knowledgeable bridge between residents and staff.”

Each RAC member also serves as a liaison to a subcommittee that oversees a specific department at the West Houston community. The RAC subcommittees include community outreach, welcome, dining services, general services, health and wellness, philanthropy, and resident life.

“The RAC committees are made up of resident volunteers,” says Jack. “Each committee sets forth goals and objectives in March and April with regards to what they’d like to accomplish over the next 12 months.”

At Eagle’s Trace, upwards of 65 residents serve on RAC committees.

“It’s a wonderful group of people who’ve taken responsibility to assist with the major activities and improvements taking place at the community,” says Jack. “For instance, our dining services committee is extremely busy right now because Eagle’s Trace is set to roll out a new Signature Dining program. They’re also planning for renovations in the Cotton Belt Café.”

Shared vision

Additionally, the RAC supports an array of ad hoc committees that operate outside the council’s direct oversight. 

“We work closely with several committees—library, Treasure Chest, scholarship, entertainment, communications, emergency assistance team,” says Jack. “They are separate and distinct from the RAC, but they all serve the community, both internally and externally.”

Four times a year, the RAC hosts forums at the West Houston community to share information about the workings of Eagle’s Trace and to give residents the opportunity to ask questions.

The RAC also hosts listening posts in the Audubon Clubhouse, where council members are on hand to take note of residents’ suggestions for community improvements.

For Jack, who retired as a marketing executive with Shell Oil, the opportunity to be involved in the day-to-day operations at Eagle’s Trace coincides with the skill set he honed in the workplace.

“There are a number of similarities in the way Eagle’s Trace is run compared with the company I came from in terms of procedures, policies, ethics, and financial goals,” says Jack. “But this is more fun. I’m surrounded by volunteers who are dedicated to improving our community. It’s a pleasure to work with them.”

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