From The Blog
The Administration Department Keeps KICA Running
KICA’s administrative department is generally comprised of staff that works at Beachwalker Center. This includes Member Services, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications and the Executive Office. Director of Finance and Administration, Jane Ovenden, supervises all these departments (with the exception of Communications and Executive personnel, which report directly to COO Jimmy Bailey). These departments are the responsible for keeping the association running on a daily basis.
Member Services staff members Nancy Root and RoShonda Brown are KICA’s front line, the first point of contact for callers and visitors to Beachwalker Center. “We are expected to know everything,” they say cheerfully. They provide answers when they can and direct members to the appropriate place when needed.
Typical calls might be about garbage collection (a Town of Kiawah Island matter) or an algae-covered pond, but some are more memorable. A bicyclist asked which way the wind was blowing in order to decide which direction to ride on the beach. A driver delayed by a traffic backup on the way home from the grocery store requested reimbursement for melted ice cream. Once a question was so outlandish that Root exclaimed, “Is this a crank call?” It wasn’t.
Member Services performs a myriad other functions that are less likely to produce a good laugh but important to the operation of the association:
Contacting new owners with information to make settling in easier.
Directing inquiries sent to [email protected] to the appropriate person or department.
Maintaining the membership database, including lineal family members, and correcting billing and voting email addresses.
Managing the corporate credit card program used by employees.
Jane Ovenden manages the budget and KICA’s financial health. She prepares the monthly financial reports and performs association accounting functions. She is vice chair of the finance committee, which advises the COO and board in all areas of association finance.
Preparation of KICA’s annual budget, which is approved at the November board meeting each year, is a months-long process. Department heads prepare their own budgets and Ovenden, who budgets for the administrative departments, checks for overages and omissions before the draft budget goes for review. (See the cover article for information about KICA’s budget process.) The Finance department consists of an assistant director of Finance and two accountants who handle account receivables, account payables and payroll.
Director Sarah Bond views Human Resources (HR) as “customer service to employees,” and sees it as their role to help employees with “anything they need.” She joined KICA a little over a year ago, intent on upgrading the use of technology in HR functions. She lists the responsibilities of HR as:
- Recruiting and retention: ensuring pay and benefits are competitive in the current labor shortage.
- Employee benefits: selecting the carrier, designing the benefits package, and assisting employees.
- Review and evaluation of policies, procedures, job descriptions, and much more.
- Employee relations: orienting new employees to the association and the KICA brand, promoting an open-door policy, and handling employee disputes.
- Training and development: training for new hires, safety, compliance, etc.
In the past year, Bond has implemented some of the technological enhancements that she envisioned a year ago. An online portal has simplified the application process for job applicants. This software also tracks time and attendance, and provides a virtual platform for standardized training programs, such as orientation.
The IT department is responsible for the association’s technology infrastructure. It’s a big responsibility but they take it in stride. Dan Kokkos is manager of the IT division, which has one additional full-time and one part-time employee.
Most of the department’s personnel time is spent helping employees, answering their questions or dealing with recalcitrant hardware and software. “A lot of their work is sophisticated, but they also get tasked with any problem that has a plug,” division supervisor Jane Ovenden says. IT supports employee functions, applies patches, and educates employees about viruses. Data security is a major responsibility, and employee Jim Swan recently received an advanced security certification.
KICA’s communications department is in a period of transition. The near-simultaneous retirement of KICA’s longest-serving employee, director Tammy McAdory, and departure of 11-year employee Doug Reynolds left Emily Jenkins as the only remaining staffer. She has been joined on a contract basis by Leah Burris.
Communications staff publish and write much of Digest (with the assistance of the Digest Production Committee), create weekly emails with news and upcoming events, and manage technological communications: the KICA app, social media, website, and more. They also play a vital role in keeping the community informed during emergency situations.
The Executive Office is KICA’s top management arm. COO Jimmy Bailey reports to the KICA Board of Directors, and all departments report to him in some capacity. His responsibilities are broad and complex, requiring an extensive knowledge of community planning, infrastructure, building management, emergency management, and finance; strong “people skills” and the ability to work smoothly with complementary organizations— the town, resort, developer, Architectural Review Board, and Kiawah Conservancy; and the political skills to represent Kiawah to area communities. Bailey had a hand in every aspect of the recent Sandcastle renovation from conception to celebration.
Executive assistant Holly Newman also shoulders wide-ranging responsibilities. She handles administrative functions for the board and COO, prepares voting materials, and is the liaison for the board’s Nominating Committee. Special projects take much of her time, and the past year she was immersed in The Sandcastle renovation as the KICA project manager. She is currently handling the long punch list. Newman has also recently taken over supervision of Kiawah’s community outreach, Kiawah Cares. Together with Kiawah Cares staff liaison, Carla Howard, Newman plans to continue the organization’s important efforts in the neighboring communities of Johns and Wadmalaw islands.
To reach any of these offices, please call Member Services at 843-768-9194 or email [email protected] to be directed to the responsible department.