May 16, 2017 10:00:00 AM

A Letter to Me

I often find myself deep in thought, contemplating “what-if” scenarios. What if I won the lottery? What if my parents never emigrated from Mexico? What if I became a teacher and not an accountant? These hypothetical scenarios allow me to think outside the box and not limit my options or ideas to my current circumstances. After a long day’s commute home, I thought to myself, “What if I could turn back time and go back to September 1, 2008?” You see, for many, this date is insignificant. But for me, September 2008 threw my world off its axis. Lives were lost. Some lives were greatly disrupted. When the third costliest storm in United States history hit hard, unparalleled potential financial devastation loomed.

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Topics: Servant Leadership, Passion

Apr 11, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow

On a recent Saturday morning, I stood with my niece at the crossroads of a busy intersection to help her sell highly-sought after Girl Scout cookies. It would have been easier to just buy the amount of cookies she needed to sell and call it quits. However, I found myself intrigued by her enthusiasm and eagerness to do her part.

I was only there to help ensure the safety of the girls and hand out cookies, but I found the experience extremely enlightening. I quickly saw that Girl Scouts is about so much more than selling cookies—it’s about transforming young girls to lead. During my time with this troop, one of the leaders gathered the girls and shared three powerful principles of leadership: Discover, Connect, and Take Action. This was my “aha" moment. I was struck by the similarities of this great organization’s vision and mission to the core values of HORNE.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture, People Development

Mar 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

The Road Less Traveled

Looking back at “my story,” I realize that I began taking the road less traveled early in life. I found great happiness doing things that were not traditional for a growing Mexican woman, from the electives I took in high school to the career path I would eventually choose. 

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Topics: Culture

Feb 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Don’t Just Put Out Fires

After a natural disaster strikes, the process of disaster recovery is overwhelming. With so many moving parts and different groups of people involved in building a successful program, recovery can be more than daunting. Case managers, construction workers, project managers, program administrators, government agencies and the damaged homeowners themselves all must effectively coordinate, communicate, and work together to reach the ultimate goal of community rehabilitation.

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Topics: Client Service, Disaster Recovery, CDBG

Feb 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Thrive Instead of Just Survive

Many communities all over the country struggle with being able to provide decent, safe, and sanitary affordable rental housing to their residents. When you have a mission of creating a place for people to flourish, navigating the ins and outs of funding is vital. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are often used to acquire, rehabilitate, or construct multi-family rental housing.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery, CDBG

Nov 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Compressing the Recovery Timeline

I often take the accomplishments of our team for granted when I know that faster should be possible. It’s not a dissatisfaction with our people or our systems, but an unwillingness to accept that disaster recovery, by nature, takes years when impacted communities need help now.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery

Nov 8, 2016 10:35:39 AM

The Experience You Need

Recently, HUD and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the Fall 2016 Integrity Bulletin entitled "Implementing the Five Key Internal Controls." This bulletin describes the five standards of an effective internal control structure. In it, responsibility is clearly assigned for the control environment to the management that’s overseeing the grant.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery, Grant Management

Nov 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Your Program CAN Be Creative

We often talk about “matching” here at HORNE. While many know exactly what acronym mash-up we are talking about, I sometimes am met with a look of confusion when raising the possibility with impacted communities. For many of our clients, matching has been a creative way to make their dollars go further. We’ve seen matching help spur a quicker and more efficient recovery and help get communities—and in turn, people—back on their feet. Coordinated match programs are certain to provide communities more bang for the buck after a disaster.

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Topics: HMGP, CDBG, Matching

Oct 25, 2016 12:00:00 PM

But, What If? Are You Prepared If the Unthinkable Happens?

That Could Never Happen To Me. But, what if?

This is a question I have had to ask myself after hearing about recent violent events. I have come to the correct conclusion that I have responsibility for workplace safety and national security. No, I am not a member of law enforcement, branch of the military or Homeland Security. I am however a part of the American Public.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery

Oct 11, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Putting our Money Where our Mouth Is

More and more states and municipalities are wising up when it comes to disaster recovery contractors. More often, governments are in search of safeguards to protect themselves from contractors making big promises and delivering very little follow through. They’re finding these contractors offer low rates but no commitment to the deliverables that matter. This problem has helped the world of disaster recovery procurement evolve from time and materials (T&M) contracts to value-based contracts, where we have to put our money where our mouth is. Production and efficiency have become the much-needed focus.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery, Procurement

Sep 27, 2016 1:00:00 PM

From Victims to Victors

It’s been nearly eight years since I began serving on the Katrina Disaster Recovery program on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Going in, I knew there would be many challenging moments that our team would face. I also knew that we would be called to new heights and feats professionally, but what I didn’t know was how personally rewarding it would be to serve Mississippi Gulf Coast residents recovering from the wrath of Katrina.

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Topics: Disaster Recovery

Sep 20, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Sometimes the Grass Really Is Greener on the Other Side

After completing 26 years of State service, I decided to pack my boxes and cross over to the other side. The “other side” for me was HORNE. Make no mistake, this wasn’t an easy decision. I prayed and talked to the ones it will affect the most—my family.  My mother gave me the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side” conversation.

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Topics: Flexibility, Culture

Sep 13, 2016 1:00:00 PM

We’ve Been There - Wake of Long Island Hurricane

Through the years Nor’easters, tropical storms, and hurricanes have crashed the Long Island shoreline leaving media images of trees uprooted, homes flooded, and beach coasts eroded. I can remember Gloria, Bob and Irene; each storm affecting a targeted area of the island. We watched the local news teams capture each event in sobering detail from the safety of our own home, offering prayers and feeling blessed that we were not affected. 

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Topics: Disaster Recovery

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