RANCHO SANTA FE — Last month, the Rancho Santa Fe Association brought on board a new communications manager in hopes for a better flow in relaying information and happenings to their members. The position was an energized effort by the Association’s new manager, Bill Overton.
And Christy Whalen was their choice.
Whalen is no stranger to the area. For the past three years, she served as a communications consultant for the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.
While not in the heart of the Covenant, Whalen said, she often visited the Ranch and met many great people.
Then she noticed the Association’s job opening.
“And besides being attracted to the area, the job description fit my background to a tee,” Whalen said. “My role is to get out the great news about Rancho Santa Fe because there’s a lot of good things happening, a lot of good people here, and I think we haven’t had the internal horsepower in-house to get the word out.”
Whalen is the 21st century town crier.
A native of Minnesota, Whalen earned her degree in journalism and worked for print media for a few years. From there, she branched out into public relations and corporate communications.
She was a spokesperson for Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis.
“I had great exposure to internal communications issues. The airline had gone through a merger with another company,” she said. Whalen added, “There were a lot of internal issues that needed to be hashed out, but also a lot of tough external issues.”
From there, Whalen branched out to a marketing agency in Minneapolis.
After having her second child, Whalen decided to stay home and became heavily involved in the local PTA and volunteering. During that timeframe, she and her family moved to California.
Now at the Association, Whalen states she has a list of big priorities. One is reorganizing the Association’s website.
“There can be a lot more information and it can be a lot more current,” she said.
Whalen wants members to know that upgrading the website will be about a 90-day process.
The goal will be a robust website with highly useful nuances such as news, events, calendar information, survey capabilities, online forms, viewing statements, and perhaps even the ability to register for events.
“Right now we communicate with members through the U.S. Postal Service and so that often means a letter or a postcard,” she said.
Ongoing communication with members online, she said, is a quicker way.
“We have some really important things that we can share with members almost immediately,” she said. “Another part of the job that was really attractive to me was working with the media which I haven’t done for a while.”
Whalen also pointed out how she was pleased to be working with such a good board of directors.
Out of the starting gate, Whalen has had to tackle some tough issues such as the water cutbacks and helping residents learn how to better manage their water usage.
“I’m also going to be involved in the roundabout/traffic light issue,” she said.
Whalen is hoping that with a “fresh set of eyes” and her writing background, she can make these situations more understandable since they can potentially be complex.
As Whalen begins to settle into her new role at the Association, members have something to look forward to.
“They can expect me to always be honest and fair,” she said. “And having a journalism background, I think I can do a pretty good job with presenting the facts as they are.”