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C.I.A Services, Inc.
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Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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Archived Newsletters

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions, and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.

May 2020
eNews Monthly
COVID-19 Updates
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We hope everyone is staying safe and sane during COVID-19.

Recently, we heard Governor Abbott’s announcements about relaxing restrictions and reopening businesses. At this time, however, our offices will remain closed under orders from Harris and Bexar counties.

We are continuing to host all Board and committee meetings by teleconference or as online meetings through the end of May. We must await restrictions on gatherings of groups of people before proceeding with membership meetings.

Our deed restriction inspections have resumed, but we will continue to be sensitive to owners with violations, as this may cause additional burdens.

All of these decisions are being made with the safety of all of us in mind. Conditions evolve every day so we are constantly monitoring what is best for our clients and employees while continuing to provide great service. We will provide another update on our business operations as each of our counties/cities update their orders. We hope to be able to phase back into more normal operations in June but everything depends on the conditions at each checkpoint.

Awards
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2020 BBB Awards for Excellence Winner

We are proud to announce that C.I.A. Services has been recognized as a 2020 BBB Awards for Excellence Winner!

Each year, the Better Business Bureau awards organizations and people who stand out and meet their "gold standard of trust." Companies and employees are entered to be selected on the basis of a great demonstration of trustworthiness and ethical business practices. Entries are judged anonymously by a panel of volunteer judges, who are community leaders from the civil, academic, business, and nonprofit communities. 

The Better Business Bureau states that the Awards for Excellence recognize businesses, organizations, and employees in each region that are "positive examples to all," who "mirror the core values of the BBB," and exhibit the "highest standards of business ethics and practices." We have been recognized along with many other great companies and individuals for fostering trust with our clients, employees, and the community.

We are excited to be present at the celebration luncheon in October as one of the "BBB Best." Stay tuned for the future article all about it!

Community Highlight
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Virtual Lifestyle in ARTAVIA
by Lindsay Scholfield

For anyone who loves hosting or participating in fun events, right now they may tell you that they feel a sense of melancholy being able to not continue as if things were normal.  For our community ARTAVIA, this was just not an answer we felt was proper.  This was where a new concept came in to play – Virtual Lifestyle.

With the current state of businesses being moved primarily to online platforms, it only made sense to move activities and events into this realm as well.  The Lifestyle Team at ARTAVIA got in their think tank to better understand what it is their residents craved, and how we could best deliver that to them.  As events around us were unfolding, several posts on social media were brought to our attention. 

In ARTAVIA, our motto is to Live Colorfully – what better way to do that than to bring colorful windows to our community?  An initiative called “Window Wanderland” through much of the UK and Europe brought life to the first activity entitled, “Courage Within Our Windows.”  This activity encouraged residents to post messages of courage and strength in their windows.  The Lifestyle Team also participated in their homes to help show examples and show that even though we can’t be there physically, we’re with you in spirit. (examples pictured)

Many of the following activities have been inspired by special days, including Find a Rainbow Day, Zoo Lover’s Day, National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day, National Stress Awareness Day, and International Haiku Poetry Day.  Even on days that were not inspired by a special day, brainstorming activities to do in safety were not in short supply, as the Lifestyle Team worked hard to imagine which activities can be easily moved to the digital realm that residents would enjoy.

Since March 25, 2020, activities have been posted daily.  In addition to the now 30+ activities on Virtual Lifestyle, 50+ links to virtual tours, field trips, and educational activities to do at home (or on your back porch) also exist.  These links include tours of famous museums, NASA facilities, well-known zoos, virtual storytimes, and digital games for all.  These links have also inspired several of the Virtual Lifestyle activities. 

As if this wasn’t enough, a third component was added to Virtual Lifestyle – Virtual Discussions.  This gave residents of ARTAVIA a dedicated space to share how they are participating in activities or trade ideas for new ones.  This component also goes together with a digital Recipe Book, where residents (and the Lifestyle Team) can share recipes they’ve been cooking and baking while at home.  

Virtual Lifestyle is just the beginning for ARTAVIA.  The ARTAVIA Lifestyle Team is actively making plans for what’s next, be it more virtual activities (should the need arise), or how to create a mix of future activities and events that have a virtual component to it.  Creating a memorable experience is a high priority for the ARTAVIA Lifestyle Team, and one that they plan to always deliver.

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Aliana Community Council’s Food Chain Project
by Deniece Reyes

Over the last few weeks, Aliana Community Council has been working on a community initiative known as "The Food Chain Project," alongside the commissioner for our precinct, one of our commercial owners, the Memorial Hermann Hospital System, and the Friends of North Richmond (local non-profit geared towards ending hunger in the area). 

We sent out an email via our community website on behalf of the commissioner seeking virtual cards of words of encouragement and gratitude to send to the health care professionals at Memorial Hermann. We were contacted by a resident who had a family member being cared for at one of their hospitals and was overwhelmed by the awesome care given by the staff there. She wanted to do more, and had the idea of feeding the hospital as well!

Concerned for the local small businesses in the area, we in Aliana were already trying to figure out ways to help our businesses bounce back from the lack of income. It only made sense that we partner on the initiative to give back to the community’s small businesses as well as give back to numerous health care professionals on the frontlines of COVID-19. Thus, The Food Chain Project began.

Locals could (and still can!) purchase a meal from local business, Center Court Pizza, and donate a meal to a healthcare worker, benefitting both parties.

The Food Chain Project was featured in a Community Associations Institute press release, among other community-driven responses to the pandemic in the industry (including our Pay It Forward initiative!); read it here! 

It’s thanks to efforts like these that bring the people of Aliana together in times of struggle. Thank you to everyone involved in this project!

Living Our Core Values
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Pay It Forward - Update

Last month, we introduced you to our company-wide "Pay It Forward" initiative, where an additional $50 was added to each of our employees’ paychecks, and we encouraged them to grant this money to a person or organization in need that has been impacted by COVID-19. We are blown away by the response!

Some of our employees gifted this money to a family member or friend, some donated to organizations related to relief efforts, and some spent the money to give in other, unique ways! No matter what each individual decided to do, they were most definitely S.P.E.C.I.A.L. in doing so, and truly represented the core values of C.I.A. Services. 

Our Pay It Forward initiative was featured in a Community Associations Institute press release, among other community-driven responses to the pandemic in the industry (including the Aliana Food Chain Project!); read it here! 

There are so many stories to tell that they cannot all fit in May’s eNews, so stay tuned for even more positive stories in the coming editions!

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"I decided to have dinner delivered to the night shift workers of a nursing home/rehabilitation center. I chose a small business, a local Italian restaurant, as we know these types of businesses are suffering due to closing their doors. I completed my CNA training at the nursing home I chose and saw firsthand how hardworking and, unfortunately, underpaid these workers are. Hopefully it put a smile on their faces and raised their spirits for that night.

Also, last week I learned that my son’s daycare was temporarily closing its doors, despite not being ordered by the city, due to lack of children. The daycare coordinator and a few other employees spent the last day of the week deep cleaning the facility to be ready for when it’s time to reopen. I had pizzas and cookies delivered to them to thank them for their hard work." 
~ Christina Mann, Humble Office 

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"My best friend works in Home Healthcare and is still going to work every day. I asked her if she needed some extra money for
medical supplies, gas, etc. and she said yes. I sent her the pay it
forward and it really made her day." 
Taylor Hall, Southwest Houston Office

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"When COVID-19 began to spread, one of my close friends lost her job, and within a few days lost all her available interviews. With so much going on, I knew that she needed a little help. When C.I.A. Services offered their kind Pay It Forward option, I knew exactly who it needed to go to.  Quietly, I sent the funds via Venmo and kept quiet. When my friend saw it, she called me immediately and started crying. It helped hold her over for just long enough. Fantastically, she received a job offer a week later, and I can proudly say she is again employed."
~
Tori Irwin, San Antonio Office

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"I gave $25.00 to the individual who cleans our office since she has temporarily lost almost all of her business. She was very surprised and happy about that.

I also gave $25.00 to a friend who lost their job, who was equally pleasantly surprised."
Annette McConnell, Bandera Office

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"My younger brother works for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He is a Sergeant and commands a team of over a dozen officers. He has been on the force for almost 14 years. As a first responder, he is unfortunately at high risk for exposure. He is also married with two kids, 8 and 11. I will be donating the entirety of the money to him as our officers are underpaid and do more for the community than they are recognized for."
~
 Terry Davis, Humble Office

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"I took the $50 and matched it. I chose a sweet lady who works at the local church preschool. I worked with her for many years, she is a light in so many kids lives, even though her own life is hard and trying at times; she is the sole source of income for her and her daughter who has been fighting cancer and other health conditions for many years. The preschool is closed due to COVID-19 so they now have no source of income. I know how hard it is being a single mom, and I felt she was the most deserving of some extra help."
~
 Julie Baker, Humble Office

Adjusting to Change
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Working From Home
by Kim Moore

I began my working from home due to COVID-19 on March 16th; a little earlier than some.  I chose to quarantine myself from the rest of the employees in my office as two members of my household work in a hospital and they began to see patients coming in with the virus.  I felt it best to protect everyone and begin to quarantine.  

The first week or two were very stressful with lots to do each day to help ensure all of our employees were setup to work remotely at their homes too.  The new normal became multiple conference calls per day making sure everyone was doing well and acclimating to our new normal. Once I got my desk organized and equipment from the office, things began to feel familiar and I was much happier.  

I also quickly realized I needed to keep a routine each weekday so that my work experience was productive.  We began homeschool for my Godson, who also lives with us, and that was a new cause of stress. Once the school got the kids into a routine with assignments, things flowed smoothly from there.  I have enjoyed sharing my workspace with my “new coworkers,” my Godson Taeden, and our puppy Josiah.  I have also enjoyed being able to cook dinner for my family and sit outside on the front porch and watch the evening sun as it sets.

I will enjoy returning to the traditional office environment, but now I know that working from home can be done if you put your mind to it and stay focused.

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The New Normal
by Kim Cowart

Over the past month, we have all had to adapt to changes that include working from home. After the initial excitement of getting to work from home in my yoga pants and t-shirt every day wore off, the reality of not seeing my co-workers consistently set in. There were the questions of, "how is this going to work," "how do I connect this cable," and I had to think outside the box to accomplish tasks that are so easy from the office setting. While it has been a challenge, my new co-workers have made working from home entertaining.

My youngest now races me to see who can finish their conference call the fastest. I have been told that I am much slower on my calls and need to speed them up.

My teenager walks by and says, “how’s it going at work today mom?” This question is followed by a big hug and a pat on the head to tell me that I am doing a good job.

My cats find it amusing to walk across my keyboard when I walk away from the computer. It is a joy to figure out what they have changed or typed while I was away.

The pandemic may have changed the way we work each day, but I have cherished the additional time spent with my new co-workers and learning new ways to conduct business.

More!

Check out more short stories and plenty of pictures from more employees adapting to working from home! Hover your mouse over the photo to reveal arrows to cycle through all of the pictures.

Working From Home!

If the pictures aren’t loading, or to read each employee’s full caption, click here to view them in another window.

C.I.A. Services Cares
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The Parade at Cedar Creek
by Jo Ann Peterson

Bandera Office Manager, Annette McConnell, along with accounting team members Rose Housos, Cindy Hatthorn, and Jo Ann Peterson, took part in a parade to show support for residents and staff at Cedar Creek Nursing & Rehab Center in Bandera, on Friday, April 24.

A parade that started with a few family members grew to include over a hundred vehicles from several businesses, organizations, and community members. Everyone rallied together (while social distancing, of course) to bring a sense of strength and community to the residents, who have been unable to meet with visitors recently due to COVID-19, and the staff, who dedicate their days and nights to caring for others. It was a great experience to partake in!

Seminar Series
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Community Website Administrator Webinar

This is the required training course for certification as a Community Website Administrator (CWSA) on the C.I.A Services web site (www.ciaservices.com). As a CWSA you’ll be able to maintain the pages for your community. You’ll be able to create news and events, update key personnel, add community information, display photos, conduct surveys, and much more. Being a website administrator is very easy on www.ciaservices.com and you can do it from anywhere you have an Internet connection. All CWSA training is done by webinar in the comfort of your home.

Space is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, please send an email to seminars@ciaservices.com.

 05/14/20 – Thursday

4 – 5 pm

Webinar

 

Community of the Month
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We are proud of every one of our communities, so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • May - Aliana Homeowners Association - Southwest Houston Office - Deniece Reyes
  • April - Remington Ranch Community Association - Humble Office - Jennifer Northington
  • March - Bridlewood Estates Property Owners Association - Southwest Houston Office - Kim Moore
  • February - Hidden Arbor Community Association - Humble Office - Kristen Craig
  • January - Heather Ridge Village Homeowners Association - Humble Office - Kaila Gattis
  • December - Plantation Lakes Community Association - Humble Office - Linda Morris

To see the full story on these communities and to see all of the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our site.

Community Anniversaries
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Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in May.

  • Bay Pointe Community Association — 21 years
  • Crystal Lake Property Owners Association — 20 years
  • Cinco Ranch Residential Association II — 12 years
  • Cinco Ranch Commercial Association II — 12 years
  • Cinco Ranch Southwest Community Council — 12 years
  • Cypresswood Green Property Owners Association — 11 years
  • Atascocita Timbers Homeowners Association — 8 years
  • Bandera Falls Property Owners Association — 8 years
  • CrossRoads at Benders Landing Estates Homeowners Association — 6 years
  • Oak Hill Estates Homeowners Association — 5 years
  • Mathom Landing Homeowners Association — 4 years
  • Rancho Verde Residential Community, Inc. — 4 years
  • The Community Association at Cielo Rio, Inc. — 4 years
  • Artesian Lakes Community Association — 2 years
  • Remington Ranch Community Association — 1 year
Employee Corner
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Administrative Professionals Day 2020

Each April, we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day with special and fun events at each office. In years past, we’ve gone to the movies, golfing, a painting studio, nice restaurants, and so much more! This year, due to COVID-19, we had to come up with a solution to get our employees together remotely. We decided on a two-part surprise.

First, on Administrative Professionals Day (April 22nd), our employees received a gift card for pizza to enjoy with their families.

That Friday, we announced our second surprise: virtual bingo! We assigned everyone to a time slot to play and used an online bingo card generator/number caller. We played the C.I.A. way, where winners had to draw out C.I.A. on their bingo cards, instead of the traditional rows/columns.

It was a really fun time and everybody enjoyed being able to reconnect, as we’re all missing each other’s daily company in our offices.

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Fulfilling Traditions
by Jo Ann Peterson

In our current climate of COVID-19, we have definitely been challenged to fulfill our core value of community.

The residents of the communities we serve are required to be distant from each other, having to cancel or postpone activities intended to bring people together.  Many are distant from their family and friends and places of activity and work.  Our C.I.A. teams and offices are also finding themselves distant from each other, with most working from home.

The Bandera Office has a tradition of celebrating birthdays each month.  They decided to continue that tradition, with a slight twist, in order to respect the current social distance protocol.  An outdoor luncheon was enjoyed by fellow coworkers who haven’t seen each other in a while – all from a safe, talking distance from each other.  The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the reunion was great.

May we all find appropriate ways to stay connected with our relational communities in this challenging time.

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Stockholder Anniversaries

Renea Miksch is celebrating her 35th anniversary with C.I.A. Services! Renea is an Executive Vice President for the company out of our Humble office.  She has a multitude of responsibilities, including managing the Humble Office as the Branch Manager, serving as the Senior Community Manager of a large, master-planned community, as well as handling the marketing needs for the Houston area. Renea keeps busy outside of work attending her daughters’ sports games and functions.
 
Congratulations to Laura Tate on her 27th anniversary! Laura is an Executive Vice President for the company out of our Humble office as well as a General Manager for a master-planned community. When Laura is not at work, you can frequently find her enjoying a music concert with her daughters and friends. Her musical tastes range from classical to alternative and everything in between.
 
Margie De La Cruz is celebrating her 20-year anniversary! Margie is a Clerical Assistant of our Southwest Houston office, and is one of the most organized people we know! She enjoys the occasional game of Loteria and is the proud mother of 4 and grandmother to 3 fur babies. 
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New Stockholder Anniversaries

Congratulations to Leticia Burchard for reaching 5 years with C.I.A. Services! Leticia is the Receptionist at our San Antonio office and lends a helping hand to anyone in need. When she isn’t at work, Leticia enjoys making arts and crafts and spending time with her husband and 3 children.
 
Jessica Soto is also celebrating 5 years with us! Jessica is a Home Improvement Coordinator at our Humble office. She has a big heart and is willing to help wherever and whenever, and she never fails to make everyone laugh. Outside of work, Jessica loves spending time with her husband and 3 children, and their dog Stark and cat Avagato.
Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions, and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.