Fulkerson: Challenges Present Opportunities for Reston Association

Speaking at Reston Association’s annual Members’ Meeting on Tuesday, CEO Cate Fulkerson said she is looking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by challenges RA has faced in the past year.

“For anyone who knows my leadership style, I’m not one who walks away from a challenge or ignores difficulties,” Fulkerson said as she addressed the audience. “I believe in taking responsibility for errors, correcting them so they do not happen again, and I believe in finding opportunity in difficulty.”

Specifically, the difficulties of which Fulkerson spoke included the controversy surrounding the Tetra/Lake House renovation, concerns about how RA handles conflicts of interest, and the public input process regarding the Lake Newport soccer field proposal. Moving forward, Fulkerson said she understands the importance of building community trust and continuing on the path of leading sustainable change.

Fulkerson said she and her staff have a number of important tasks to complete in order for that to happen. The first, she said, is to establish a solid foundation with the incoming board — based, she said, on mutual respect, reciprocal communications and shared purpose.

The CEO said the StoneTurn Group review of the Tetra/Lake House deal highlighted several ways Reston Association can work toward bettering internal control policies and procedures for project management. She said she is developing a proposal along with RA CFO Robert Wood that includes the conduct of an internal process control and a walk-through review of RA’s purchasing practices, contract processing and capital-project management.

“The goal will be to have a new system in place by August of this year, so we can take the opportunity to invite StoneTurn to audit the Association in 2018 and to make sure the new processes and policies are being followed,” Fulkerson said.

Continuing work to establish a Code of Ethics for Reston Association is also on Fulkerson’s list of tasks, as she said it is of utmost importance as they work to build community trust.

In regard to new development, Fulkerson said Reston National Golf Course, Tall Oaks Village Center and St. John’s Wood are just some examples of “how vitally important it is for Reston Association to keep on track with leading sustainable change by vigilantly monitoring land-use happenings and advocating for trees, trails and thoughtful design.”

Fulkerson said community input is important to all decisions made by Reston Association. She said listening meetings are being planned for May and June in each of Reston’s districts to gather feedback on what matters most to RA members.

“Our interest is to engage you in conversation,” she said. “The timing of these listening meetings goes hand-in-hand with the development of the 2018 and 2019 Capital and Operating budgets.”

In addition to inviting feedback at the upcoming meetings, the CEO encouraged members to fill out request/suggestion forms for the budget.

Full video of Fulkerson’s speech is available through the Reston Association YouTube channel.

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