Today is the last working day for Judy Lawrence at Central Dallas CDC. She is leaving Dallas to move to Mexico with her new husband, David. Judy joined us two years ago after she moved from Milwaukee to Dallas for family reasons. She’d worked there for a large national real estate company—in fact Judy has more experience in real estate than the whole rest of us put together.
I think the way we work shocked her at first. We’re about as far from corporate organization as you can get. Everybody is in one big room and we holler back and forth among ourselves all the time, and everybody doesn’t just include the few employees at Central Dallas CDC. We share space with Brown Architects and the buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, and have a slew of other volunteers and miscellaneous people—all in our 1200 sq. ft. and we all yell back and forth at one another.
The dog from upstairs wonders down sometimes; our office is across the street from a tattoo parlor.
Once Judy acclimated to us, she showed an amazing combination of skills. She is kind and patient to the many desperate people that call us seeking housing. I’m sure many of you could be kind and patient with one call or a few calls, but Judy remains just as good to people on a day when she gets 20 or more calls and during a week when she gets more than 100. She manages our apartment complexes—much better than we ever did before—and works with our property management companies. Judy has taken the lead in organizing all the owner’s responsibilities for opening CityWalk@Akard (our new 15-story affordable housing project), and that means everything from interviewing tenants to ordering the flags that will fly from the top of the building.
Every time there was something we didn’t know how to do, or didn’t do well, Judy had all the skills we needed to complete the job.
Nobody in the eight years Central Dallas CDC has been in existence has ever left us before. Once we hire someone they stay with us. It’s like a family. You can’t really quit it.
So I’m just going to treat her absence as an extended honeymoon with her new husband. That way I can believe that her absence is only temporary and one day soon, when they’ve had their fill of Mexico, she’ll be back to work with us.