In July, Rossie Cruz was elected president of the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) Board of Directors after serving as a member for five years, most recently as vice president.
A 17-year resident and two-time Volunteer of the Month (most recently in April), Rossie has served the Issaquah Highlands community in numerous ways over the years. In a Q&A, Rossie answers why she continues to serve on the IHCA board, how the board uniquely serves the community, and ways residents can engage with board members.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve worked for Costco for almost 30 years. I am the circulation manager for the Costco Connection publication – one of the most widely distributed magazines in the country, distributing 16 million copies each month.
In 2004, after Costco moved its corporate headquarters to Issaquah from Kirkland, I moved from Kirkland to Issaquah Highlands to shorten my commute. The community was just beginning then, and I was lucky to find the right home for me in the Crofton Springs neighborhood. My home is the perfect size for me; I love the western views and watching the sunsets.
Why did you first join the IHCA Board of Directors?
Before I joined the board, I served on the Crofton Springs neighborhood committee. My neighbor and fellow committee member Larry Norton also served on an IHCA committee and invited me to attend a board meeting. While some people might think board meetings are geeky, I thought it was really interesting and wanted to learn more. When I was appointed to the board in 2016, I was flattered and totally interested.
Now in your third term, what motivates you to continue serving on the board?
I’ve never lived in a community quite like ours. We really do have a strong sense of unity. While we may have small problems from time to time, as all communities do, we are very lucky to have such a strong sense of community here in Issaquah Highlands. I want the IHCA to continue to do its part in promoting solidarity while keeping our property values up and fostering a green lifestyle.
How does the IHCA Board of Directors serve the community?
I got involved with the IHCA board because I wanted to know how my homeowner’s association (HOA) dues were spent. While the IHCA is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the community – things all HOAs are designed to do to keep your neighborhood looking good – it does so much more. I now know it does things like maintain our community gardens, care for our amazing parks, and ensure we have important amenities and services, like dog waste receptacles.
The board’s role is also hard to define because it is so broad. We are not dictators. Our intention is always to do what is best for the community while within the bounds of our rules and laws. We try to guide and shape our community.
Most communities are not as large as Issaquah Highlands and do not have board positions by district. Our community is so different and includes different types of housing. Residents might not ever see all the different parts of our community or drive down every street. In having representation by district, board members feel a little more responsible for their neighborhoods. Board members talk to their neighbors and know what’s going on in their district.
Board members are volunteers; we have jobs and bring diverse professional experiences to our board positions. It’s exciting to have new board members this year, and I look forward to getting to know them. Ultimately, we all want what’s best for our neighbors.
What do you see as the board’s top priority?
I think our top priority should be continuing to ensure our association is financially sound with well-funded reserves. The IHCA Finance Committee watches over our finances and provides regular updates to the board. We must take care of our community and preserve property values to keep Issaquah Highlands a place where people want to live.
How can residents engage with the board?
Outside of attending board meetings (which are open to the public), I like the IHCA mobile app. Residents can use the “Ask the IHCA” form feature to ask questions or report concerns. You can also email the board or call the IHCA office using the app.
Vicki Grunewald is the Highlands Council media editor, and a Harrison Street resident.