by Ashley Dietz, Marketing Director, Campbell Property Management
This is the first post in an ongoing series where we will recognize an outstanding Director from a community association in South Florida.
Serving on the Board of a Community Association is a challenging and often thankless job. There are thousands of dedicated volunteers in South Florida that have stepped up to lead their communities and we hope this series serves as a reminder to us all – to thank those that have invested their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live.
Jay Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from Rutger’s University in 1949. He met the love of his life, Audrey at a graduation party. They later married and have celebrated more than 62 years together!
In 1950, Jay was called into the army and was sent to Germany. After his service in the military was complete, Jay started selling insurance for the Prudential Life Insurance Company. Later, he was a Vice President of Marketing and a Registered Principal of Securities. Jay and Audrey moved to Florida from Philadelphia in 1979.
Jay Gross has served on the Palm Aire 12 board in Pompano Beach for the past 26 years. When Jay retired, he found his second act in community service, starting on the board when he was put in charge of the landscaping committee. “Landscaping grabbed me and became my life,” Jay said. His love of landscaping is why Palm Aire 12 is considered to be one of the most beautifully landscaped areas in all of Palm Aire.
I spoke with Jay about what it has been like for him to serve on the board:
Ashley: What made you decide to be on the board?
Jay: I wanted to see a change in the appearance, landscaping and operations of the community. I did not want to complain; I wanted to make a change. In November 1987, I attended a board meeting. At the end of the meeting, I spoke up about my dissatisfaction with the current landscaping. So, they put me in charge of the landscaping committee. The landscaping of the community became my life.
Ashley: What do you love most about being on the board?
Jay: I love the changes we made in the appearance of this place. We changed the color scheme of the buildings and we improved the overall landscaping. My favorite thing about serving on the board has been helping to make these positive changes to the appearance of our community.
Ashley: What is the most challenging aspect of being on the board?
Jay: With the large number of units we have (331), it is extremely hard to get a consensus on decisions. You can never make everyone happy. There are politics involved. Working hard to get everyone to understand why we needed to make these appearance changes has been the biggest challenge I have faced.
Ashley: What piece of advice would you share with other board members?
Jay: Being a director on the board of a community association does not mean going to a meeting once a month. Becoming a director on the board is full of responsibility and you must be willing to fully immerse yourself in the task. Every job on the board is important. Every job and operation can be improved; never accept the status quo.
Jay also serves on the Palm Aire United Board, which is concerned with all of Palm Aire. He was recently honored at a special dinner for his 26 years of service in Palm Aire.
Thank You Jay!