EXPERTS LANE n CELEBRATING OCPA'S WOMEN Women in Power By Rick Singh, CFA Orange County Property Appraiser A s a nod to both Women’s History Month in March, and to IBA Success Magazine’s “Women in Power” theme for this month’s issue, I am proud to share with you a few of the wonderful women who comprise about half of the total staff at the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office (OCPA). All of the roles within the Agency are filled by some 146 capable men and women, but we are fortunate to have some out- standing women in key roles. Still, even though it is 2019, women are often challenged in the workplace in ways that men are not. As a society we still ask most working women to be primarily re- sponsible for keeping their homes run- ning smoothly. Make no mistake about it, gone are the days when men didn’t partic- ipate in homemaking and nurturing their children. But, even though we’ve made a lot of progress in blurring the dividing lines of responsibilities, it still seems at least slightly unequal. This was made evi- dent to me when discussing the challeng- es with a few members of the OCPA team. 4 IBA Success Magazine n VOL 5, Issue 2 l-r: Barbara Jubran, Grace Pope, Usha Tewari, Midge Smith, Melissa Martin, Beth Watson, Camille Smith, Wendy Barfield, and Tatsiana Sokalava • The Chief Operating Officer at OCPA since 2016, Tatsiana Sokalava, is a work- ing mother of two who was raised by a single mother. She readily admits to needing to wear multiple “hats” while employing advanced organizational skills to get it all done. In leading the entire agency’s operation, she considers women and men as equally important contributors who add different kinds of value in the workplace. When working together, men and women can leverage their value to form strong teams. • Camille Smith, OCPA’s Director of Commercial Real Estate Assessment, has been in the industry for more than 30 years and leads a team of 28 apprais- ers and analysts. Gender aside, one of her biggest challenges is hiring qualified candidates in a competitive labor mar- ket. She also feels that she’s able to share with candidates that OCPA is an excellent place for women to work — and that women often ascend to leadership roles. She, too, values the innate multi- tasking skills that most women readily employ. • Another Director, Grace Pope, has 16 team members in the Tangible Personal Property department. She has observed evolving work habits during her career that has spanned almost 24 years, along with some reluctance to change. While Grace believes that OCPA offers the APPRAISER’S From the COO to front line representa- tives, women play a critical part in ensur- ing that the work of the agency is done accurately, efficiently, and professionally. Their unique gifts of multi-tasking are in- valuable at OCPA, where we are charged with appraising and valuing over 450,000 parcels of residential and commercial property, and some 60,000-business prop- erty accounts every year. In addition, we assist almost 10,000 customers in person and nearly 70,000 more on the phone. Because of our excellent staff in special- ized departments, we are able to meet our goals and serve the taxpayers quickly and efficiently. No doubt, the women on these teams are essential to our success.