IBA SUCCESS MAGAZINE Issue 2 Volume 5 - Page 7

same opportunities to women that they do to men, she also notes that the deli- cate balance of women’s professional and personal roles remains a challenge. • Wendy Barfield, a Supervisor in Deeds and Research, has a wealth of experi- ence in property appraisal work from two counties in Florida and currently leads a team of four. Her unique experi- ence as an African American woman in the workplace gives her a different per- spective — that it is more difficult for women of color to ascend to leadership roles. Still, she sees “a lot of women in great positions” at OCPA, and her big- gest challenge as a leader is to get all the work done in a timely manner while keeping morale up. • OCPA’s Manager of Customer Service and Outreach, Usha Tewari, shares a similar commitment to her team of 14, by trying to “inspire, educate and moti- vate” her employees every day. Believ- ing that a “strong mind is the most pow- erful tool a woman can possess,” Usha challenges women to seek out OCPA’s many opportunities for success. Also, as the primary care provider for a relative with health challenges, Usha notes that the need for self-care is so important for working women who are pulled in many directions. • Another Manager with lots of experi- ence, Melissa Martin leads the Residen- tial Field Appraisal team and takes her responsibility for their training very seri- ously. She nurtures them to seek addi- tional educational opportunities to en- hance their growth and promotion prospects within OCPA. Very proud of OCPA’s women, Melissa finds them to be professional and dedicated. • OCPA’s HR Manager, Barbara Jubran, has been in the HR profession for many years, and has been involved in innova- tive initiatives that have resulted in more opportunities for women. Although OCPA is fortunate to have low turnover, her biggest challenge is talent acquisit- ion because low unemployment and in- creasing job opportunities in our market make it hard to hire high-quality candi- dates. The work environment at OCPA is respectful and inclusive for both men and women with equal opportunities to grow. • Midge Smith, Supervisor of Exemptions and Compliance, has been with OCPA for nine years and manages a staff of seven. Her biggest challenge is finding ways to get the job done better, faster, and easier…AND to have a little fun in the process. As for women in the work place in general, Midge — who has worked professionally for some 30 years — says, “we’ve come a long way, but we need to get paid more.” • The newest member of OCPA’s group of women in leadership roles, Beth Watson, Manager of Communications and External Affairs, also has a wealth of industry experience and has seen prog- ress in workplace issues for women. As for the unrealistic goal of women “hav- ing it all” at work and at home, Beth is not so sure. “It has not been my experi- ence that you can have it all, but you can come pretty close.” Recent research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research indicates that it is still a “man’s world” in the U.S. labor market. On average, men still earn more for the same job and women are dispro- portionately penalized for taking time out of their careers. On a national level, this must change. Under my leadership at OCPA, we are committed to ensuring that we are a fam- ily-friendly place to work and that both men and women are valued and com- pensated appropriately and equitably. In addition, our office was one of the first government agencies to set a minimum hourly wage of $15 so that everyone who works here receives a living wage. I’m so proud of my staff…and so blessed to have the level of talent and commit- ment that they all represent. In honor of this magazine’s celebration of women, I am especially grateful for the women at OCPA who are giving 100% at work and at home every day. Rick Singh, CFA Orange County Property Appraiser VOL 5, Issue 2 n IBASuccessMagazine.com 5