We’re beginning a new series of blog posts called “Meet Our Staff” where we’d like to introduce you the employees you’re sure to see when you come to visit us here at the Manassas Park Community Center. Kicking off the series is an interview with Brenda Diaz.
Brenda started as a Front Desk Representative in 2011 and was promoted to Front Desk Supervisor in February 2014. Working at the front desk, her responsibilities include helping customers enroll in activities, selling memberships, selling rentals and as a supervisor she helps manage the front desk representatives and assists in situations such as patron injuries or weather emergencies.
What drew you to working at the community center?
Actually, it was thanks to DC Webb. I was working at Qdoba and he had come in a few times. After chatting with me one day, he gave me his business card and told me the community center was hiring and that I should speak with Jay Swisher. DC seemed to like the way I worked with customers and how I would chat with them to make them feel more welcome at the store.
What should somebody expect when they come to the front desk?
A lot of people know they can do transactions at the front desk but we can do so much more than that. If you’ve never taken a tour with us, we’ll be glad to walk you through the entire facility and show you spaces that you may not know we have. In addition, we provide all the information you need for memberships, programs, and rentals. If you need more details on any topic, we will put you in contact with the best administrative staff member who can help you further.
How can somebody make the most of their time at the front desk?
When it comes to assisting customers at the front, we want to make sure we provide all the information we can but we also want to respect their time. We’re happy to take our time with a customer to ensure they understand all the details of their transaction. We also know that our patrons are busy participating in many of our programs, so we also want to make sure that the transactions at the front desk are quick when they should be.
Anytime the MOSAIC, our program catalog, comes out it’s always super busy at the front desk. Having all of your programs written down on a list let’s us mass enroll your family so quickly. Online enrollment is a great option too, but make sure you contact the front desk either in person or by phone so we can sync up your online account with your membership account.
When it comes to payment, if you want to pay by check don’t forget to bring your driver’s license. We have to write down driver’s license information on every check we take at the front desk. A lot of our extended care parents pay by check so what many of them will do is write down their info on the check for us and then we can process it super fast. By the time they’ve picked up their kid from the classroom, we have their extended care receipt ready to hand to them.
When you come to take a tour of the banquet hall for rentals, make sure you write down all the questions you want answered. Many times when you come to see the space your mind is flowing with all kinds of ideas – seating arrangement, decorations, etc. – and learning about our facility policies. It’s super easy to forget all the important questions you want answered. Writing your questions down ahead of time allows us to walk you through the answers step-by-step!
Also don’t forget to ask us about Kids Korner! A lot of our parents don’t realize that we have a service where we can watch their kids for up to two hours while they work out or take a program. If your child is part of your membership, Kids Korner is included!
What is something our patrons may not know about you?
Actually a lot of people are always surprised when I tell them I have a son! I also love to chat with the customers, so come and stop by the front desk and ask how Antonio is doing in school!
What are your favorite programs here at the community center?
There are two that come to mind immediately. When I had the All Access Passport I signed up Antonio for the kids soccer program called Lil’ Strikers and he absolutely loved it. Also, the first and only class I took myself was the turtle pie baking class. I got the All Access Passport for Antonio but I decided to give a program a try for myself. I especially loved learning how to make caramel – it’s a lot easier than I expected but there are certain rules you have to know to make sure it works every time.
I also really loved working out with Alan one of our personal trainers. I worked with him for 4 months doing personal training including flipping those big tires. I also participated in several bootcamp classes which Alan teaches every Saturday at 8am.
What is your other job?
Monday through Thursday I work as a full time medical assistant at Shimla Medical Center for Dr. Gupta and Dr. Antus. I currently assist them with their patients such as taking vitals, hearing chief complaints, pre-ops, preparing injections, EKGs, helping with prescription refills, lab orders (like for blood work), and getting records from hospitals or other doctors when we need them.
How did you get interested in the medical field?
Really I wanted to pursue a career that had lots of opportunities for advancement. I got my Associate’s in Applied Science in 2013 and I’d like to go back to school – I just haven’t decided which opportunity to pursue! I could become a registered nurse or a lab tech for example. Lately, I’ve been most interested in becoming a phlebotomist.
What was your first job?
My very first job was working as a server at the Fairmont Assisted Living Home. I started there in 2008, when I was still a senior in high school – and worked there for 2 years. I absolutely loved that job. I especially loved talking with the seniors and hearing about their life stories.
Here at the community center, I like working in the morning because that’s when most seniors come to visit the facility. I talk a lot with Bonnie and Judy especially because they’re here early on Friday for Pickleball.
What’s your favorite food?
I absolutely love pizza – I can’t live without it. I also really like Olive Garden’s shrimp alfredo. When I’m at home, I’ll slice up avocados and eat them plain or if I’m looking for a true comfort food I’ll eat it with beans and cheese. It’s really tasty and healthy!
What’s your favorite local restaurant?
I love going to Jireh for their taro bubble teas. They are a tiny Asian bakery in Centreville. Sometimes I’ll get one of their pastries to go with my bubble tea. My favorites are their strawberry custard bread and macarons.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my son, Antonio. We’ll go to the park or to Chuck E. Cheese’s but what I really like to do is go to Shenandoah National Park and take pictures on Skyline Drive. Sometimes Antonio and I will just drive around and see if we can find something new to try together or if there are any outdoor events going on we can check out. I cannot wait for it to be warm again!