Charlotte Presensky, CPRP
City of Palm Beach Gardens Leisure Services Administrator
"Charlotte Presensky, member of FRPA, NRPA, and FCCMA, is a true believer in public service and the impact that Parks & Recreation services can have on a community. Throughout her career, Charlotte has held many positions in this field, ranging from entry level to Director, and has had the honor of working with communities all over to provide programs, parks, and facilities that benefit individuals and families. As an advocate for the profession, Charlotte believes in helping staff and other professionals grow their skills and knowledge in the field. She has contributed to the FRPA Journal and has presented educational sessions to local Parks and Recreation groups. Charlotte has stated many times that she “owes her career to those she met through FRPA” and wants to continue that legacy through volunteering for the FRPA Board as Vice President of Finance.
Native of Michigan, Charlotte graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.A. in Commercial Recreation and Facility Management and a minor in Business Administration. She continued her educational platform by receiving a Public Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University. Charlotte recently passed the Certified Parks and Recreation Executive (CPRE) exam, after being a CPRP for most of her career. In 2006, Charlotte was recognized by the NRPA Citizen Branch with the “Professional Excellence Award” for her work with volunteer boards. Most recently, Charlotte volunteered to serve on the FRPA Economic Impact and Development Pillar committee and is a mentor in the NRPA/AAPRA Mentor Program.
When not working, Charlotte competes in one half marathon a year and loves to vacation. While at home, you will most likely find her in the backyard landscaping and simply enjoying the outdoors!"
Why do you want to serve FRPA as Vice President of Finance?
"I am seeking the Vice President of Finance position to give back to the association that helped build my career while supporting Parks and Recreation professionals across our state. I intend to be a positive member of the Board to help further the mission of FRPA during this challenging time. I can commit to the time and energy needed for this position, and will pledge to find innovative ways to support the financial stability of the association."
What tools/resources do you utilize to stay on the cutting edge in the Parks, Recreation and Leisure profession, and where would you look to gain insight into what lies ahead as far as challenges and changes in the next five years?
"Staying on the cutting edge is a constant scan through information pipelines from inside and outside (public administration, not-for-profit, business) of the profession. For me, that includes daily inbox reading from sources like NRPA and FRPA, multiple SmartBrief newsletters, FCCMA’s CM’s, and Florida’s Sayfie Morning Review. These provide visionary concepts and “hints” into where the shifts are occurring in our profession, public service, management techniques, and strategic planning concepts.
Cutting edge also means stepping out of comfort zones into new technology and “ways” of doing business. I am active in networking with other Parks & Recreation Professionals and local/state Public Administrators. Staying relevant fuels my desire to dig deep into thoughts and concepts surrounding public service. I seek new knowledge through organizations such as FCCMA, ICMA, LERN, USTA, USGA, AOAP, and a host of other recreational related avenues.
For me, insight is also drawn from connections to the business community. Business sector relationships have been valuable as we have built a self-funding model of recreation services and for when we have needed support to shift our service direction.
I believe that gaining awareness on future challenges and changes takes the ability to listen, research, and sift information to draw conclusions. Sometimes this means challenging myself to think differently. Although nothing can replace continuing education and expansion of knowledge, attendance at NRPA and FRPA events is crucial along with active participation in the organization. This is how we further the profession.
Lastly, gaining insight on what lies ahead means to keep my eyes wide open, pay attention to clues, and not to become complacent in the successes of the past. As we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to pivot is essential, but it does not happen by accident. It takes dedication and a clear vision."
What do you believe to be the greatest opportunity for revenue growth at the Association?
"As I am not aware of current and past Board discussions, the thoughts below might have already been vetted. What I do want to convey is that I am submitting my application for the Board because I feel a responsibility to dedicate time to support our profession and Association. Of course, all these concepts would need to be vetted to be in compliance with Mission, Vision, Goals and Articles of Incorporation.
Concept #1: Fiscal sustainability is not just a revenue stream. It is a comprehensive coordinated effort to leverage the credibility of an organization into sustainable membership, partner collaboration, and funding possibilities. This is a circular reliance that must be cultivated. Budgets of our agencies and partners could be diminishing and that will directly affect the Association. To me, the largest growth opportunity is to raise the value of membership for professionals while raising the intrinsic benefit partners cultivate from their relationships with the membership. Would a targeted branding initiative centered on “membership value = partner value” produce sustainable outcomes?
Concept #2: Of concern in the current pandemic situation is declining budgets for agencies. That most certainly will affect membership and/or educational session attendance. Are we able to identify barriers to membership and/or develop innovative ways to open membership to more of those who work and study in the field?
Concept #3:Collaborate with partners to provide “excellence in learning” virtually. Not all programs have to be offered directly by FRPA. Is there a way to partner with other organizations to share e-learning and the revenue? If taken one step futher, is it possible for the Association to assume smaller organizations of similar interest? Are there revenue possibilities?
Concept #4: Continue to support and partner with the Foundation. In preparation for applying for this position, I have spent a significant amount of time educating myself with a deep knowledge of the Association and Foundation. I was surprised to find that there are three ways to raise funds for the Foundation. The health of the Foundation has a direct impact on the Association. We must find a way to assist them in expanding their reach.
Concept #5: USTA and Soccer have had successful revenue streams through the Florida license plate program. Could it work for FRPA or the Foundation?"
One of the greatest challenges facing FRPA is the delivery of innovative and applicable professional development opportunities. What approach would you employ towards identifying potential training opportunities and how would you determine their overall effectiveness in meeting the needs of the membership? What strategy would you utilize for the development and implementation of these development opportunities?
"From an approach standpoint, I would employ the same line of thinking I have for my staff. Their professional growth is a priority for me. From their first day, staff are encouraged to participate in FRPA and to seek certification. From there, I develop training opportunities that build on their broad professional skills. FRPA has a good mix of training topics and methods that should be continued. To expand, I would like to evaluate if hiring professional speakers for a virtual series of sessions would be beneficial. We recently conducted a virtual Leadership Training with our staff. It was an eight-week, one hour per week course that was a success for our team.
I continue to believe that the value of FRPA is the ability for professionals to network both informally and formally. With declining budgets, it might prove to be valuable to develop a pipeline of peer to peer, thought provoking information sharing platforms.
I humbly suggest that adding a Strategic Plan Pillar for Professional Development would demonstrate a concentrated focus to the membership and their personal development. Through this effort we could assess on an annual basis the effectiveness of education and professional development."
To what extent are you involved in the budgeting process at your agency? Please include your experience with financial analysis and long term financial forecasting and planning.
"As the Department Head, I am responsible for formulating, presenting, and monitoring operating and capital expense budgets. Each year we start the process as a zero-base budget across all Divisions of the Department. Starting at zero includes decision making about programming and services to start, stop or continue. Each Division must include a revenue stream projection that supports their spending requests. We utilize detailed analytic reports to establish past trends and help make decisions going forward.
During the City budget process, Department Heads complete a 5-year forecast of capital expenditures (projects and operational plans) and a 10-year expense forecast. This has allowed the City to stabilize its budget so that unexpected situations such as COVID-19 have less impact.
In addition to the budgeting process, I am responsible for setting the fiscal policies of the Department. This includes operational cash handling, merchandising/inventory, sponsorship/partners, Public-Private partnerships, scholarships, and fees."
Please explain your understanding of the relationship between FRPA and the FRPA Foundation, and share any thoughts you may have on how the two organizations can work together for mutual benefit.
"My understanding is that the relationship is one of support and commitment to further the Parks and Recreation Profession. As a separate entity, the Foundation has the mission to carry out its purpose, much of which is to the benefit of the Association and members of our profession. I have been a financial supporter of the Foundation because I believe in the purpose. I would like to see the current path continue. As an FRPA Board Member, I will be an advocate for the growth and expansion of the Foundation.
I have mentioned many times throughout this application the word credibility. The Impact Calculator is a giant shift in presenting the value of Parks & Recreation. I feel each entity would benefit from continued development of this vision."