ROC leaders visit other co-ops to learn, share expertise

TAUNTON, Mass. — After promising at the inaugural ROC Leadership Institute to build more connections with her regional neighbors, Kathy Zorotheos and other members of the Oak Hill Manufactured Home Community Board of Directors have hit the road to attend the Board meetings at other Massachusetts ROCs.  

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Kathy Zorotheos, President of the Oak Hill Taunton Board of Directors, and other Board members visited other ROCs in Massachusetts.

Zorotheos, along with Bill Fisher and Merrie Levy, have already visited two communities: Colonial Estates, which is right across the street from their Taunton, Mass., neighborhood, and Conifer Green, a Kingston, Mass. community that’s one of the newest ROCs in the state. 

“I found it very educational,” she said. 

Zorotheos said she’s always been curious to see how others govern their communities. She and the other Board Members use the Community bylaws and receive coaching from their ROC USA® Network affiliate, Cooperative Development Institute, but she always wanted to see if there were other ways to do business. 

“We didn’t have anything to compare it to,” she said. 

Learning about matters like how to work with a Maintenance Committee has been educational, but not all of the lessons have been as technical as this. Zorotheos said one of the biggest lessons the group learned was just how the Board at Colonial Estates sets up its table for meetings. 

“They have theirs in an ‘L’ shape,” she said. 

This small thing was something the Board has already implemented for when they hold their meetings now, allowing those who attend to hear and engage better with what’s going on. 

“That’s just a perfect example,” she said. “Just seeing their layout was perfect for us.” 

Board Members from Colonial Estates and Conifer Green have also come to Oak Hill for a tour of the community, helping to further strengthen the relationship between ROCs. Building this network with their local peers is a vital way to help others, particularly newer ROCs, learn. 

“If they have a question, they know they could always ask us,” Zorotheos said. “They know we’re available if they need assistance.” 

Zorotheos said they plan to visit more communities in the coming months, like Halifax Estates in Halifax, Mass., and Town and Country Estates in Kingston, Mass. She said she’s particularly interested in how the Halifax Estates Board runs, since the 430-home community is nearly twice the size of Oak Hill. 

She highly recommends that others visit communities near them as well.  

“If people have communities near them, they should absolutely visit them,” she said. 

Along with the new tips they picked up, the experience also reinforced a lot of the things the Oak Hill Board is already doing by seeing others do the same. 

“It made me feel even more confident about ourselves,” Zorotheos said.