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Being in the Right Place

December 19, 2018

Ana Serrano, Senior Property Manager at Hillcrest Village Apartments, was featured in The National Affordable Housing Management Association's Winter 2018 Update

When Ana Serrano’s husband passed away 12 years ago, she decided to move from Florida back north with her two young sons. The decision was an easy one for her. She and her late husband had family in the area. In fact, Serrano, who was born in Puerto Rico, split her time between the islands growing up—Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.

“I used to say when I retire I’m going to spend three months—January, February and March—in Puerto Rico and the rest of the time in Rhode Island,” she said. “I have always considered Rhode Island my home.”

Once she resettled, she saw an advertisement for a position with POAH Communities. She has been there ever since. Today, Serrano is the senior property manager at Hillcrest Village Apartments, a 130-unit property for seniors and residents with disabilities.

Despite not having any experience in the affordable housing industry, she figured her skill set would translate in the new setting.

“I read the requirements for the position and said I can do that since I managed 13 clubs [for the corporate office of Broward County Boys & Girls Club],” Serrano said. “The difference, this is subsidized housing and tax credit. If there is something I don’t know, I will learn it.”

She said the work is challenging and keeps you busy, but that she would not have it any other way.

“We all have those moments when you want to throw your hands up,” Serrano said. “But if you are in the right place, eventually you just open your eyes and say, ‘Yes, this is where I’m supposed to be.’”

In addition to her work with POAH, Serrano is a board member for NEAHMA and the Rhode Island chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management. She also holds several industry credentials.

Her twin sons, 22, share her work ethic and love of learning. Both boys attend Rhode Island College where Jose is studying law and Jerardo is earning a degree in accounting.

“I told them when they were in high school to have a Plan A, then a Plan B and even a Plan C,” Serrano said. “And to even know what you are going to do if Plan C doesn’t work.”

However, it is not all work and no play for Serrano and her boys. This past summer, the trio planned a series of day trips including hiking Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Mass., and visiting Wachusett Brewing Company located in Westminster, Mass., where she said beer was good and the food truck had the best fish tacos she ever tasted in her life.

“I love the outdoors, especially hiking in the mountains. When you are on top of that mountain, you feel like you can conquer the world,” Serrano said.

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