Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walking The Public Me, Private Me Line

Elected officials walk the line, all day, every day
Over the last month or so, I've had a heightened awareness of my potential influence as a public figure. Even 5 years into serving as an elected trustee for the Village of Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees, I am still often surprised by how blurry the line is between my public self and my private self.

Make no mistake, what you see is what you get. My public persona is so very closely tied to who I am in private. However, because of two recent hot current events in the US,  I've been forced to think about the line I walk and how it affects those in my sphere of influence.

First, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been sending waves across all media over the last few weeks. Of course, I've been "challenged" just like anyone else possibly reading this blog. I chose to quietly make a donation to ALS and not participate in a dousing, video or announcement of the such.

By the some of the commentary in various strings of my social media as well as evidenced in texts, calls or private messages, this was not a very popular move.

"You're a leader - why aren't you doing it?"

"People listen to you, don't you want to use your influence for good?"

Two of the many messages I got during my refusal to do the challenge.

Secondly, I was constantly questioned (publicly and privately)  in the aftermath of the controversial killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager from Ferguson MO. Over the last two weeks since his death, I have made a handful of posts that generated oh, so many comments and debate. I am not going to post some of the the things people sent me privately about that, but I will say this.

Elected officials are people first.  We have feelings, thoughts and reactions - just as you do.

While I walk a line between my public persona and my private self - I am acutely aware that people are watching and listening. 99% of every month, I am representing just me and my own personal views. The 1% of every month (and that creeps to 5% depending on the issues we are facing) that I am serving the residents of the Village of Lake in the Hills, I represent, as best I can, the best interests of the 30,000 people who live in our borders.

That said, I am proud of my values and views. I don't shy away from much. However, I'm not particularly fond of cold water and my schedule has been very pressed as an entrepreneur this August.  Further,  I am completely exhausted by the heightened racial tensions we've experienced in the US since 2008. And that timing just so happens to coincide with my time as an elected official.

Forgive me if it appears that I am lacking interest in the two hottest topics sweeping our nation. Public and private Denise Barreto is indeed processing these and I am happy to have one-on-one conversations about this with anyone who reaches out. But don't creep my social media tabs looking for soundbites or video clips. There won't be much.

I'm too busy changing the world, one relationship at a time.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Home Stretch

With 7 days left in the 2013 Election cycle, you will find me spending all this time talking to voters door-to-door.

Reminding voters of the accomplishments so far and the work I'd still like to do for the Village of Lake in the Hills.

In case you don't see me or my crew door-to-door, here goes:

Co-lead a team to tackle a minor parking issue that was causing major distress to working Lake in the Hills residents that resulted in an ordinance/code alteration

Used my vision casting talents to assist Parks and Recreation department in creating a new mission statement and direction

Lead a cross-functional strategic marketing planning committee to leverage better our Lake in the Hills C3K airport benefits and features for the flying public

Built relationships on behalf of the village on both the county and state levels

Oversaw management of finances from difficult cost-cutting mode when I entered office to the ability to  extend tax levy DECREASES for the last two consecutive years

Driving our village to create and execute a strategic plan to proactively set a course of action for the next 5 - 10 years.

This is just a sampling of the work I've done and would like to continue as village trustee for Lake in the Hills.

As always - I am open and available to chat about any topic listed or others that have your attention. Leave a comment here or feel free to call me at 708.917.7696.

Don't forget to vote - now thru Saturday early voting or next Tuesday April 9.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

3 Reasons You Should Send Me Back To The Board!

Signs you may see around town starting tomorrow!
I'm baaaaaaack!

Happy day to anyone breezing by! Chances are you are on this page because you are curious to learn more about Denise Barreto - candidate for Lake in the Hills Trustee Board.

Thanks for coming by. And yes - you are in the right place. The online home for the 2013 re-election campaign for Denise Barreto.

I am excited to be running for Village trustee again in 2013. Over the next 6 weekends you may see me out and about telling my story and asking for your vote. If by chance we don't connect personally, I wanted to have a place where you can hear the top three reasons I want to go back to the Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees:

Proven Leadership

Four years ago when I asked for your vote, you had to trust me on my leadership that was mostly honed in corporate America. Since then, I've served you on the board of trustees and am proud of my service thus far. Additionally, I've started a strategic business firm serving organizations from many industries including government and non-profit agencies. Over the last few years, I've become a trusted resource for employee development within parks and recreation agencies across the state of Illinois. Being a leader and developing leaders within other organizations is a great reason to send me back to the board.

Represents Working Families and Small Business

Over the last four years, I have continued to help others get elected in McHenry County keeping me close to our residents and their concerns. The Barretos are a working class family and we understand the concerns working families have around property taxes, public services, safety and other topics. Lake in the Hills has been and continues to be a great, affordable community for working families. We want to keep it that way. As an entrepreneur, I also have a unique perspective on the concerns small businesses have in our village. Lake in the Hills needs to continue to be a place where small business can grow and thrive.

Serving You Well Now

I'd like to go back to the board for another term because I am currently serving the residents of Lake in the Hills well. For two consecutive years, we have REDUCED the tax levy on your property tax obligation to Lake in the Hills. Yes, not held steady - reduced. Our staff has worked hard to serve the residents on less revenue and that is to be commended. We understand what has happened with property values and we've acted accordingly. I am leading a team to raise visibility and usage of our airport. Building relationships on the county and state level to help us make the airport the economic engine it could be for Lake in the Hills and McHenry county.  I am also driving us to implement a strategic plan to serve you better.

I have only just begun to activate my talents fully for the Village of Lake in the Hills. As you may or may not know, government moves slower than the marketplace. It takes time to get things done, and even more time to get things done, well. I've spent the last four years learning a lot and getting hand-on experience serving you in this capacity. I want to continue.  I do not believe in being a politician for a lifetime. I see it as service and temporary. I'd like you to extend your trust to me again and vote for me April 9.

Keep coming back here as I plan to connect on this page for the remainder of the campaign. Post questions or concerns and check out where I plan to be in the community.

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Power of 10%

Recently, someone razzed me for pumping gas in Algonquin.

At first, I was annoyed then I quickly retorted - "Yeah, but for every three fill-ups - I intentionally fill-up in Lake in the Hills."

Then I got to thinking about all the people who live and do life in Lake in the Hills and what would happen if they all INTENTIONALLY directed at least 10% of their spending to businesses in Lake in the Hills.

I will be the first to admit that I did not drastically change my habits until I read the budget and studied the finances of the village.

We are doing more with less and have been for quite some time. Did you know that our staffing levels are currently at pre-2005 levels? Meaning -we have more people living in and being served in Lake in the Hills in 2010 by the same amount of employees as we did before 2005.

There's more nuggets like that and if you care to discuss - call or message me. I'll buy you coffee for your trouble.

My point is not to debate how we are doing with our current resources and revenues -FACT- revenues are down. FACT -we are "getting by" with what we have and FACT - Lake in the Hills is landlocked and we are really dependent on businesses in our neighboring communities to live our lives. However, often times people want to know what they can do to help. This is just my humble suggestion - divert some of your current spending to Lake in the Hills.

I intentionally direct more than 10% of my spending to Lake in the Hills - no matter what. Here are my top 4  contributions:

1. Eating out - whether it's ordering pizza or the occasional date night with my husband - I intentionally direct money that I used to spend in other areas to Lake in the Hills.

Brass tax - Bistro Wasabi over Bangkok Thai or White Castle versus Burger King - it's easy and since we don't eat out regularly - it is not hard to remember to give the business to Lake in the Hills.

2. Gas -I've already said this one but I make sure every three fill-ups are in Lake in the Hills - even if it's cheaper in Algonquin.

3. Costco vs Sam's Club - Ironically - we made this change due to proximity even though we liked Sam's better. This change alone has contributed thousands in the last two years.

4. Convenience items - Yeah - I know grocery store-wise we only have Dominicks and I rarely shop there. However, I do give them business for the short trip stuff and you know what I mean - not the full list but the milk, bread - few item runs. I also watch the ads because sometimes - Dominicks surprises me and is the best deal

These are just some ideas - perhaps you have others. I am thinking out loud with you -  of ways to help our village generate more revenues

With little effort,  we can all improve the finances of our community.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Told You SO!

That's the word on the street about this blog.

"I knew she could never sustain it."

"The People's Trustee? Ha!"

"What was she thinking?"

I can hear it now. And most likely will at this week's Committee of the Whole meeting.

Truth is...

There is not that much going on in the Village of Lake in the Hills, IL. And what IS going on is not of that much interest to the everyday resident as evidenced in our Audience Participation portion of the meetings twice each month.

Another truth...

I am not one to "speak" just to hear myself. The purpose of this blog is to exchange with citizens and update you on my thoughts on village happenings. So if there is not much happening... then there are not many reasons for blogposts.

I'd considered shuttering this page after the first 60 straight days of no activity but changed my mind. If you Google my name - this is the first listing that appears and it would cost a fortune to get that another way. I love the placement and can't part with it anytime soon.

Sooooo.... if you are interested in my thoughts in general - you can always follow my other blog here or follow me on Twitter where I am extremely active.

As for my Board responsibilities - I continue to enjoy my service and love explaining my position to all who have reached out to me to hear it. Additionally, I will be representing Lake in the Hills at the Illinois Municipal League annual conference running a workshop on cultivating talent in our communities by volunteer programs. I will surely update you after that experience in late Sept.

Until the next post - I appreciate any thoughts or questions.

Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Know any F.L.I.P.s? Send Them Our Way!

F. L. I. P. stands for Future Leaders in Planning and it is a leadership opportunity for high school students in the Northeastern Illinois region brought us by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

CMAP is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to meet CMAP Outreach Associate Janet Bright at a McHenry County Council of Governments meeting and I could not pass up the opportunity to help get the word out about their program entering its third year of existence. One, because it is a gem of a program - rich with opportunity for high school students that have an interest in planning and leadership exposing them to leaders in our area as well as encouraging them to be part of the solutions for various challenges of the Chicago Metroplitan Area.

Two, and perhaps the most compelling - I want us to have McHenry County representation in this program. Entering it's third year - I am not even sure how many McHenry County area families and students are aware of this program and the opportunities for networking it presents. Additionally, getting our high school students involved in govermental activities is a personal priority of mine.

There are five specific areas that the F.L.I.P.s will actively address in a team format:


Economic Development

Housing and Land Use


Human Services

These are all critical subjects to municipalities and I would love to gain the perspective from the next generation on how they think we should tackle the challenges that lie ahead in these areas.

The program is free of charge and the applications are due at the end of this month. Follow this link to the full details and the pdf of the application. Please pass on this post to any high school aged students in your life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Year, New Idea

It is hard to believe that one year ago tonight, I was elected to the Lake in the Hills Village Board. At our Committee of the Whole meeting tonight , I was recalling how my election night watch/victory party buzz was killed around 8:20 pm when the early voting trends showed I was in fourth place and seemingly on the verge of losing my bid for the trustee board.
The room effectively cleared out as people mumbled weak, bare audible "hey - hang in there" "Not all precincts are counted" - type comments.

Only a few die-hards hung out until 9:00 when we got the word that I'd moved into the second place position and secured my seat on the Lake in the Hills Village Board.
I still humbled when I think of the privilege I have to serve the residents of our town. Thanks so much for that trust.
As tomorrow moves me into year two of my four year term, I want to give you a glimpse of something I am working on and hope you will join as we move forward.
Next week, I will be speaking at the 2010 Circle Connection Conference in Champaign about how to build a vibrant and mutually beneficial volunteer program for park districts and park and recreation department officials. I collaborated with a kindred spirit on the presentation and we crafted a message that will surely help many cash-strapped municipalities throughout the state of Illinois.
In a few weeks, we in Lake in the Hills will tackle the same information and look for ways to engage talented village residents to help meet our needs while helping people build resume quality experiences with us.
Please stay tuned because over the next 60-90 days you will see a plan come together to build and sustain a best-in-class volunteer program for our community.
By the way - just want to say thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve you.
Happy Anniversary!