Our Beliefs: Passion for Creating

Our beliefs are the principles that unite us, that inspire us each and every day to work toward a shared vision. One of those beliefs passion for creating directly addresses the drive that propels us forward each day. We do what we do because we love great design, and believe in the power of great design to inspire awe and wonder. 

What does passion for creating look like? At Optima, we all create. Our culture is marked by openness and inclusiveness; we value collaboration and partnerships. More than just all creating, we create together.

One of our construction team members put it best when stating: “We all pitch in and help one another. If one of us has a problem, we all have a problem and will work together to find an answer.” Collaboration is inherent in creation, and it’s what pushes the boundaries of what we do and how we discover new ways of innovating. 

Recognizing that we achieve more together drives our desire to be part of a common purpose, to share knowledge and to achieve collectively. Everyone has a voice; ideas can come from anywhere and can be shared across teams in real time. We are able to look at every angle, own every detail and relish contribution from everyone. 

Staying Connected Amidst COVID-19

At Optima, we operate with an intense passion for creating together. Ours is a highly collaborative team, often communicating in real time to share ideas and inspiration as part of our vertically-integrated business model. With collaborative systems already in place, our team is staying connected as ever during COVID-19, across states, offices, communities and jobsites, with some currently operating from home. 

Beth Maher heads up Learning and Development at Optima, placing emphasis on the wellness of our team along the way. We sat down (digitally) with Beth and asked her to share how she’s guiding our team through continuing to stay connected, and continuing to stay well, during this time.

Sharing Wellness Resources

Wellness has always been pivotal in our culture, but Beth shares, “It’s become a priority now more than ever. We want to provide additional wellness support to all our coaches and team members to help guide them through the changes many are experiencing from this new environment.” Wellness resources are being offered universally across our team — from architects to property managers to the construction team — giving all access to meditation and yoga guidance and other activities that can be done no matter where you are. Through our partnership with GROW LMS, we recently rolled out a set of online wellness courses that are available for our entire team.

Staying Connected

“Connectedness is at the core of Optima,” Beth explains. The Optima Wellness Page in the company intranet is just one source of connectivity where many resources are located. All teams continue to communicate seamlessly by regularly hopping onto Microsoft Teams, where we continue to share ideas in real time. We also use the Yammer app, which is a messaging board where we share inspirational quotes and ideas. We continue to engage at a safe distance over video chat too, whether that’s for a quick brainstorming session or to come together for a company-wide trivia night or virtual book club discussion.

Looking to the Future

The current state of the world may prove to be a challenge in some ways, “but we have the resources to keep everyone connected no matter what,” Beth affirms. “I’ve never worked in an organization that has such strong connectivity between its team members and coaches.” Human connection is important now more than ever, and it is this connection we have at Optima that will enable us to stay agile, strong and able to tackle this challenge together. 

Office Collaboration Spotlight

From the big picture to the day-to-day details, Optima’s success depends on our team communicating and working together. We sat down with two members of our architecture team, Pete Foerster and Colin O’Donoghue, to learn more about how Optima’s office collaboration creates engagement, cohesion and community. 

With architecture teams based in two locations, what keeps you all connected and engaged? 

Pete: “When the Arizona office opened in 2000, we wanted the two teams to be symbiotic and to have the same processes. Our processes, policies and standards remain the backbone of how we all operate.” 

Colin: “The most natural and easy way to collaborate is when one office has a demanding schedule that requires more help. When a project in a specific location has a demanding schedule, we can all jump in and help out. This gives us a chance to speak daily, if not hourly, with our team in Arizona.”

How has your experience at Optima shaped the way you work with other architects?

Pete: “Working at Optima for almost 20 years, many of my historical best practices have come from how long I’ve worked with David Hovey Sr. I understand and take pride in the company philosophy and I’m happy to teach it to others. My door is always open for anyone on my team.”

Colin: “Our architecture team embraces Optima as a family-owned and design-led business. We really see ourselves as family members. You’re able to let your guard down internally and to learn from each other. At Optima, you have to think more holistically and problems actually get solved quicker.”

Can you share a specific example of when collaboration yielded surprising or exciting results?

Pete: “When the Arizona office opened in 2000, we wanted the two teams to be symbiotic and to have the same processes, but that’s hard to accomplish. Our team had to create new standards to keep things running efficiently. Having our core values helped remind people of what’s important.” 

Colin: “With the roof deck at Sonoran Village, there are a lot of systems coming through the roof, but we had to divert them to accommodate amenity spaces. We had a very elaborate duct system that was tricky to resolve, but working with the field team, we were able to solve the problem together so it wouldn’t affect the roof terrace.”

With a talented group of people across two offices, our architecture team is an inspiring example of how collaboration works within Optima. As Pete says, “every day can be a surprise and every day can be a learning opportunity.”

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