May 10, 2023–OAKLAND, CA
As we continue to focus on the people that make up Merritt’s team, we are excited to introduce Merritt’s next staff spotlight, Laura Quintanilla! As the Executive Assistant to the CEO, Laura is a cross-organizational team member. Laura started working for Merritt as a part-time contractor in January 2022. She was at a transitional point in her career, intending to test jobs while seeking a fulfilling and balanced work environment. The longer Laura worked with Merritt, the more she got to know the team and culture, the more excited she was, and she officially joined the team full-time in September 2022.
Laura has had many different roles in her career. For over two decades Laura ran her own medical transcription business and was so successful that she hired staff while she managed operations. In early 2010, Laura obtained her Fitness Certification and started a fitness bootcamp which she managed while running her transcription business and teaching up to 9 classes a week.
In 2017 Laura went back to school to finish her B.A. in Health. While in school, a former colleague and newly established CEO of a multi-national organization offered her a job as his part-time executive assistant to establish the office and create new systems and workflow. Laura was able to help build the U.S. operations, while finishing her degree. After graduation, Laura took on the role full-time and began traveling extensively to Singapore and throughout the U.S.
Working as an executive assistant she found that she enjoyed the challenge and ability to work on diverse projects that utilized her creativity and problem-solving skills. She had two more executive assistant positions to CEOs before transitioning to freelance EA work while searching for a work-culture with the right fit.
Laura is Merritt’s first Executive Assistant and the opportunity to work with Ari to develop the role was really exciting for her. She was talking to several other organizations about roles but the opportunity at Merritt seemed unique because of her involvement and ability to take ownership of projects and work cross-organizationally with different departments. She wanted to work with kind people who cared about what they were doing, which made Merritt a great match for Laura. “The people at Merritt genuinely care about each other, working with the best intentions, acting generously and accepting one another. Everyone in this organization treats each other with respect, seeking to understand differences through mindful communication and interaction. It is a pleasure to come to work every day with this amazing group!”
Laura was invigorated by the ability to build systems for different programs, like the Merritt Scholars application process, and enjoys the challenge of building a new project from the ground up. Laura could tell that she would get to exercise her solutions-oriented approach to work and is often described as “the type of person that can jump in and get things done.”
Joining a remote-work environment gave her the ability to help Merritt find ways to stay connected and led the charge on Merritt’s Teams Coffee Chats, providing the opportunity for staff in different departments to connect outside of work-focused meetings.
Values and the Affordable Housing Industry
“I connect really strongly with the values of Merritt and how everyone embodies the people-first approach,” said Laura. Affordable Housing is a departure from her previous work. The people she worked with inside and outside of Merritt when she was part-time drew her to join Merritt full time. “I am constantly amazed at the level of caring that people at Merritt and in the industry in general have,” said Laura. She sees Merritt’s values of kindness and openness reflected through the work and partnerships Merritt has created. “People that work in affordable housing deeply care about the mission of the work, and care about the community that they are working with – both inside and outside of their jobs.”
Thank you for all of the work you do, Laura. Merritt appreciates your energy and excitement!
About Merritt Community Capital Corporation
Merritt Community Capital Corporation is a nonprofit dedicated to our mission to provide equity capital for affordable housing exclusively to California. We do this by partnering with mission-aligned affordable housing developers throughout the state to ensure the most critical communities are developed and maintained for low-income residents. Since 1989, Merritt has created and/or preserved 11,000 affordable homes, through investing over $1.2 billion in 26 separate funds, providing housing for over 29,700 people.