Meet Paul Cardenas!
Full disclosure: this blog post is not unbiased. When the Brookfield team found out that Paul Cardenas was returning to Easton Park from his Brookfield job in Colorado, we literally jumped for joy. We all feel so lucky to have Paul as our Director of Community Engagement here at Easton Park, the place where he got his start so many years ago! We recently sat down with him to find out what he’s been up to and what his plans are now that he’s back.
EP: PAUL! We are so so glad to have you back at Easton Park! Has it changed a lot since you’ve been gone?
PC: In the two years I’ve been in Colorado, Easton Park has changed immensely, in all the best ways! With all the new growth, it’s like I came back to a brand new community! It’s all a new journey for me.
EP: Now, tell us how you started here, what you were doing in Colorado, and what your new job is all about.
PC: So, I started as the Community and Lifestyle Coordinator here at Easton Park after I graduated from Texas State. I loved it, but after a few years, when the chance came to work as the Lifestyle Manager for a Brookfield community in Denver, I took it as an opportunity to seek a different perspective outside of Texas. It was amazing, but Colorado was not Texas.
I am a native Austinite—it’s home permanently—and I realized, as much as I love adventure, home was calling me. There was no way to resist that! My heart is in Austin and it never left. So when the opportunity opened to come back to Easton Park, I took it!
EP: What does a Director of Community Engagement do every day?
PC: I work with residents! What makes Easton Park thrive is the passion and proactiveness of residents. I’m here to connect with them and learn who they are, building new relationships and maintaining previous relationships. We have these day-to-day conversations that grow into bigger conversations. I also work with the community—our entrepreneur partners, and local schools, to help involve them in everything EP.
EP: Are there lots of people you remember from before?
PC: Oh yes! It was really sweet—once they knew I was coming back, residents were asking weeks ahead of time, “Where’s Paul?!” Families and couples run up and give me hugs. It’s like I never left.
And the most beautiful thing is, not only do we build community, but we get to be with the residents through these lifetime experiences. There are newlywed couples who now have children! It’s a beautiful blessing to see that kind of growth in our residents and our community.
EP: Are you onsite at Easton Park every day?
PC: Yes! You’ll see me walking around the neighborhood, talking to residents. I’m hardly at my desk because I want to be involved, and that means talking and meeting with residents as much as I can. If you see me around, please come up and introduce yourself, I always have a welcoming smile and I’m happy to engage in any conversation. I truly am here for the residents and everyone!
EP: What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
PC: I’m probably most passionate about our inaugural Tree Lighting coming up on December 4th for our residents. It’s Trail of Lights inspired, with activations to honor the diversity of cultural celebrations that happen in December. It will start at The Union and go behind Model Row to the tree at Experience Park. We’ll have displays for Christmas, Omisoka, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, with lights and inflatables.
Easton Park is so diverse and authentic, and if we can learn who is in our community and what they celebrate, we have a greater chance to build a relationship. It could open up a new lens! The tree lighting is on Saturday, and we’ll have a band playing holiday music, 2 food trucks, and beverages. We’ve never done this, and we’re excited to start a new tradition! The lights are only on for that first weekend, but the tree will stay up until the New Year.
EP: That sounds amazing!
PC: It should be fun! Oh, and we’re going to have a singles event, open to residents and the public, on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day! More details to come! There are so many couples and families here, but our singles need events, too!
EP: That’s so fun! We love having you back, playing cupid!
PC: I am so humbled to be welcomed back in this way! It’s so blissful to know I’m wanted and needed. There was never a doubt in my mind that it was the right choice, but all the welcome arms have been the greatest feeling ever, the greatest affirmation.