This week Emily Guyre was introduced at the Houston Heights Association’s general meeting as the first ever executive director of that organization. Guyre was chosen out of 450 candidates for the position and says she feels most fortunate to land a job that comprises all the things that she is interested in.
“It’s working with neighbors and volunteers, it’s planning for the future, it is fundraising and events,” said Guyre. “I’ve been onboard for a week and it has been very fulfilling.”
Guyre is a third generation Houstonian who has called the Heights home for 16 years. She founded Learn Local for Hogg Middle School, a non-profit to encourage the local community to invest in their neighborhood school and most recently served as the parent engagement coordinator at Hogg. She has a degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M and also has a background in pharmaceutical sales.
She says that she’s compared her new job at HHA to the bio-chemistry class she took her senior year at A&M.
“It was one of the hardest classes I took in college but I couldn’t wait to get there because every path I’d travelled led me to that point,” she said. “The executive director position is like that too. It involves the things I already know and what I want to learn about. I feel confident tackling the tasks ahead.”
HHA President Bill Baldwin said that the caliber of candidates for the job was high but that Guyre was a standout.
“We were all floored by Emily’s unique capacity for both vision and execution,” said Baldwin. “The way she was able to articulate and tackle her objective at Hogg without any clear precedent or mandate is the definition of a visionary leader. But someone who can then roll up her sleeves and get the entire job done from concept to technical minutiae, that is rare. In creating the role, we toiled over whether the job description was too expansive, but we sought to demand the best for this generation and generations of Heights residents to come. It clearly paid off, since Emily is a global thinker with an equally expansive skill set.”
Guyre is the third paid employee who has been added to the HHA roster after its Business Manager Lauriel Hindman and Property Manager Greg Campbell. She has hit the ground running, already networking with local business owners and spending the weekend shoveling mulch on Heights Boulevard. She reaffirms her commitment to supporting established HHA events like the bike rally, the Holiday and spring home tours, and the fun run, but will explore additional opportunities as well.
“I’m a bit of a visionary,” said Guyre. “I understand the history of the Heights and that knowledge will enable me to be an integral part of planning for our future.”
She wants to strengthen the connections with neighborhoods, like Woodland Heights and Norhill, perhaps through a tennis tournament since all the neighborhoods have courts. Another gestating idea is that of a yoga on the boulevard event, where each section would feature a different yoga program.
For now, she’s working on a 2019 budget and interacting with the board of directors, learning best how to “walk side by side, [and] how to be of help.”
Guyre perceives the strength of the Heights to be its hardworking people, who don’t take themselves too seriously. She also acknowledges the rarity of a community where people get to come home to great restaurants and shopping.
“Those are the things that connect us to our neighbors,” said Guyre. “It really is a front porch mentality. It’s diverse but it feels like there’s a commonality and when there’s not, there’s support and understanding.”
She says that issues she’s heard from residents so far include concerns about crime, and the need for additional safe crosswalks for bikers and pedestrians. At the general meeting, Guyre said she was gratified to see a gathering of such varied business owners and residents.
“I am thrilled to be entrusted with this role and to have the ability to make a big impact,” said Guyre.