Who are YLPers? Why, all of us who call Yosemite Lakes Park our home. We’re more than an HOA, we are a community of people who love where we live!
More than just a place of majestic mountain views, YLP is people — individuals of all backgrounds and interests. In this series of periodic profiles, we hope to introduce you to many of these folks — to YLOA board members, to managers, to employees, to our valued volunteers and notable neighbors who share our 21 square miles of Sierra foothills. We hope you enjoy learning about these YLPers.
This week it’s YLOA Director Sue Beck, raised in a military family in Silicon Valley, the only girl with four brothers, who worked for many information technology firms. Constructive, fact-based communication and teamwork are her priorities.
Tell me about your childhood, where you were born and grew up.
I was born in Quantico, Virginia, into a military family. My dad was in the Marine Corps for over 20 years, World War II, and the Korean conflict.
My dad got an assignment to move to California to be a Marine Corps recruiter, that was in 1954. We moved to Saratoga, California. I already had two older brothers at that time, and we are very far apart in years. My oldest brother is 12 years older than me. (Sue also had two younger brothers). Yeah, I’m the middle child, only daughter, and the bossy one.
My two older brothers were also in the military, Navy, a nice big family. We had so much fun together family vacation to Lake Tahoe, the World’s Fair in Washington State, just a wonderful childhood. When we lived in Saratoga, it was all orchards. We would go play in the orchards and pick cherries, and apricots and all the great fruit out there in orchards.
My mom worked for the Center for the Blind in downtown San Jose and the Department of Rehabilitation. Very hard working, middle class family.
Losing their home
When I was in the 8th grade, our house burnt down, which was traumatic, but no one was hurt except for the loss of everything you ever knew and had as a little kid. It was caused by an overheated refrigerator. It was kind of shocking because we had grown up in that neighborhood. All our friends and memories were there. We moved to San Jose, and the family adjusted. I started my freshman year at Lynbrook High School.
One of my older brothers was in Vietnam while I was in high school. Several of my friends’ brothers were also in Vietnam, a group of us got together occasionally, and packaged goodies to send to our brothers and all the guys on the destroyer tender they were serving on.
What did you want to be when you were in high school?
I wanted to go into the military, but my dad completely opposed it, said women shouldn’t be in the military. That was fine and I really respected my parents, so okay, second choice, I want to be a teacher.
I attended De Anza Junior College and San Jose State to become an English Teacher, however, it was the early 70’s and the Silicon Valley was just kicking off, I wanted to be part of the evolution and the technology bug got me. Bye college, hello career.
Where did you work?
My first job was a keypunch operator at a company called Signetics. You know, the punch cards that you take to the old IBM 1170 in this big room, and it then came out on a big paper reel, which then you took and converted to digital media. I started in that and then moved into information technology. Not the programming part of it, my experience is more around building network infrastructure and architecture, cabling, design for data center disaster recovery for and telecommunications, call centers.
Signetics was bought out by North American Phillips, I headed over to National Semiconductor. Lots of people followed the same path in the valley because you would go from semiconductor company to semiconductor company.
I have probably worked for over 10 different companies in different industries throughout a 45-year career. I’ve worked for Motorola, AT&T, The Gap, Merrill Lynch and Avid Technology. I retired from Avid Technology in 2018. I went back to work for a short time at the end of 2020 for Papa John’s International in their Telecommunications Department and retired again last Friday.
Tell us about your husband and how you met.
I have an amazingly smart and quite witty husband; I love that wittiness. We met in 1979 at a wedding reception for a co-worker of mine. We both went through our childhood sweetheart marriages. Second marriage for both of us but we have been together for 43 years. Our wonderful, blended family has 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren. We are proud of all of them and the wonderful people they have become. They are quite doting to us which we both love. We have a Zoom Party every month as they live all over the country, California, Nevada, and Texas but we don’t miss a beat in being there to support each other in whatever event, holiday, or drama goes on in families.
What brought you and your family to YLP?
In 2015 my husband and I discussed moving. We were over this Bay Area traffic and people and everything going on. We’re living in Morgan Hill at the time, and we said, you know, let’s start setting ourselves up for retirement. I kid you not, we literally put a map of California on the wall and threw darts at it because we didn’t want to leave California. My husband is a San Jose native and multi-generations of Beck’s had molded and built San Jose. Steve’s mom was still alive. She since has passed away, but she was ill, and we didn’t want to be too far that we couldn’t easily go see or help her.
OK, the dart thing is not working, what is it that we really want? We said, okay we really want a very simple house, little bit of property. Nothing too hard, nothing too remote because as we get older, you’ve got to be close to hospitals and doctors. It must have a casino, not for us because we are not big gamblers but for visitors, people want to come visit us, a sporting clays range, and camping. Because we are both are avid shooters, not hunters, but we shoot sporting clays and skeet. We are also both certified gun safety and sporting clays instructors through the NSCA. We saw that little town Coarsegold and I said, I am going to start looking. I came up here with my girlfriend a few times to look around and liked what I saw.
Back at Morgan Hill, we started looking at Zillow and we said, Yosemite Lakes Park is a nice place, and we found the Sun Mountain Gun Club near Chukchansi, and of course Yosemite National Park a stone’s throw away.
We found our house on Horseshoe Drive in 2015, a three-bedroom two-bath, after I looked at about 10 houses. I said that’s the one and we bought it in 2015. We moved in February 2016.
I would commute two days a week to Santa Clara and would stay with my mother-in-law in San Jose. I would go to work for a couple days and then come home for the weekend and did that for about two years.
Did you have an interest in YLOA matters soon after moving here?
Very little because I was still working more than full-time and commuting. I did use the pool, and when my grandkids came to visit, we would use the pool and have dinner in the clubhouse. I read newsletters too, I didn’t really attend meetings. I never lived in an HOA, didn’t even know what it was till I retired in 2018.
I could have done committees, but I did not, I’m not a horribly social person. I get a little uncomfortable in environments that I am not familiar with until I know people or get familiar.
Once I stopped working for a little while, I was still interested but I really wanted to sit on the grand jury for a while because I wanted to know what that was all about. I sat on the Madera County grand jury for 18 months and that was phenomenal experience. It is a civil grand jury so you’re not looking at criminal cases, you’re looking at the government, how the government functions, any government malfeasance, you know, stuff like that. And I thought, I think this would be a good precursor to a quasi-governmental type of position.
I ran for the YLOA board in 2019, I did not get elected. I ran again in 2020 and I got elected.
How important is volunteering to you?
That has just been a fabric in my family values from childhood about civic, and community duty and volunteering. My parents volunteered for everything. They were heavily involved in VFW, Boy Scouts, Little League and Girl Scouts. I remember walking the neighborhood with my mom after the Jerry Lewis telethons, collecting for things like March of Dimes and Cystic Fibrosis. And I did that up until the mid-70s, when my kids were born. My parents volunteered for many institutions and instilled in us that giving back was the right thing to do.
Do you think YLP Cares is a good idea to help YLPers in need?
I am not as involved in YLP Cares as I maybe should be, but I find it to be a worthy non-profit cause.
How do you assess your time on the board? What have you learned?
This board is amazing, the things we have accomplished, and the camaraderie is nothing short of having another family. I’m amazed at how much time some of these board members spend doing, volunteering their time to do different projects, and getting things done to benefit the community.
I’ve learned to be more patient with others that don’t understand some of the decisions that are made, you know. All the decisions are made in full open view, but it takes some longer than others to understand the certain ins and outs of working with an HOA type of a governance because the two boards (YLOA and YSPUC) are fully open. We communicate everything that we can openly communicate and I think a lot of people don’t understand that there are certain levels of confidentiality that you have to maintain. It’s the same thing as being on a grand jury.
You can’t absorb it all in a very short period of time because this community has been here for 50 years. If you think you’re going to walk into this and have the solution to every single challenge that you come upon, it’s not going to happen because there is just some stuff, you know, like we’re rewriting. Having the attorney rewrite the DORs and bylaws to comply with current laws and things that just don’t make sense in 2021 or 2022 that made sense in 1970.
What are priorities for you as a board member (and chair of the Communications Committee)
Communications is big, just trying to get the community to listen to the facts. I’m a very factual person. When someone says to me well, you know, ‘THEY’ said, blahblahblah, I say, who are ‘THEY’ and where are your facts to back it up?
I’m not saying that we don’t communicate but we must find a different way to communicate because the sad thing is to me, social media is here to stay, I’m not going to bash it, I read it, because I want to know what the community is thinking out there. The only way you are going to get feedback is, unfortunately, through social media.
But I like to see a little bit more positivity on the communication. I think the Association — you William and Jonathan our GM, do a fantastic job with YLP Life, putting information on the YLOA Website, the YLP Facebook page. I just wish people would read it and attend Board Meetings.
Mark Zoeller also mentioned paving the north end of Blue Heron Lake for those who are mobility challenged would be a nice addition, but we must get our existing infrastructure into good shape before embarking on new projects.
What would you like to tell others who may want to run for the board?
I would say this is not for the faint of heart, it’s hugely important. There are huge decisions that we make in our best business judgment. You have to have broad shoulders, because you will be ridiculed. And that’s okay, because everybody is entitled to their opinion, whether it’s right or wrong. You have got to be committed to be part of a team because that’s what the whole board is about. It’s a team we speak as one — not one person, one body of government. It is a lot of work, rewarding for the most part but you (collectively) will be ridiculed for your decisions. However. that should not defray anyone from wanting to get involved on the board or a committee. Committees are an important aspect of being part of the community and providing their valuable skills, and input to the board.
What do you desire for YLP? What’s your vision for years ahead?
Well, I think it’s getting there. I mean, I just want to watch this darn pandemic be over, I just want it to be the vibrant place that it used to be, with the Friday night music back, and the events happening and a carnival in the parking lot.
I just want it to be a fun, happy place for people to want to live. I think these past 18 months have really been hard on people, people are stressed out. They need an outlet, a positive outlet, and I can’t think of anything more positive than becoming a community again.
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