Santa’s elves have nothing on Yescenya Bigford and Lisa Vaquera, the dynamic duo that keeps Kissing Tree’s Welcome Center running smoothly. Between welcoming guests, supporting the sales team, managing golf carts, and maintaining the model homes, these ladies have a lot of moving parts to keep track of, and they do it all while smiling and having a great time. Not only that, they’re the best source on the property for the latest KT news, local pie recommendations, or even an icy cold root beer. We were thrilled to get them on the phone last week to hear how they do it all – and what they love about Kissing Tree.
KT: Thank y’all for doing this! So let’s start with the basics. What do you do each day at the Welcome Center?
Yescenya: We help manage the welcome center, coordinate the sales teams’ day, and activate and maintain the model park. It’s the best job at Kissing Tree!
Lisa: We’re usually the first ones here, and we go and open up the models and activate the welcome center. That involves turning on the fun areas and checking the calendars for the team. At the counter, we have what we call our Star Trek board – we man two other computers with calendars, two communication methods, traffic reports, prospect logs and 3 telephones! We get all of that started and put in our sales team line up for the day, and that gets us ready for our first guests!
KT: Oh wow! That’s a lot!
Yescenya: It doesn’t feel like work when you enjoy what you’re doing!
KT: How do you even keep track of all those moving parts?
Lisa: It’s a coordinated dance back there. We have lists we follow, and there are systems in place to make sure everything is ready. We also manage the golf carts here, so you have to be a mechanic! And a coffee maker! It’s definitely a multitasking dance, but it’s so much fun and there’s something different every day.
KT: What do you wish people knew about the Welcome Center?
Lisa: I think the most important thing we want people to know is that we’re here for them, and we want to go at their pace. This is their time, and we want them to be relaxed. It’s a process, and we’re here for them on that journey.
Yescenya: Because of COVID, we’ve had to put our snacks up, but we can offer you popcorn or trail mix, sodas or coffee! Our customers are our top priority.
Lisa: I’d also love for people to know about this whole area! Brookfield chose the location for Kissing Tree very carefully. They picked a spot that’s right between Austin and San Antonio, and we have it all! In San Marcos, you’ll find the best bar, the best piece of pie, and the best farmers’ market! I want people to fall in love with the area!
Yescenya: It has everything, even an outlet mall! And you wouldn’t believe that you’re in the Hill Country. It has a small town feel, but also the university population. We have a lot of tourists, too!
KT: How long have each of you been at Kissing Tree?
Lisa: I’ve been here almost 3 years.
Yescenya: I’ve been here for 45 days!
KT: Oh wow! Yescenya, you just started!
Yescenya: Yes, and I’ve loved every single day! Someone was laughing at us the other day because we have so much fun — you have to be in sync when you work so closely in this building.
Lisa: We have fallen into this dance together, with each other’s personalities.
Yescenya: I’m just following in Lisa’s footsteps! She’s trained me for every situation, and I’ve been very blessed here. I mean, look at our office! It’s beautiful here!
KT: Where did y’all each grow up?
Lisa: We have such different backgrounds! I’m the older version of Yescenya! I grew up in Waco, and moved to San Marcos in late 90s to finish school with 3 kids. I fell in love with the Hill Country and never left, and now my grandkids are being raised here! I love it here!
Yescenya: I grew up in Queens, New York. It comes out in my accent sometimes.
Lisa: She says “cawfee” and “sweata weatha”! (ed. At this point, there is so much laughing on this call! These ladies are a hoot!)
KT: Yescenya, how did you get to Kissing Tree?
Yescenya: I moved down here with my husband, who is Canadian, from Toronto. It’s been a blessing. We love all of Texas! We’re Texas lovers now!
Lisa: Yescenya is such a great fit for our culture here – Brookfield is a Canadian company, and she was already familiar with Brookfield! And many of our residents move from the North East and New York, so she can talk with them about that.
KT: Yescenya, do you live in San Marcos?
Yescenya: We actually live in downtown Austin, I thought it would be a culture shock, but it has been great. And we’re building a Brookfield home in Addison
Lisa: She has a long time to go before she can live at Kissing Tree!
KT: That’s wonderful! Congratulations. Do y’all have any pets?
Lisa: I’m an old cat lady! I’ve always adopted cats from local animal shelter, and I have a beautiful, sassy tortoiseshell cat named Summer! She hates my kids, and her tail sticks straight out
Yescenya: We have a dog, an American bull mastiff named Onyx, but he’s still in Toronto. We came down in the pandemic, so we weren’t able to bring him. Right now my father-in-law is taking care of him. I miss my baby!
KT: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Yescenya: My favorite part is speaking with customers and working with Lisa! She’s been an incredible mentor for me. She’s taught me a lot, even about being here in Texas!
Lisa: Yescenya is a people person, and she always wants to make sure everyone feels welcome, and that we’ve communicated properly and are all on the same page. Now with COVID boundaries, it’s so important that everyone feels comfortable about being here at Kissing Tree. Yescenya: Awww! Thank you!
Lisa: My favorite thing is all of the processes and finding solutions in the chaos of it! There’s nothing better than when you drive through the guardhouse entrance. There hasn’t been one day when I’ve dreaded going to work. I mean, look where I work! I take pictures once a week or so!
Yescenya: Lisa is amazing at finding solutions before problems even happen! When people walk in the door, we want them to feel incredible, and to see how much love and devotion we put into it all.
Lisa: It was always my goal in life to find something this wonderful this close to retirement! After 30 years in sales, it’s amazing being here.
Yescenya: I love coming into work! Sometimes I drink too much caffeine, and then I’m on full blast. One of the things Richard (Kissing Tree’s Sales Manager) has told us is that we set the tone. From the time we open our eyes on a workday, we help the rest of team fall into their day.
Lisa: This is such a happy place to be! We tell everyone we have the best job here, and we have the best office, so there are no bad days here!
Ready to meet Lisa and Yescenya yourself? Come into our Welcome Center anytime and say hi!