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Q+A With Jenny Laible: The Keys to a Community Lifestyle Program

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Sales + Marketing

Q+A With Jenny Laible: The Keys to a Community Lifestyle Program

The National Association of Home Builders' 2024 Lifestyle Director of the Year talks about authenticity, knowing your neighbors, and her chill approach to social media

April 2, 2024
Community activities at Union Park by Hillwood, a 1,100-acre community of diverse for-sale homes in Little Elm, Texas.
Photos: courtesy Union Park by Hillwood
This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Pro Builder.
Jenny Laible, award-winning lifestyle manager at Union Park by Hillwood
Jenny Laible
Lifestyle manager
Union Park by Hillwood
FirstService Residential

Jenny Laible isn’t your average community lifestyle manager. Since taking over the program at Union Park by Hillwood, a 1,100-acre community of diverse for-sale homes in Little Elm, Texas, north of Dallas, shePB+ extra digital content has reinvigorated residents and greatly expanded participation, enthusiasm, and community involvement across nearly 400 live events, generational group meetups, and the community’s social media channels.

Laible’s authentic approach to both storytelling and designing programs around community interests has also helped Union Park land on RCLCO’s 50 Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities list for the three years she’s led the lifestyle program there. Her efforts also earned her recognition as Lifestyle Director of the Year in The National Sales and Marketing Awards (“The Nationals”) this year.

PRO BUILDER: How does what you call “doing life together” at Union Park manifest in the community and among residents?

Jenny Laible: The heart of the lifestyle program here at Union Park is all about building a strong community, bringing our families together in the neighborhood, and creating a sense of belonging and ongoing pride. Whether you’re an empty nester, married with a family, single, a teen, or a “Uni Little,” we strive to have something for everyone.

Our Union Park 55+ group, for example, started with a simple coffee meetup I planned about two years ago. Now they meet weekly, sometimes multiple times a week, and plan all of their own events.

Connecting neighbors through lifestyle has created a true culture of “doing life together,” and that’s what makes Union Park a special place.

0424 Laible Q+A-Residents


PB: What’s been a successful lifestyle event?

JL: One of my most successful events is our annual Easter EGGstravaganza. The last couple years we’ve easily had over 500 people attend, so it’s quite the planning process. We have several egg hunts organized by age, a sensory-friendly egg hunt, and more.

We also attract our “big kids,” as I like to call them. I learned the first year doing this that I needed to introduce some things that would keep them around and keep their interest. It's things like booking exotic animals at the same time that have really worked.

Last year I introduced an adult egg hunt that’s held on a separate day. It was so successful that this year I’ve ordered 5,000 eggs just for them!


PB: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

JL: It’s just really understanding the audience, knowing what they want, and making sure I tailor our lifestyle program accordingly. It’s a challenge because no matter what I do, there will always be someone who’s unhappy.

In those cases, it’s important to have an open-door policy to listen and learn how I can create events they will enjoy. We have a very diverse community, so it’s important for me to spend a lot of time with my neighbors and get to know them and what they want in their community.

The heart of the lifestyle program here at Union Park is all about building a strong community, bringing our families together in the neighborhood, and creating a sense of belonging and ongoing pride.

PB: You’ve significantly increased reach and membership across the community’s social media channels. What’s your strategy?

JL: It’s really all about authenticity. Nothing is planned or scheduled, and I have no calendars. I feel it’s important for me to show the true life and true community of Union Park through social. Storytelling on social media engages the local community and helps build those strong community relationships.

I post on Facebook and Instagram daily—or at least I try to. Some content doesn’t perform as well on one or the other platform, so I don’t always share it both places.

It’s all about trying to figure out the different audiences—because they really are different. Social media engagement has been a challenge for me since I’ve been here. I try to measure our performance monthly and analyze what’s working and what’s not.


0424 Laible Q+A-Year in Review


PB: What advice would you give to a community developer that wants a robust and successful lifestyle program?

JL: For me, it’s just critical that you invest in a lifestyle program. I’ve seen the success of it here at Union Park. I’ve seen the success of it at our other properties in North Texas. Just invest in your lifestyle program.

Leadership trust and support is critical and team collaboration is imperative. Trusting the lifestyle team to do what they love will bring nothing but success to your community.

This job isn’t easy, and it’s a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be. Without the support I’ve received from Hillwood Communities and my FirstService Res­idential teams, I wouldn’t have the success I have today.

0424 Laible Q+A-Newsletter


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Written By

Emily Zick is a freelance writer and editor based in Ypsilanti, Mich. You can email her at hello@emilyzick.com or visit emilyzick.com.

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