H. Jaclyn Ishimaru-Gachina

President / CEO, Gachina Landscape Management

Photo courtesy of H. Jaclyn Ishimaru-Gachina

On weekends, when she isn’t catching up on emails or reading, you will find Jackie Ishimaru-Gachina riding horses. The president and CEO of Gachina Landscape Management started riding about 10 years ago as a stress outlet while her late husband and company founder, John, battled cancer.

“You need to fully be present with a 1,000-pound animal,” she says. “So many think – don’t you just sit there? No, no, no. I find the multi-tasking and mind/body connection challenging. It’s mentally and physically challenging, a fun way to exercise, and a social outlet.”

Here’s Ishimaru-Gachina’s average day.

In the morning, I check the calendar, news, email, text messages. I read emails and texts in bed. I go over the to-do list, make the life calls — anniversary and birthday calls, check in on people who are sick. I get on the Peloton, cool down and stretch. I don’t answer calls/email during the Peloton time.

For breakfast, I have coffee and — if I feel hungry — avocado toast, corned beef hash, oranges, apples. My commute is normally 15 minutes. I usually work 3 days from home, two in the office.

At home, I start work at 6 a.m. If I go in to the office, I’m in at 8:30 to walk around and greet everyone. I catch up with everyone, ask how’s the family and hear if anyone needs to meet with me.

I set the alarm for meetings throughout the day. I need to hear an actual alarm go off, continuously, that I have to physically turn off or I will work through a calendar reminder and be either late or miss. I hate to be late.

I have 4-5 meetings day — kept to an hour to an hour and a half. If I am leading it, I’m keeping everyone on task. I stop everyone from going down wormholes. Interestingly, I don’t have a set agenda. My meetings with senior management are organic. Everyone is given time to present ideas/issues to the group. The discussion takes what it takes, but if I feel it has run its course, I ask if we could revisit either at the next meeting (two weeks) or a special meeting with just stakeholders. If someone starts veering off, I will intercede and politely ask to stay on point. Usually, the meeting is 1.5 hours and may only cover two topics. I keep Fridays open for closing the loops. No calls during meetings. Everyone knows to text if it’s important.

I like to schedule ride-alongs with account and project managers to see how the sites look, see current enhancement projects and connect with each individual. I ask what and how I can do to make their jobs easier or more efficient.

I used to go once a week. Now, maybe once a month, usually half a day with lunch or breakfast included. It’s a way also to shake hands and thank the field techs, sometimes meet clients and really see what we are doing. Managers let me know when they are proud of a project and invite me to walk the site. I will periodically call to check on how a project is progressing and if they need support. What do they need to make the job go more smoothly? Or I will invite myself when we sign an interesting new client.

I also periodically request an invitation to attend a weekly branch meeting. I will listen to understand more about a branch manager and the rest of the team. And it’s a comfort zone time for me to answer their questions.

My day usually ends at 5:30 p.m. I used to listen to books (riding home). Not so much now — more so music. Dinner time is the start of the wind down and cleaning up the house and preparing for the next day. At 8:30-9, I jump in bed.

I answer e-mails and read articles of interest — business and personal, over the weekend. I ride my horse and work with my trainer on improving my skills in dressage. I catch up with family and friends.

April 2022
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