Take 5

Newport Beach: it’s time to embrace Grace

By TOM JOHNSON

Newport Beach names Grace Leung

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Newly named Newport City Manager Grace Leung

Q: What do the first 90 days at the helm look like?

A: I feel fortunate that Dave has led the organization so capably and is leaving things in a good place. This provides me the time to get to know the operations and build upon the great work that’s been done. My priority in the first 90 days is to get to know the City Council, community and staff – what are the priorities, pressing concerns, what’s working well and what can be improved? I think it’s important to understand the history and context before recommending changes or solutions. 

Q: Newport Beach is a unique community with the bay, airport, lifeguards/beaches, etc. Tell us how you plan to get up to speed on these and more?

A: Even though I have worked in local government for over 23 years, each city has its own distinct characteristics and specific issues. A big part of what excited me about Newport Beach is the unique and wonderful assets in the community including the harbor, beaches and vibrant neighborhoods. I am looking forward to getting out into the community, attending events and meeting people to truly appreciate and understand Newport Beach’s amazing resources. With issues surrounding the airport and the bay, Newport Beach is fortunate to have commissions, groups and interested individuals who have dedicated time and resources to working with us on solutions. Getting up to speed will include meeting and learning from these groups and individuals. I believe complex issues require collaborative problem solving with as much input as time allows and that will be my approach as we tackle challenges and opportunities. 

Q: How do you plan to connect with residents and businesses and how approachable are you?

A: For me, the best part of working for a city is that our end goal is help make the community a great place to live and work. In order to be successful in this goal, connecting and engaging with residents and businesses is critical. I look forward to meeting and talking with residents and business owners as I’ve found that just a few minutes of a good, face-to-face conversation can generate a lot of ideas. And, one of the areas I will be evaluating is our communication channels and outreach methods to make sure those are effective and we can work to improve if and where it is needed. I am very approachable – please introduce yourself when you see me around town! I am also reachable by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please email me if you have an issue or have something on your mind! 

Q: Okay, dumb question, but humor me. What was appealing to you about the Newport City job?

A: What is there not to like? Newport Beach is the envy of other cities – along the coast, a beautiful and active harbor, a diverse and interesting community, with a quality of life that cannot be beat. It’s also a full-service city with a rich history and a bright future ahead. I cannot think of a better city to be a part of and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to serve Newport Beach.

Q: What does Grace do for fun?

A: I have two school-aged kids, so they keep me pretty busy. When I do have time, I love to paddle on an outrigger canoe in the Newport Harbor and along the coast. It is the best stress release! When I’m on the water, I feel like everything is all right in the world.