Association Insights Seasonal

A Time of Reflection – Why Community Management Professionals are Thankful

We are quickly approaching the end of 2021 and will soon welcome in the New Year. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season will be upon us in no time at all.  As we plan for our shopping trips, family get togethers and the big New Year’s resolution, let’s pause. Pause and reflect on all the year has brought us. Yes, much of which we may like to put behind us, but a healthy appreciation of all that went right is just what the doctor ordered….

Recession Proof has been a phrase tossed around to describe our industry when trying to recruit the next generation of community association management professionals. Very few of us found ourselves looking for employment due to lay offs in 2020 and 2021. While many service companies and professionals found themselves out of work as a direct impact of COVID-19, our industry was able to quickly adapt, deploying technology and other resources to keep our communities going. Community management professionals across all departments, even those whose title includes the words “On-Site”, found themselves teleworking.

Teleworking is a word that other industries may just shrug their shoulders and wonder, what is the big deal about this word? While some management companies and other industry professions may have already been ahead of the times, the majority of us were not working from home regularly especially not full time. Yet today’s recruiters, HR professionals and CEOs have learned that teleworking is not so bad after all. It brings many improvements in today’s work/life balance, productivity and efficiencies.

Virtual Meetings…let us really PAUSE here. Thank the technology that made it possible. Thank your community clients who embraced it. Thank your community memberships who participated in greater numbers than ever before. Thank your company leadership that deployed the resources to make it all happen. Most importantly, THANK the legislators who made virtual meetings a part of the fabric of how we conduct community business moving forward. Community managers and minute takers are no longer commuting 1 – 2 hours round trip for a 1 hour board meeting. They are able to go home and enjoy a meal with their families and then jump right into their board meetings. And then, at 9:15 when the meeting adjourns, that is it, the night is over. No driving home! Or maybe, you get ahead of things and knock out some of those action items before bed. And hey, its probably going to be a lot easier to recruit community members to serve on the board of directors when they too get to balance their volunteer time with home life just as we do…

Conferences are back! Networking and sharing our knowledge with one another was not easily done in a virtual world, but as the summer drew to a close, many of us who were properly vaccinated and healthy were able to start attending industry conferences. Some of us had not seen each other in person for well over a year. Some of us had to put our continuing education and ongoing learning on the back burner while we ran damage control, helping to support our clients to the greatest degree possible during the pandemic. Conferences can be exhausting, all the traveling, the networking, the entertaining, the learning…but this year, more than ever before, we are grateful for these opportunities!

Each Other…our colleagues, our leadership teams, our executives, our teams, our business partners! Our industry is truly made up of some of the most talented, most thoughtful and most daring individuals.  The knowledge, brainstorming and resources that are shared across all those who serve community associations is second to none. We are compassionate, caring individuals who set out each day to impact others in a positive way. Maybe we only bring resolution to an ongoing pet waste matter, or maybe we help an elderly couple manage a disruptive water intrusion situation with their neighbor above. No matter how small, how routine, or how large, we make a difference! And for that, many are thankful!

Our industry is not always glamourous and we are not always thanked. We may often be poked fun of in commercials, movies or even by those we love, but with reflection, it is clear, we are a strong, healthy and meaningful industry. Happy Thanksgiving!

By Victoria Garner, CMCA, AMS, PCAM

Victoria is the executive vice president at Cardinal Management Group, Inc. in Woodbridge, Virginia. She has been involved in community management for nearly two decades and a member of the Cardinal team for thirteen years. Victoria serves on the WMCCAI Quorum editorial committee and Virginia Legislative Committees.