Community Association of the Year

Reflections from Past CAY Award Winners

Doesn’t Everyone Like to Win!?

By Lee Ann Weir, CMCA, AMS

Lee Ann has been the general manager for Lionsgate at Woodmont Corner and Woodmont Corner Master Condominiums for more than 8 years. She loves her job because of the dedicated board and committee members as well as the customer service-oriented employees. Lee Ann has been an active member of the Quorum Editorial Committee for the past three years.

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Winning is fun, right? So, I wonder why so few communities complete and return the application for WMCCAI’s Community Association of the Year, also known as “CAY”?

The applications have changed slightly over the years. A long time ago, the manager filled in all the required information. Years later, the manager could do most of the work, but a volunteer owner needed to write a letter supporting the manager’s answers. Now, almost all of the application must be filled out by association volunteers, such as board or committee members.  Is that the drawback? I admit that I almost didn’t do it for 2016 because I thought it would be difficult to get volunteers, but I was wrong. I asked two people and they both said “SURE!”

You must know where I am going with this. The volunteers wrote the essay and with my help, answered the questions on the application and we WON! Did I mention that everyone likes to win? When I told the two residents who helped with the application that their efforts were rewarded, they were ecstatic! I wrote the board of directors with the news. They were ecstatic!  I wrote the residents of the Association and the responses were happy, proud, and ecstatic!  Someone suggested that I tell the local realtors about it and I did. They used the information in their marketing materials.

Additionally, I wrote some of our service providers to thank them for their help. Without a fabulous landscaper, management company, exterminator, window cleaner, etc. the volunteers wouldn’t have been so willing to put in their time and effort to let others know what they already knew:  This community is a winner! Lionsgate at Woodmont Corner has two CAY plaques proudly displayed on the wall in the management office.

So, fill out the application! When your association wins, it be announced and celebrated at Jump Start January and, again, at the Conference and Expo. Here’s a hint: You will be asked to provide pictures of your community. Think about that in the Spring or Fall when most properties look a lot better than in January.

Winning this award allows you to brag about your staff, your contractors, yourself and the community as a whole. Take advantage of it. The high lasts a long time!


Winning Isn’t Everything…But, It Sure Feels Good When You Do!

By Derek Wilson, CMCA

Derek has been on the CAMP (Community Association Management Professionals) for over three years managing large and very large-scale communities in Prince George’s County. Previously working at Oak Creek Club Homeowners Association, Wilson led a team of dedicated professionals committed to customer service and performance excellence (awarded “Community of the Year” in the large category by WMCCAI in 2017). Derek is looking forward to continuing the path of excellence and professional growth for the Fairwood Community Association. He enjoys building relationships with community leaders business partners and industry professionals through collaboration and partnering on like topics and goals. Derek has been active as a member of several Chapter committees and continues to look for opportunities to volunteer within the organization.

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Oak Creek Club Homeowners Association winning the Community Association of the Year in the large-scale category for 2016 was a rewarding experience for all involved. The process of completing the application was just as rewarding as being announced as the winner. At first glance the application looked intimidating to the community volunteer leaders and the management team. However, once we started completing the application, we realized that it was in no way as difficult as we perceived it to be.

This was because the Association was following the industry’s best practices in the operation of the Association, which made it easy to answer the questions and share examples of how the best practices are used in the operation of the Association. I recall the community volunteer leaders and the management team getting excited as we completed the application, as we so often get caught up in the day to day that we don’t stop to realize how effective the Association is operating. We felt like winners just by submitting the application.

Oh, but it gets better! Once we were announced as the WINNER, the comradery increased X 100. It was fun for me as the manager to take every opportunity to share my excitement about the community winning the CAY award, whether it was at the company holiday party, education

sessions, with existing and new homeowners of the community, and just about anyone that would listen. I am not sure how much longer I can continue the comradery on this win, but I am not tired of sharing the excitement with others yet. The community leaders used the CAY award as an opportunity to further connect with the other community volunteers letting them know that their participation assisted with the community being awarded the CAY acknowledgment. We sent out several communications to the community about the win. It was important to make sure that the community understood the criteria for being selected as a CAY winner and that it was not just about curb appeal.

We had multiple copies of our CAY poster that was displayed at the annual Conference and Expo made into yard signs. The signs were placed throughout the community at various times of the year as a reminder to the community that we are an award-winning community. The CAY posters were displayed at the community events, including the annual meeting, national night out, and the community day.

The CAY essay, the newspaper announcement of the CAY winners, and the Quorum issue highlighting the CAY winners were added to the new homeowner’s welcome package, posted on the community website, sent to our local elected officials, and shared with the builders to make available to prospective homeowners. The CAY poster has been framed and displayed in the community clubhouse.

It has been an awesome experience being recognized as a CAY winner. I encourage other communities to apply for the CAY recognition. Trust me…you will realize that your community is already a WINNER.

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