Contributed by Brittanie Davis Morge, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
One of the most valuable gifts we can give ourselves as community association managers and homeowner leaders is to continually expand our knowledge. Pursuing education contributes to job performance and career longevity for managers and provides board members with the necessary expertise to lead their communities effectively.
Community managers are frequently expected to be knowledgeable in administrative and clerical duties, fiscal requirements, building and grounds maintenance, among other tasks. For board members, it’s important to understand the governing documents and how they provide guidance in implementing rules and regulations, conducting meetings and elections, collecting assessments, funding reserves, and more.
CAI offers great courses as part of its education program that cover the fundamentals of managing and governing a community association. I highly encourage pursuing education with CAI, starting with courses that are most applicable to the immediate needs of your community.
You also should think outside of formal education. What are your community’s weaknesses or areas that need improvement? What are some unique needs that you are facing? How can you elevate your knowledge and add to your personal community management or governance toolbox?
In addition to staying up to date on laws and regulations and best practices in several key areas, community managers and board members need to become familiar with new technologies either to improve existing processes or adjust their communication strategy to keep up with demographic changes.
For example, your community may have homeowners who speak a different language. If so, you might benefit from classes that provide proficiency in that second language. That will make communication more effective, allowing all residents to be heard and understood.
Maybe your community is plagued by frequent leaks and you are constantly filing insurance claims. When this occurred at a condominium I managed, I took mold remediation classes from our restoration service provider and asked our insurance professional numerous industry-related questions. This increased my knowledge in these areas and helped me to better prepare if unfortunate events were to occur.
For most communities, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us into going digital. Recognizing shortcomings in this regard and taking steps to educate yourself will be critical to the association’s success. Most of the software systems that we now use daily have online tutorials or webinars to help you take advantage of their maximum potentials. Learning to host a virtual meeting successfully is part of our responsibilities even as the pandemic subsides.
When it comes to legislative changes, the association’s legal counsel can be a fantastic resource. In Northern Virginia, where my community is located, many law firms hold quarterly legislative updates that cover recent changes to existing laws, their potential effects on our communities, and what to expect in the future—information that is valuable to inform our day-to-day management and governance.
Expanding our knowledge by pursuing education can help us to better assist residents, become more effective leaders, and contribute to the success of our communities.
Brittanie Davis Morge is a community manager at River Creek Owners Association in Leesburg, Va.
>> CAI can help you in pursuing education goals for the new year. Find your path at www.caionline.org/LearningCenter.