Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs 

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

When Bruce Nahon, CMCA, AMS, a Managing Agent based in Kirkland, Washington, started down this career path, he firmly believed he would be best served by belonging to a community of professionals who promoted the CMCA credential and its importance. “Passing a rigorous, internationally recognized exam and earning the CMCA credential was a great way to grow my career as an HOA portfolio manager and it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue this work,” said Bruce, who went on to earn the AMS designation in 2002.

Added Bruce, “As I took on additional properties to manage, the CMCA credential assured HOAs they could rely on my background, experience and the fact that I regularly participate in continuing education opportunities.”

Bruce continues to find satisfaction in helping HOA owners and Boards with their individual and varied needs. “Owners tell me they enjoy contacting me to address their questions and concerns and Boards rely on my knowledge of the governing documents and how they affect all operational aspects of the association. I find this work extremely rewarding,” said Bruce.

Added Bruce, “To all new managers I say, become CMCA certified as soon as possible and find a mentor to help you navigate the joys and sometimes perils of community association management.”

Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs 

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

Barbara E. Saxton, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, is the Regional Community Manager, for The Galman Group, in Jenkintown, PA.  Barbara has been with The Galman Group for more than 16 years.  Prior to that, she was a Regional Community Manager in New Jersey.  Barbara has been  managing community associations for more than 30 years and has been a CAI member for almost as long. Barbara also serves on the Board of CAI’s Keystone Chapter in Pennsylvania.

According to Barbara, “Regardless of your profession, I strongly believe in professional credentials. Earning the CMCA encouraged me to pursue my AMS and PCAM designations. Having these credentials tells my associations that I value my career and I’m prepared to guide them in the right direction.”

Barbara’s advice for managers entering the field, “Earn your credentials. Learn and continuing learning; this will make you the best manager possible.”

As a longtime credential holder, one professional moment proudly stands out in Barbara’s mind: “Receiving the Robert H. Wise, Sr. President’s Award from the Keystone Chapter of CAI (formerly the Pennsylvania Delaware Valley Chapter) in 2016.  My name and credentials are prominently displayed on the plaque,” said Barbara. 

The Robert H. Wise, Sr. President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement was established in 1996 to honor former chapter president Robert Wise, principal and owner of Wise Management Company and who was an active member of this chapter for many years. The award is presented each year by the president of the board to a chapter member who has shown outstanding service and dedication to the chapter.

Barbara’s favorite aspect of community association management are the people. “In this profession, there are so many different perspectives, and so many informed colleagues. This leads to a tremendous amount of satisfying relationships,” added Barbara. 

Looking to take your career to the next level? Here’s what you should know about the CMCA credential!

The field of community association management offers great potential for professionals who have experience in people-centric roles. If you’ve worked in the hospitality or service industry, this might be a career path to consider. And whether you’re new to the field or have been working as a community association manager for some time, it’s worth learning about how the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential can help you take your career to the next level. 

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) estimates that as of 2018, there are approximately 355,000 community associations in the United States housing over 74 million residents. That’s 11 million more residents than just a decade ago. In fact, one in four people in the U.S. lives in a community association. There are approximately 8,000 community association management companies and up to 60,000 off and on-site community association managers in the U.S. alone. As the number of people living in community associations increases, so too does the need for community association managers. 

Job prospects are excellent, especially for community association managers who hold a professional designation. It’s estimated that up to 26 percent of all ownership housing is in one of the three basic types of community associations. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for community association managers was just over $59,500. As job prospects and wages vary from state to state, it’s a good idea to check out your area’s particulars.

CMCA – The Essential Credential

The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential key to building a successful career in community association management. It signifies to employers you’re competent in specific management practices and are committed to professional excellence, ethical business standards, and continuing education. Employers are always on the lookout for dedicated professionals, and the CMCA credential after your name often makes the difference between whether or not you land the all-important first interview.

The CMCA credential is highly accessible:

  • It can be achieved with a limited investment of time and money on your part.
  • It takes a few days of prerequisite course work, some time for study, and one day for the exam.
  • Its relatively low cost is a great investment in your future.

Earning the CMCA credential opens the door to higher earnings—on average 20 percent more—than non-credentialed community association managers. It is also a great way to build your professional expertise and image.

The CMCA program is dual accredited. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program’s dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It makes the CMCA credential one of a small number of dual-accredited credentialing bodies and the only accredited certification for community association management professionals around the world. It is a great source of pride and a strong testament to the strength and value of the CMCA credential.​

An Exciting Career Path with A lot of Potential

Life as a community association manager can vary day-to-day. Managers work closely with residents and Board members, make site visits to the community, hire and supervise vendors, interact with community leaders, and so much more. Not only do you earn a decent living, but you’re constantly learning new things and meeting interesting people from all walks of life. The odds of becoming bored on the job are slim—there are just too many different and interesting things to do!

Becoming a Certified Manager of Community Associations is not merely a designation; it can lead to the career journey of a lifetime. It elevates your credibility as a community association manager and makes employers more confident in hiring you. Finally, it offers you a wealth of opportunity, stability, and growth potential in an exciting career that currently shows no sign of slowing down.

For further information, please visit camicb.org or email us with any questions at info@camicb.org.

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Real estate Q&A: How can HOA enforce smoking ban in common areas?

Gary M. Singer, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Q: At our annual meeting, our condominium community passed a “No Smoking” resolution into our bylaws. It encompassed the entire club area, including the outdoor facilities. We now have a small group of new owners who vocally oppose this ban and continue to smoke at our community pool despite numerous requests to stop. How can we enforce the ban? — Jerry

A: Smoking has been banned indoors in condominium common areas for a while. The recent trend is to ban smoking in outdoor common areas, like the pool, and in limited common elements, such as balconies.

To see if your association has the right to do this, you must review the condominium’s declaration. If allowed, it will need to be voted on by a prescribed majority of the unit owners. As long as all of these hoops are jumped through, the ban goes into effect.

Generally, if a community rule is reasonable, it will be upheld if challenged in court. A smoking ban, even outside on a balcony or in the pool area, would likely be found to be reasonable because of the well-known health issues associated with secondhand smoke.

The logic would apply to similar activities, such as pipe smoking or vaping.

Your community can enforce the new rule the same way it would any other rule. First, a warning letter should be sent to the offending homeowner. If this does not work, they can be fined for breaking the rules.

This situation is becoming further complicated by the rising use of medical marijuana. If it were legal, it seems that recreational marijuana would be treated similarly to tobacco.

However, an argument can be made that prescribed marijuana might be accepted in some cases as a reasonable accommodation under housing and disability laws.

Meeting With The Nation’s Top Policy Experts At The 2021 

NCSL Legislative Summit

By Matthew Green, CAMICB Associate Executive Director

It was fantastic to be back in person last week at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Tampa, Florida. This annual meeting gives the nation’s state legislators and staff a rare opportunity to connect, dive into policy issues and prepare for the legislative sessions in 2022.

The annual Summit is an important opportunity for CAMICB to educate – and update – state and international lawmakers about the community association management profession. CAMICB has partnered with CAI and exhibited at the Summit for more than 10 years. Since then, our team has had thousands of face-to-face conversations with lawmakers about HOA and condominium laws. We also exhibit annually to reinforce the CMCA credential be considered a primary certification option should legislatures pursue licensing the association management profession.

This year nearly 2,400 people registered for the Summit, with almost a thousand legislative staff and policymakers from across the world attending. Our booth bustled with the conversation about the CMCA credentialing program’s recent international accreditation by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and emphasizing the CMCA credential meets the global benchmark for certification programs. Earning the prestigious international accreditation is proof the CMCA credential serves community association management in a consistent, comparable, and reliable manner worldwide.

And if you want to catch up on some of the hottest policy topics – visit NCSL https://www.ncsl.org/meetings-training/2021-summit-livestreaming.aspx for many of the recorded sessions.

Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs 

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

Rebecca Sarver, CMCA, CAM is the HOA Manager of the Southwest Florida Division for DR Horton, a home construction company. Said Rebecca, “My position with Horton – a home developer – means I hire management companies to oversee the communities we build. In this role, I work with our attorneys to write good governing documents, rules and regulations, architectural designs, and more.”

Rebecca explains that managers who’ve only been in the business a few years probably have not managed a developer controlled community. She says, “I really enjoy training others and I feel I can give these managers a very unique perspective on a different side of the business. That’s the beauty of professional community association management – there are many paths managers can take.”

Rebecca found that when she first earned her CMCA credential, it was so new that people didn’t understand its importance or why it was needed. Rebecca recalls that, “At the time, the CMCA was so new and in Florida, people were only familiar with the CAM or LCAM, and they didn’t know what the CMCA meant. The ability to promote myself as having earned this new and emerging credential was very beneficial. It helped me gain the respect of my colleagues and executive level staff.”

Rebecca’s advice for those considering a career in professional community association management:  “Ask your vendors questions. Attend as many classes as you can. If possible, attend the CAI National conference. Learning all aspects of this business gives you more to offer any association or employer; that means accounting, financials, insurance.”  She also reminds managers that “it’s ok if you don’t have all the answers; the important point is be sure you say you don’t know but you will certainly find out.”

Finally Rebecca offers, “I always tell managers, you know more than you think you do. After 37 years in this industry, I still attend classes as often as I can. With the popular ZOOM platform, I find attorneys are offering lots of online webinars. I probably attend one a week, and I always learn something new.”

Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs 

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

Paul D. Grucza, CMCA, AMS, PCAM is the Director of Education and Client Engagement at the CWD Group, Inc. AAMC in Seattle, Washington. Paul is one of the first 100 CMCAs to have earned the credential. He feels so strongly about its importance, that he implemented a policy at CWD that states all new staff members must earn the CMCA credential within 90 days of employment.

“I’m proud to have held and maintained the CMCA for so many years,” said Paul.  Paul is also a member of the Exam Development Committee where he has spent more than 20 years helping to write exam questions for the CMCA examination.  “I believe my experience in the field has helped shape the exam questions and, in turn, what knowledge is expected of CMCAs.” 

As Paul looks ahead to retirement and reflects upon his more than 40 year career in professional community association management, he explains, “I’m proud to have spent 40 years of my life in this wonderful industry. My favorite piece has been focusing on client engagement and training. This has been such a rewarding career for which I am grateful.” 

He adds, “One must have both patience and a true sense of urgency in this profession as well as a servant-leader mindset to be successful.” 

Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs 

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

Sandy Denton, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, is the General Manager of Sienna Associations in Missouri City, Texas.  Sandy, who is also Vice-Chair of the CAMICB Board of Commissioners, was recently honored with CAI’s most prestigious award – the Distinguished Service Award – at the CAI annual conference in Las Vegas.

“Whenever I explain my credentials, and why we have them, most people have no clue that our industry has these various credentials,” said Sandy. “When I describe what earning the CMCA credential and the PCAM designation, as well as others, mean and what they represent, they’re so impressed. I’m very proud to have these credentials as well as to be involved with both CAMICB and CAI.” Sandy is also a Past-President of CAI and has served as a distinguished speaker at numerous industry related conferences; she currently serves on the faculty of CAI’s professional manager development program.

Simply put, Sandy “loves making a difference in the lives of those living in the communities I serve. There are endless opportunities in community association management and every day there’s a new challenge!”

Voices & Vignettes From CMCAs

As CAMICB continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, we reached out to CMCAs who’ve held the credential for 25, or more, years. Many CMCAs graciously offered to share their experiences, highlights, career paths and advice with us. 

Pamela D. Bailey, CMCA, AMS, PCAM who is the CEO/Founder (Retired) of Chaparral Management Company, Inc. AAMCstarted her company in 1985, in Houston, Texas, where most management companies were owned by men. She knew that in order to stand out as the best and the brightest, she had to do everything possible to earn her place at the table. She recalls the Houston market was very competitive but her peers were some of her biggest cheerleaders. According to Pam, “Earning my CMCA credential and then later earning additional designations from CAI, gave me the opportunity to compete head to head.”  

Pam adds that her father was her biggest fan, and while he never received his college education, he understood the importance of a well-educated professional. She notes, “Each time I earned a credential or designation, I sent Daddy the press release first. Prior to his death in 2012, he had written part of his obituary that included me with all of my credentials following my name!  Soon after I received a sympathy card from another PCAM in Virginia Beach – who I did not know – but who had read the obituary. This powerful moment is when I realized the community of professional managers is truly a tribe.” 

One word describes Pam’s favorite aspect of community association management: relationships. “It’s a profession that’s all about people, and people are about relationships,” she said. Pam’s company was a well-known player in the Houston market for more than 30 years before she sold it, and she proudly notes that she maintained her very first client for all those years, “Simply put, caring about our communities and our homeowners, made us the best in Houston,” she said.

After Hurricane Harvey battered the Houston area in 2017, Chaparral Management had 42 inches of water in their office building and they lost everything on the first floor. Pam fondly recalls as they were hauling wet furniture to the curb, a truck pulled up with homeowners from one of their communities. “They got out of the truck and starting hugging us, helping us and assuring us it would be fine. Thirty minutes later, several more cars of homeowners arrived to feed us; they brought food, tables, flowers, napkins, the works! Our entire office was so touched and moved by their sense of community, empathy and generosity. We will forever be bound to them.”

Pam shares that the first, most important thing new managers must do to get off to a good start is, “Put down your phone and get out in the community! Be seen, show them you care and listen to their stories. If you see a baby stork, cap and gown, or other signage in the front yard signifying an important milestone or achievement, send a card of congratulations, and sign it. And if or when they call about a letter or delinquent statement, listen to their back story. If you show them you genuinely care, you will be repaid tenfold.”

What Is Really Causing Today’s Extreme Talent Shortage

The best strategy for winning today’s talent wars is to retain your skilled employees by fighting the top causes of turnover.

By Bruce Tulgan For Training

After huge recent fluctuations in the labor market—record low unemployment before the pandemic, record job losses during, and record re-hiring in the aftermath—employers are facing more severe talent shortages than any time since we at RainmakerThinking began our workplace research in 1993.

While the particulars differ by geography, industry, skill specialization, and level, the evidence of talent shortages is widespread:

  • Voluntary unplanned turnover (the “quit rate”) is increasing.
  • Pent-up departure demand (the “want to quit rate”) also is increasing.
  • Open-position and time-to-hire rates are increasing.
  • Early voluntary departure of new hires (less than eighteen months) is increasing.


Many observers point to acute, post-pandemic, presumably short-term factors:

  • Workforce burnout and depression
  • Fear of infection—causing fear of returning to the workplace
  • Extended unemployment and other benefits
  • Increased family care needs
  • Location disruption
  • Specific industry changes (for example, health care, restaurant/hospitality, public safety)
  • Hastened retirements or career pausing
  • Postponed schooling/training/graduation leading to delayed workforce entry

While most of these acute factors above will ebb with time, there also will be lasting echoes, especially given the longer-term trends that have been steadily transforming the employer-employee relationship:

  • Globalization and technology have reached a point where the world is so highly interconnected and rapidly changing that adaptability has replaced stability as the strategic imperative.
  • Institutions must be flexible, above all else, so employers can no longer even pretend to offer job security to even the most loyal employees.
  • Individuals must fend for themselves and their families, so employees must be prepared to sell their work to the highest bidder, in whatever currencies the individual may value (money, time, location, or otherwise).
  • Employer-employee relationships become less and less long-term and hierarchical and more and more short-term and transactional, and new modes of work continue to emerge (first there was temping, part-timing, and consulting; and now the gig economy).
  • Employers have learned from the pandemic that they must be even more lean, flexible, and adaptable (read, smaller real estate footprints and fewer permanent workers) going forward; and many employees, for their part, are recalibrating their career ambitions and plans, opting—at least for now—for more life in the balance with work.

Meanwhile, the supply-and-demand curve for employees promises to be unforgiving to employers for the foreseeable future:

  • For jobs that require technical training and certification, whether, through a professional degree or apprenticeship to a skilled tradesperson, the pipeline is not keeping up with market needs.
  • For those service jobs that do not require training and certification, there are shortages of candidates with the soft skills necessary for optimum performance.
  • Organizations with significant “age bubbles” (those born before 1965) will begin to feel the steady effects as the oldest, most experienced employees retire. Those retirees take with them the skill, knowledge, wisdom, institutional memory, and relationships developed during their tenures.
  • By 2022, individuals born in 1990 and later will comprise more than 33 percent of the North American workforce, with similar figures for Western Europe and Japan and even higher percentages in parts of South America, Africa, and Asia. Organizations with high percentages of young workers will face an increasingly transactional workforce, not hesitating to request greater flexibility in their working arrangements.

The Talent Wars Are Costly

When open-position and time-to-fill rates are high, your teams remain perpetually understaffed. There are five costs:

  1. Sales realization opportunities are lost and over-promised-purchasers are ultimately disappointed due to lack of capacity to fulfill the demand for the work necessary to deliver your services and products.
  2. Current staff members become overcommitted as they seek to fill in work in positions that remain unfilled; overcommitment syndrome leads to mistakes, delays, relationship friction, diminished morale, and burnout—ultimately leading to increased turnover.
  3. Overtime costs increase.
  4. Perpetual understaffing workarounds become entrenched bad habits, leading the team further and further away from best practices.
  5. New hires do not get enough attention in the onboarding and up-to-speed training process.

That’s why one of the worst things that can happen nowadays is when one of your valued employees decides to leave. So why do good people leave even unexpectedly when you wish they would stay?

Top 4 Causes of Early (Within 2 Years) Voluntary Departures

There is great consistency in data over more than two decades, including the last two years, in the top causes of early voluntary departures among newly hired employees:

  1. Buyer’s remorse or overselling the job: When the newly hired employee is very disappointed by the real conditions of the job as compared with representations or promises made during the hiring process.
  2. Inadequate onboarding and/or up-to-speed training process: When the first days and weeks of a new hire’s employment are not rigorously scheduled with interactions, experiences, and assignments designed to make a connection between the new hire and the organization—its mission, values, history, culture, people, and work—and transfer to the new-hire ownership of at least one concrete task, responsibility or project.
  3. Hand-off to a disengaged or unsupportive manager: When the manager does not provide clear expectations, regular feedback about performance, resource planning/troubleshooting/problem-solving, credit, or reward for performance.
  4. Limited flexibility when it comes to assignments, schedule, location/workspace, or other preferred work conditions.

While much hiring was postponed during the pandemic, where hiring was occurring, some of the underlying conditions contributing to these causes were exacerbated, leading to unnecessary hiring failures. At the same time, some new hires suffering these causes may have hesitated to leave their jobs during the pandemic, even if they had concluded that taking the job was a mistake.

When employees (new hires or longer-term) decide to quit—but not until “the time is right”—we call this “leaving in your head,” or “leaving without leaving.” This phenomenon is sometimes the explanation for diminished performance or bad attitude from a previously “good” employee.

Leaving without leaving is also a big component of pent-up departure demand.

Top 5 Causes of Current Pent-up Departure Demand/Mid-Stage Voluntary Departures

The top causes of current pent-up departure demand in today’s workforce also overlap with data over the last two decades regarding top causes of middle-stage (two to five years) voluntary departure:

  1. Overcommitment syndrome for an extended period with no end in sight: Siege mentality (incoming assignments, requests, opportunities feel like an assault); burnout.
  2. Disengaged or unsupportive manager: When the manager does not provide clear expectations, regular feedback about performance, resource planning/troubleshooting/problem solving, credit or reward for performance; or efforts to provide some flexibility when it comes to assignments, schedule, location/workspace, and other work conditions.
  3. Limited flexibility when it comes to assignments, schedule, location/workspace, or other preferred work conditions.
  4. Lack of career path: No clear steps toward role/position growth or advancement.
  5. Relationship conflict: Cliques, ringleaders, or other exclusionary social formations.

Again, the pandemic—with its attendant dangers, fears, lockdowns, supply chain disruption, market volatility, and other pressures—exacerbated many conditions underlying these causes. While many people did leave jobs (or the workforce altogether) during the pandemic, many others have stayed in place waiting for the right time to leave. As hiring soars to record highs in the post-pandemic era, quit rates also are soaring as pent-up departure demand is released.

What Can You Do?

Your #1 strategy for winning today’s talent wars is to retain the valued employees you already have by fighting these top causes of turnover. You’ll save yourself the costs of replacing that valued employee—the costs of recruiting, onboarding, and up-to-speed training for a replacement. You’ll keep earning a return on investment in the recruiting, onboarding, and up-to-speed training investment you have made in your existing employees. You’ll prevent disruption and increased work burdens that could affect the rest of your employees. You’ll prevent diminished morale and copycat departures. And the more you control turnover among good employees, the more robust your bench strength of home-grown talent who could be available for other positions throughout the organization. While you cannot control the large acute factors and the long-term macro factors driving the larger talent shortage, you CAN fight the causes of turnover in your own team/organization among your own talent. That is the first strategy.