The CMCA Challenge
When Kayte Comes, Executive Director of the CAI Central Arizona Chapter, took the leap to invest a significant amount of resources into a program to support and encourage community managers to earn the CMCA credential, she had no idea it would be so popular. So fast.
Comes developed the program, The CMCA Challenge, with an emphasis on meeting the specific needs of managers in her community. Specifically, they targeted community managers who only held the local certification (the Certified Arizona Association Manager) and those community managers who lacked employer support to earn the CMCA credential.
“We really wanted to create a unique opportunity for candidates to attend a focused CMCA study session, conducted by highly qualified Central Arizona PCAM managers, culminating in candidates taking the CMCA exam that very same day,” said Comes. “It was also important to offer the study session and exam at an appealing price point.”
Comes and her team at the Central Arizona Chapter opened the registration process for The CMCA Challenge in September 2016 and within two days, the session was full with a total of 60 participants. The cost per participant was $50, including the exam fee.
Participants were given instructions to download the free CMCA Study Guide and to begin preparing, on their own, for the exam. They had three months to review the materials and familiarize themselves with the exam content. Comes and her team were in regular contact with the program participants, reminding and encouraging them to study and prepare to make the most out of that day. Then, on December 7, 2016 the group convened in Phoenix for a structured three-hour study session where they went through the practice exam, asked questions and shared different business scenarios. Following a one-hour break for lunch, the group took the two and a half hour CMCA examination.
The CMCA Challenge was intended for experienced community managers, but the requirements were simple. A candidate had to meet one of the following criteria:
- A candidate had to be a community manager for at least five years.
- A candidate must have successfully completed the M100 course.
- A candidate must hold the CAAM certification.
Said Comes, “We were thrilled to have a 91 percent pass rate which is the highest passing rate in the country for a group that size who took the exam.”
In addition to the interactive, in-person study session, Comes credits the success of the program to starting the process early – allowing three months of study and preparation with weekly reminders and words of encouragement.
The CMCA Challenge participant Doug Eagen, CMCA, shared this: “I was very happy to hear the news that I passed the CMCA Challenge! The support we received from the Chapter was unprecedented and I really appreciate them undertaking this CMCA Challenge event. I hope it will be duplicated in many other places.”
In a business driven by community, Comes noted, “We also reached out to the community and received incredible support from a number of organizations including Burg Simpson, Butler Hansen, PC, Desert Classic Landscaping, Goodman Law Group, KLWT, Metro Phoenix Bank, PPG Paints, Sherwin Williams and Father Daughter Reserve Studies.”
Comes hopes to make The CMCA Challenge an annual event.