Becoming a community association managerCommunity association management is an industry filled with diversity. You’ll find people from all walks of life who have chosen it as a career path, and all for their own personal reasons. What is the one commonality? It’s easy to love what they do!

So, what makes it such a great career? The best way to find out is to hear it from a community association manager themselves. We sat down with a few of them, and here is what we found out:
  1. It’s a people business.

    Sure, the job is called “community association management,” but it’s really about the people. This aspect of the role is what brings the most challenges, and the most opportunities. Julie Sanchez, a community association manager with FirstService Residential, has been in property management for over 30 years, and the people aspect is still the part she enjoys the most. “I love building relationships and turning bad situations into successful stories,” she says. “Patience, understanding, and meeting people on common ground are musts. I truly do care about people and I love helping them with their concerns.”
  2. You’ll never be bored.

    A Community association manager will tell you that their job isn’t exactly nine to five. But, that’s part of what makes the job interesting. Each day brings something new, and often, there are many unique challenges as well as rewards. You may be meeting a repair crew to discuss reconstruction after storm damage in one of your communities; you might be required to attend a board meeting in the evening; or, you could be co-hosting a resident mixer by the community pool. Of course, there are also administrative components to the job, so you’ll be spending some time back at the office too. But it’ll never be the kind of career where you spend all day, every day staring at the same walls of a cubicle.
  3. You’ll learn something new.

    Your varied responsibilities as a community association manager mean you’ll become an expert in several different areas. You’ll become adept at managing accounts and navigating financial reports. Beyond that, when dealing with projects in your community, there will be vast opportunities to learn about construction, engineering, plumbing, electrical work and even the plants that make up the native landscaping in your area. “Walking around in pink shoes, not knowing how things work is really not my style,” said Katia Ettus, a manager in South Florida. “I am a seminar and course-lover... I’m addicted to information and I love learning about our vendors‘ trades and operations.”
  4. It’s more than a job – it’s a way of life.

    As a community association manager, you’ll find that you become connected to the community and the people you serve. The hours you spend beyond the typical workday will integrate your community association manager role into other parts of your life, which for a lot of property managers, ends up being a really good thing. “Community association management is a great field for people with hospitality backgrounds who want more regular hours,” says Monique Zavala, an Administrative Assistant with a leading property management company. “It combines my love of hospitality with a career that offers me fantastic growth opportunities and a good work/life balance.”
  5. There’s room to grow.

    Community association management is a career with a clear path for advancement. There are many levels of certification and continuing education that professionals can enjoy to advance within their companies. Choosing to work with a leading nationwide community association management company can also open up job opportunities in other markets, including some of the best cities in the world.
  6. It’s not all about the money.

    Community association managers can make a very comfortable living. Traditionally, wages are commensurate with experience, licenses and certifications. Most importantly, you’ll find that many community association managers value the intangibles associated with the job above the annual salary. Building friendships, cultivating relationships, solving problems for people, and knowing that residents of the community place a tremendous trust in you are some of the most rewarding aspects of the job.
The best community association management companies seek professionals with a unique combination of traits: leadership, business savvy skills and a results-driven nature. Beyond this, they must also possess a natural desire to please and a willingness to embrace the ideals of hospitality: empathy, along with caring and problem solving through collaboration. While the role of a community association manager can be very challenging, it can also be very satisfying because you are, essentially, all things to all people. A great community association manager is, simultaneously, a considerate but firm go-to problem solver for residents, a resolute business partner for the association board, and an inspiring leader for his or her own team.

So for those with the unique skills and qualifications capable of encompassing all of these roles, community association management is indeed a great career choice. To find out more about how you can make a difference each and every day, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s residential community association management leader.
Wednesday September 10, 2014