What Managers Want For the Holidays

community managers h o a homefront hoa homefront holiday gifts Dec 21, 2021

By Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. CCAL

As we give gifts to loved ones and friends during the holiday season, most HOA members probably don’t consider giving to their community manager – the person who gets the calls when plumbing or roofs leak, somebody acts up at the pool, or gates malfunction. What if our under-appreciated managers could have the holiday gift that meant the most to them? I asked that question of nine veteran managers and management company owners.

A recurring theme was the gift of gratitude. Lesley Millender-Irwin PCAM, a 20-year General Manager in Glendale for FirstService Residential, said she would like “the gift of appreciation for management and support staff. We want you to enjoy where you live, so a kind word said to us goes a long way and makes a HUGE difference during these challenging times.”

“It would be nice for a manager to receive a ‘thank you’ when they do a job well,” said Michael Huffman PCAM, owner of Management Professions Inc. in Torrance. 

Another theme was trust, allowing the manager to perform their duties to the association without co-management. Kelly Bunnell PCAM, owner of Bentley Community Management in Yorba Linda, said “a gift would be for boards to trust us to do what we say we will do, so they can enjoy their lives as homeowners and not feel like they are on duty 24/7. Managers get a gift (freedom to do their job), and the owners get a gift also – relaxation!” 

In this era of instant communication, some managers asked for patience and understanding. “Respect of manager’s/staff’s time after business hours, not to micromanage managers, and to understand that portfolio managers handle more than one property,” responded Connie Vohden PCAM, owner of Community Association Specialists, Redondo Beach.

 Aza Ingraham, a veteran manager with Balboa Management in Brea, said, “I would love the gift of patience and an open mind on decision-making and seeking proposals.” 

One company owner asked for a commitment from all parties to become better educated: “The education of managers, board members and providers of service to the association industry is critical to achieving an understanding of each party’s role in working together to operate a successful owners association,” said Jim McCarthy, owner of Condominium Management Services in Claremont.

Several managers asked for people to work harder to build community.

“The gift I would like to have is for HOAs to embrace the importance of ‘community’ and diligently and creatively find ways to advance community in their association,” said David Brock PCAM, management company owner, Beven & Brock, Pasadena.

Lauren Baker CMCA, a General Manager in Huntington Beach with FirstService Residential, said simply, her gift would be “a more neighborly community.”

Finally, Russ Hoffman PCAM, owner of Valencia Management Group in Valencia, asked for “goodwill toward your neighbors and understanding that we are here to help.” 

Community association managers are called upon to handle just about everything in the homeownership world. Maintenance, repairs, landscaping, finances, architectural conformity, assessment delinquencies, and neighbor behavior are part of the wide array of issues managers are asked to handle in a typical day. Juggling all the myriad homeowner demands and problems isn’t easy.

Surely there are other ways to show appreciation to the community association managers, and this would certainly be a good season to start, wouldn’t it?

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