Claudia Damaren, RCM
Platinum XO & Imperial II
Humber College, Instructor for ACMO’s Condominium Law
and Condominium Administration and Human Relations
Year entered the profession: 2003
Year RCM obtained: January 2005
Other education: Seneca College, Building Environmental Systems Facility Manager Program
Mentor(s) in the industry: My career path leading to what I consider to be a well-rounded condominium manager, is rooted in the training, guidance, motivation, emotional support and role modelling provided by John Damaren, RCM. John feels invested in my personal success and I am benefiting greatly from his knowledge and attributes as a great teacher. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by high-quality professionals in the industry that have a role in my personal and professional development. Patricia Elia of Elia Associates through her objectivity, fairness, compassion and genuineness has allowed me to discover gratification in my chosen profession.
Licensing for condominium managers is now a reality. What impact might this have for all condominium managers in Ontario? How will a licence benefit your career as an RCM? Professionalism is key in our careers, which leads to success in providing the required services to corporations, communities, boards of directors, owners and residents. Licensing will elevate the role of a condominium manager, which includes managing all aspects of a condominium corporation: financial, administrative, social, the physical condition of the property and assets, adherance to pertinent legal documents, protecting the corporation against claims and incidents, and assisting in maintaining and increasing the property value for the owners’ benefit. This is a big job, and we now have the credentials to provide the assurances that there are steps being taken for the development and education of condominium managers. The licence encourages an RCM to exceed expectations, to aim high while providing excellence, and to raise the bar through additional education, information, connections, and ultimately in mastering a profession that is as much challenging as it can be rewarding.
What path brought you to a career as a condominium manager? How has your membership in ACMO helped you in your career? I started this career path as a live-in building superintendent in a rental building. This allowed me the chance to update and upgrade my education in my new home country. Business Management was my background. My intentions were diferent from what I am and what I do today. The constant human interaction combined with the curiosity of how things work and how to improve them, keep me interested and always wanting to learn more. Entering the condominium field and meeting my mentors, I realized that I love improving things, finding solutions, and making things better. Condominium management is a new canvas every day and keeps the adrenaline going. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. Joining ACMO with a student membership allowed me to understand that this industry is very well connected, informational, and it encouraged me to take steps to better myself. I learned that it was the RCMs that were the ones to take extra steps in bettering their careers and for me, there was no other way. I have taken this learned lesson and applied it over the years. I have also encouraged all of my students to follow this path, hoping it may be at least as beneficial to them as it was to me.
Tell us about a personal success story on the job. Being involved with many corporations, boards of directors, owners, residents, associates and colleagues there are many success stories whether they are community related, financially beneficial to owners, sucessful projects and recognition for the community. The stories that are related to the human accomplisments are the ones closest to my heart.
The personal success story that has a special meaning for me is related to one of today’s RCMs. This student was taking her first course in the ACMO Law class and I had the opportunity to be part of the beginning of a successful and brilliant career by sharing my experiences and connections to assist in opening a door to the condo world for her. This outstanding sudent is now a respected and appreciated condominium manager holding her RCM. While in the audience, witnessing the acceptance of the RCM designation, I felt that I was giving back to this industry and ACMO for the chance that was given to me. I had the warm feeling of accomplishment, pride and humility having the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s career. I felt no less for the ones that followed that proved to be willing, capable and brilliant in their own way by raising the professionalism bar for all of us. There is no success that is not related to the human contribution, and when one of us succeeds and shines it gives us purpose!
What’s your biggest challenge as a manager? What’s your favourite part of the job? The human interaction in condominiums is the biggest challenge and on the flip side of the coin, it is also my favourite part of the job. It has taken some time to understand and learn the ways to address and approach each and every situation in dealing with owners, residents and others involved industry professionals. Empathy needs to be learned and recognized, and it is not always easy to do. I believe that communication is the most important challenge to master as a manager. We need to tell others how we want them to communicate with us, and we need to be clear and transparent. When interactions with our clients and service providers are respectul, responsible and professional, they give us satisfaction and a sense of a job well done.
Best business advice you ever received. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Always plan 3–4 steps in advance to ensure that you are going in the right direction. This advice has followed me through the years and has proven to be part of everything that I do successfully.
Answer this statement: I am an RCM because …. I believe an RCM is a step above those that have not chosen this path. We are always prepared to lead by example, to take the extra step, an extra course or another challenge to ensure that this industry evolves and is a recognized and respected industry. As united RCMs we are a strong force that leads to recognition and realization of the individual potential and helps create the industry leaders of today and tomorrow.