From the Spring 2023 Issue
Reform and Evolution are Needed
As a condo manager, I’ve worked with my share of personalities – misogynistic, maniacal, narcissistic, bullies, complainers, social climbers, aristocratic, etc. – and that doesn’t even capture what we have met head-on with boards. But condo managers are not allowed to talk about that.
When Vaughan happened, it triggered my own PTSD about a board that didn’t care when a resident was coming after the staff or me. They only cared about who would pay for legal fees and questioned if it would help if the manager were moved. Never once did they care about me. Not what I was going through, my fear, staff fear, police visits, court stuff – nope, they didn’t care. They could have cared less that I was terrified, that my personal world was being invaded. Frankly, they became as offensive to me as person X, who was making my life hell because they knew and evaluated what I was dealing with up against their finances and contractual responsibilities. I was supposed to behave daily as if I wasn’t scared to be there. I was supposed to be business as usual while personally attacked. And this was led by the chair of the board.
We as managers take abuse on many fronts, and it’s a risk we take, and it’s still never changed how much I love my career – because I do. But, what many forget, we managers are treated as expendable. Some board chairs forget that their whims, their insane demands and secretive, manipulative behaviours actually impact a human’s career. Their voluntary position, of which no education is required, gets to decide the contracts and finances of some of the city’s most considerable assets with zero accountability.
There truly needs to be more education for board members and some accountability metrics. As managers, we care for, operate, financially manage and maintain mechanical operations on condos, some of which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s through our hard work that the profit is made. It’s time managers are valued and our salaries stop being low-balled. We are supported. We are recognized as being pivotal in the health of a significant industry sector.
I’ve been lucky to land at a site where my board understands and supports positive mental health; they respect the work of a property manager and absolutely value expertise in all areas. Career-wise, I love what I do, but that doesn’t mean that reform and dynamic change aren’t necessary. I look forward to seeing how we evolve and seeing an evolution in how boards should be created.
The industry must recognize the abuse managers deal with, NOT just by residents but by boards, which hold our careers by the stroke of their pens.
Nicole Kreutzberg is a Licensed Condominium Manager with Del Property Management Inc and loves managing high-rises in the GTA.