Considering that one in every 4 homes in America is contained in a Homeowner's Association, Condo Association, or other common interest development, I am often surprised by how little the general populous knows about community associations.
Largely, I think this lack of awareness of the industry is related to the overall silence from the media on the topic of community associations. Sure, there are the usual "Bad HOA" stories of fraud, unfairness, and paint colors, and there are occasional good stories too, but in the grand scheme of things, those stories come out infrequently enough that John Q. Public is still living his life blissfully unaware of the bustling industry that is community association management.
So any chance to get some positive exposure for our industry is a grand opportunity, not only to counterbalance the little bit of bad with a little bit of good, but also to build up some public awareness of our industry as a whole. And so it is with great excitement that I am looking forward to watching tonight's episode of Undercover Boss, featuring John Carona, the CEO of Associa.
Associa is the largest community association management company in the country, if not the world (they are in 5 countries). If you haven't heard of them before, either you're new, or I'd like to see the rock you've been living under, because they are literally everywhere in this industry - and if you work in the industry, you have probably either worked for them or worked for a management company that was bought by them at some point in your career. That makes them a good choice for a show like Undercover Boss, because of their size, and how distributed they are. Plus a number of employees, particularly in their newer acquisitions may never even have seen what John Carona looks like.
Undercover Boss is a feel-good television show that sends executives into the trenches to work for their employees. At the end of each episode, the executive has gotten a better appreciation for the people who work under them, and they show that appreciation by giving back in ways that improve the working life of those employees.
According to the show notes, John will be shown going undercover as a compliance officer, manning a concierge desk, and working maintenance. I am sorry we won't get a chance to see him doing accounting, attending a board meeting, or acting as an assistant property manager, but I think the three tasks they choose are a pretty good peek into the services CAM management companies offer.
The episode is Season 8, Episode 8 and will be airing tonight, May 5th at 8PM EST on CBS (or watch it online here)
It's my hope that after tonight, the general populous will have not only more awareness of the community association industry in general, but also a more positive view of those of us who work in the industry.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the episode after you've watched it! Do you think it was a good representation of our industry? Tell me what you think in the comments below!