Thought Leadership

Laying The Groundwork For Community Association Management Professionals

About Community Associations Institute (CAI)

​​CAI is an international membership organization dedicated to building better communities. With over 40,000 members, CAI has 63 chapters worldwide, including Canada, the Middle East and South Africa, and relationships with housing leaders in a number of other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. The institute provides information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them. CAI members include association board members and other homeowner leaders, community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to associations.


According to estimates from the Foundation for Community Association Research, twenty years ago, there were approximately 240,000 community associations in the U.S., and about 48 million Americans were living within them. Today, more than 355,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives are in the U.S., with roughly 74.1 million residents.


CAI noticed the need for an institute that could cater to this booming industry and harness the knowledge from experts to lead it to a prosperous future. Tom Skiba, CAE, CEO of CAI, says, “With shared interest communities experiencing steady growth both domestically and worldwide, CAI has maintained pace with the rapidly evolving needs of its present and future members. The organization’s membership has grown from 16,500 to more than 43,000 over two decades, and its domestic and international chapters have increased from 56 to 63.”


The most crucial factor in CAI’s growth, he says, has been the constant focus on providing value to all of its member groups. The institute strives to create a unique membership value proposition for each group targeted to their specific needs.


Skiba says, “Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to connect. Through shared perspectives, experiences, and knowledge, a strong peer network is one of the best resources for creating community legacies.”


CAI solves this problem by playing an essential role in bringing together community association leaders and professionals. The institute’s success has helped shape the future and strengthen personal and professional connections. He adds, “Where else can you meet colleagues from around the world and build on their collective wisdom?”


From CAI’s signature events to their valued masterclasses held around the world, the institute has continued to evolve in the ever-changing landscape. Skiba says, “Whether you join us in person or virtually, we are committed to offering innovative ideas, world-class education, and the products and services that benefit your community and your job.”


CAI events unite the community, and by having the knowledge, expertise, and contacts, they build professionals and leaders who make community associations preferred places to call home.


The institute recently hosted its CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW, where they welcomed nearly 2,000 registered attendees and exhibitors. Skiba says, “We were thrilled with the response from our members. We held several pre-conference education courses for community association managers as well as in-person workshops and meetings for our leadership.”


The event hosted two Florida state Senators, Jason Pizzo (D-Miami-Dade County) and Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park), to discuss condominium safety initiatives nearly one year after the tragic collapse at the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association in Surfside, Fla. Along with two engaging keynote speakers, CAI held numerous educational sessions to help attendees dig deeper into the topics that influence, impact, and inspire community associations and the businesses that support them.


Talking about the CAI Annual Conference and Exposition held in Florida, Jessica Towles, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, President of CAI’s Board of Trustees, and Vice President of community associations at Hammersmith Management, AAMC, in Englewood, Colo says, “I was excited to see so many colleagues, clients, and friends in person at the 2022 CAI Annual Conference and Exposition: Community NOW in Orlando, Fla. It has been a tumultuous few years in our professional, personal, and volunteer lives. The conference was a great time to come together, build our networks, and learn from the best and brightest in our industry.”


The event also hosted an awards ceremony that highlighted and celebrated the best community managers and professionals in the industry. Skiba adds, “One of the best parts of every conference, however, is the annual awards ceremony. CAI members work tirelessly by volunteering their time and commitment to make communities preferred places to call home. We honor dedicated individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership to advance community association living every year.” These individuals have made a difference for its 43,000 members and the 74 million Americans living and working in community associations.


There were numerous categories for the awards, and Robert Felix, CMCA, LSM, PCAM, RS, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his relentless service to the institute. In contrast, Wendy W. Taylor, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM​​ was awarded the President’s Award, and Michael D. Johnson, CMCA, AMS, PCAM​​ was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, amongst others.


While talking about the best takeaway of the event, Lisa Cox, CMCA, AMS, LSM, PCAM, chair of CAI’s Community Association Managers Council, and a community manager with Sienna Associations in Missouri City, Texas, says, “One of the best takeaways from the past conferences is a reinvigorating feeling about our incredible but often challenging profession. I felt the same about this year’s event.”


However, the institute has bright plans for the future to keep with its mission and make a truly global mark. Skiba says, “The biggest goal for CAI—other than continuing to grow as the premier community association industry organization in the world—will be to keep promoting successful relationships between members in an increasingly technological landscape.”


He continued, “The relationships our members build with each other are what sets us apart as an organization. That keeps people attracted to membership, engaged, and volunteering their time and expertise.”



Open Message To Readers

CAI always looks to provide opportunities to our members with enhanced and expanded resources and new tools that can help homeowner leaders, community managers, and business partners be successful and, ultimately, help the communities they serve to be successful.


We want to continue our mission of building better communities. We can be a global force for our industry with all the resource development we do. However, just as importantly, we can bring people together worldwide to share experiences and learn from one another.


—Tom Skiba, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of CAI