In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity by Kristina Munson, RCP Management Company

by Mary Faith Nugiel, September, 6 2020

Albert Einstein once said that “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.  This year has certainly seen its share of difficulties, but as we (hopefully) come out the other side of one of the most significant human and economic events of our lifetime there are countless lessons to be learned and an abundance of opportunities, perhaps greater than in any time now referred to as “pre-COVID”. From quarantine and remote learning for school children to new Radburn regulations courtesy of the NJ Department of Community Affairs and too many Governor’s Executive Orders to count, it has been quite a challenging year of learning to adapt and acquire new skills to navigate personal relationships and community management in a virtual world.

While managers were still adjusting to remote work arrangements, and in many cases in the role of teacher navigating the new world of remote learning since March, every community manager in New Jersey was faced with the challenge of learning a completely new process for elections and meetings thanks to the DCA’s updated Radburn regulations.  Forget everything you thought you knew, everything you had learned over many years of professional education and on the job training, everything changed.  Just like that.  And thus, began the manager’s education revolution of 2020.

Several industry attorneys led the way with webinars and virtual seminars to help managers and communities get equipped to deal with the new government mandates relating to Radburn.  It was no-doubt overwhelming in those first few weeks but what we saw come out of that time was perhaps the most prolific advancement of manager education ever.  Industry professionals and business partners found a way to connect with managers while we couldn’t get together as we had before.  Online seminars, webinars, and of course virtual happy hours became the “new” normal and, seemingly overnight, managers had more opportunities for continuing education than ever before!

In the early weeks of summer, when it became evident that things were not going back to the way they were any time soon, companies re-evaluated, re-aligned and re-focused on not just “dealing” with the circumstances at hand but rather seeing the opportunities presented to become catalyst of change.

CAI-NJ has been an incredible resource for managers and all industry members throughout the pandemic.  From Cyber Trivia presented by the F.A.S.T Committee with trivia and networking for a good cause to the critical LAC (Legislative Action Committee) updates and the latest Webinar Wednesdays, CAI-NJ has brought our community together while we are apart.  The first ever virtual Conference and Expo will assuredly be no different.  We don’t quite know what to expect, but we are excited about it!  From a young age, trying new things is always a mix of anxiety and exhilaration.  What if it doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to?  What if it turns out better than we ever could have imagined?  Embrace change – after all, it is the only constant.

COVID-19 has made us all take a look at what we need, what we value and how we choose to live in the unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic.  What do we need?  Family, friends, and community.  What do we value?  Hope, resilience, and service to others.  We choose to rise to the occasion, personally and professionally, to become better, stronger, and hopefully a little kinder and more compassionate as a result of our shared experiences.

Let’s revisit that earlier Einstein quote in its entirety, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”.

Be well.  Be healthy.  Be hopeful.