By Natalie Stewart
CAI-CLAC PR Chair
CAI-CLAC wasn’t planning on going virtual this year. Let’s face it – none of us were! But when COVID-19 caused all in-person conferences and meetings to cancel their 2020 events, we, like everyone else, shifted to the virtual alternative. Many different platforms were discussed and it was decided that the 2020 CAI-CLAC Annual Planning Meeting (APM) would be held via Zoom.
While the new format posed numerous technical and organizational difficulties, our team stepped up to the challenge and created a plan to allow the Executive Committee, Delegates and LSC’s to connect. Fifty-eight attendees attended the nearly 4-hour meeting, which was very close to in-person attendance from years past.
The meeting began with CAI-CLAC Executive Committee member introductions, including the newest addition of Betty Roth, PCAM, as Treasurer. After introductions and short report from Natalie Stewart, PR Committee Chair, we honored two members with the distinction of Emeritus Delegate. It was our greatest pleasure to recognize Matt Ober, Esq., CCAL and Glennon Gray, PCAM, for their years of dedication to serving community associations through CAI-CLAC.
During the second half of the meeting, Thomas Ware, Esq. and Kieran Purcell, Esq., CAI-CLAC Legislative Co-Chairs, led a spirited discussion about the 2021 legislative goals with the assistance of CAI-CLAC Advocate Louie Brown, Esq.. Participation from attendees was available during this portion of the meeting and we’re looking forward to sharing more details in 2021.
We appreciate attendees joining us this year via Zoom. While we missed coming together in-person, our virtual discussion was highly effective and we enjoyed seeing everyone. Incoming CAI-CLAC Chair, Jeff Beaumont, Esq., CCAL, is focused on engagement in 2021, and there is greater potential for more advocates to join us next year. Utilizing virtual communications presents more opportunities for CAI-CLAC to engage with our members and our legislators, which is very exciting.
“I see a lot of potential in the virtual format and we plan on using it to our advantage,” said Beaumont. “We are going to make the best of this situation and might even permanently incorporate virtual events into our calendar.”
One highlight of the virtual meeting was the ability for Dawn Bauman, CAE, Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Community Associations Institute to attend. While the APM focuses on California legislation, it is always beneficial to hear the perspective of a national expert and discuss how we can continue to support one another.
In summary, our 2020 Virtual APM was a success. While it’s too soon to predict what 2021 will bring, we hope to have the opportunity to return to the more traditional format — or even allow participants choose to attend either remotely or in person next year. We are certain that CAI-CLAC is headed in a direction that will result in a broader audience and greater engagement, which will only help us better connect with our legislators.