We are celebrating iLS Network's very own Olivia Blitchington as she took home two Volunteer of the Year awards at the 2021 Florida Apartment Association Annual Conference. During the closing ceremonies of the event, the association presents awards and recognitions for Volunteer of the Year for each of the local apartment associations in the state of Florida. The honor recognizes a volunteer who gives a lot of their time and energy to help our local associations grow. This is achieved through activities such as getting involved with the board, serving on committees, and helping local apartment communities gain awareness of association classes, events, and opportunities for networking.
For the first time in Florida Apartment Association history, Olivia took home two Volunteer of the Year Awards at the same ceremony, one for the Capital City Apartment Association (CCAA) in Tallahassee and one for the North Central Florida Apartment Association NCFAA in Gainesville.
Olivia got involved with NCFAA right after she graduated from the College of Journalism at the University of Florida. After it seemed that all her friends left Gainesville post grad, she was looking for an outlet to grow her connections. Olivia found that sense of community in the NCFAA. She felt it was a great way to build her social group, because she could meet people from all different ages and walks of life that she would have never known. She's very passionate about the apartment association because of the amazing relationships she has built through her involvement.
Growing in the apartment association, Olivia quickly became the chair of the Young Professionals Committee. Their purpose is to grow future leaders in the industry and get them involved early. Olivia believes it is important for young professionals in a market to meet and get to know each other so they can form mutually beneficial relationships. She loves being surrounded by people in the industry and having someone to relate to. Olivia's knack for getting people together is a perfect fit for the Young Professionals. She has hosted multiple successful events, gathering Gainesville's best YP's for networking at cool spots around Gainesville.
Olivia won volunteer of the year in Gainesville for many reasons, with one of the most important being her innovative ideas to solve membership issues during COVID-19. During this time, there was a problem when new management companies would join the association but couldn't participate in any events. Olivia met with the Executive Director to brainstorm ideas on how she could stir up excitement with new members and help them get value from their membership despite the lack of events due to COVID restrictions. She came up with a membership welcome call where the company could be introduced to a member of the board and get a sneak peek into the association.
In Tallahassee with the Capital City Apartment Association, Olivia has played a big role as CCAA experiences a phase of rebuilding their membership and attendance. She wanted to bring the same sense of community in Gainesville to Tallahassee. She ran a pet supply drive that benefited local animal shelters and foster programs to get members of the association more excited about their involvement (who doesn't love supporting shelter pups?). She dropped off donation boxes at the student housing properties for them to decorate and collect donations from their residents. The pet drive was a great solution for raising awareness of CCAA at student housing communities, all while supporting an awesome cause. Overall, Olivia won both awards for her passion and dedication to the local apartment associations. She is grateful for all the progress and connections that she has made so far and looking forward to what she will accomplish in the future.