Achieving success in any field requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for excellence. In the world of apartment management and leasing, the pursuit of recognition and excellence is no exception. This blog post takes you through my personal journey towards national award success in the apartment industry. From my early exposure to preparing award submissions to becoming a recipient of prestigious national accolades, I share my experiences and insights gained along the way.

The Journey Begins:

It all started in 2005 when I moved from Lansing, Michigan, to Novi, Michigan, and began working at a luxury apartment property in Canton during its Lease Up phase. Little did I know that this experience would be the foundation for my path to national award success.

The First Steps Towards Recognition:

In the early stages of my career, I was involved in assembling a submission for the GLAStar award, which recognized the best overall marketing team. With dedication and creativity, my team showcased our property’s success through a marketing campaign centered around the theme “Home Sweet Home,” which featured resident events and philanthropy efforts benefiting a local charity.

National Apartment Association: NALP Certification:

In 2015, I found my direction when I came across the National Apartment Association’s NALP (National Apartment Leasing Professional) designation. Together with four other industry professionals, I pursued this certification, and after completing the required courses, we presented our market surveys to a panel of judges. Success followed as we all passed the proctored exam and became NALP.

Entering the National Stage:

In 2016, Smart Apartment Solutions decided to sponsor the entertainment portion of the GLAStar award. Entered by my mother, Dawn Ford, I unknowingly was entered into the NAA Designee of the Year category and was taken back when I won. This victory sparked a series of successful entries into various categories in our local and state associations, earning recognition as Business Partner of the Year and Rising Star of the Year.

National Recognition:

The turning point came in 2019 when my PRISM Award win automatically qualified me for the state association award. To my surprise, I won that too. Emboldened by these accomplishments, I decided to try my luck on the national stage. In 2020, I submitted my application for the NALP of the Year award and was thrilled to be announced as a finalist and then the award recipient during the Apartmentalize conference, even though the event was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Moment of Triumph:

The moment of triumph arrived when my local state apartment association entered me for an even harder category, Industry Educator of the Year, where I became a finalist. I attended the awards banquet at the Apartmentalize conference anxiously awaiting for them to announce my category. When Bill Rancic announced me as the winner of the prestigious ACE Industry Educator of the Year award, I could not believe how fortunate I was to not only win one NAA Excel, but two! This overwhelming experience motivated me to share my journey, as I now stand as a beacon of inspiration for others in the industry.

The Message:

Through my path to national award success, I learned that recognition comes with hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to keep trying despite initial setbacks. Winning an award not only brings accolades but also provides opportunities to grow and share knowledge with others in the industry. My awards have given me a platform to teach and help others achieve excellence in their leasing careers within the rental property management industry.

The Wrap Up:

My journey to national award success in the apartment industry has been an incredible one. From my early days preparing award submissions to being recognized as the NALP of the Year and the Industry Educator of the Year, each step taught me the value of dedication, creativity, and perseverance. My story stands as a testament to the fact that you can achieve great things in your career if you are willing to put in the effort and never give up on your dreams.

If you’re curious about how awards can impact employee retention efforts in property management, I invite you to check out this post with the Property Management Association of Michigan.

Remember, whether you win an award or not, the journey of striving for excellence is a rewarding experience in itself. Don’t be afraid to try, to learn, and to grow, for you never know what incredible opportunities await you.