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Two Leadership Lyceum Students Awarded Nan Cavarretta Memorial Scholarships

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By Randa Griffin

FAA has awarded the Nan Cavarretta Memorial Scholarship to Brianne Kocher of North Central Florida Apartment Association and Beth Lakin of First Coast Apartment Association, to enable them to participate in the 2019 FAA Leadership Lyceum program. 

FAA’s Leadership Lyceum program, established in 2009, is designed to educate and develop future leaders in local, state, and national apartment associations. The Nan Cavarretta Memorial Scholarship covers registration fees and travel expenses associated with the program. 

Kocher is a property manager at the Mayfair Luxury Apartments in Gainesville. Along with managing her team and maintaining the community, she spends a lot of time handling resident relations and building a personal connection with prospects and residents. 

“I came from a position in a corporate office and didn’t realize how much I had missed the interactions on a day-to-day basis with the people we were encouraging to call our communities home,” Kocher said.

In 2000, Kocher was a recent college graduate pursuing a career in hospitality when she stumbled upon a position in the apartment industry. After talking with the assistant manager at the community where she was living, Kocher was offered a leasing position. She said aside from her family, joining the apartment industry is the best life decision she’s ever made.

“I had no clue where this would take me but I fell in love and couldn’t leave,” Kocher said. “Almost 19 years later — I still love it.”

Kocher is actively involved with NCFAA and serves as treasurer and co-chair of the Young Professionals Committee. She hopes Leadership Lyceum will equip her with the knowledge and tools to continue building the association when she becomes vice president in 2019. Kocher said the part of lyceum she’s looking forward to the most is the FAA Legislative Conference, because she knows the impact the association’s influence can have on the industry.

“I never want to stop learning about this industry,” she said.

Lakin’s journey into the apartment industry began similarly. After Lakin and her fiance toured a community in Jacksonville, the property manager offered Lakin a position as a leasing consultant.

“My career just basically took off from there,” Lakin said. “It was really rapid for me.”

Now Lakin works as property manager at The Loree Apartments and said she truly loves the community.

“It does have its challenges, but they’re fun challenges and it reminds me of why I do this,” she said. “It’s everything I was looking for.”

Larkin’s time serving on the FCAA board has connected her with numerous industry mentors who have shown her the importance of being involved at the local and state level.

“I saw how that involvement made me a better manager and it made my team better,” she said. 

Always looking to build on her career and management ability, Lakin said the Leadership Lyceum program seemed like the next natural step. Unable to contain her excitement about the program, Lakin was the first to apply for the Cavarretta scholarship and alerted everyone within shouting distance when she found out she was chosen as a recipient.

“Honestly I got goosebumps and did a little happy dance at my desk,” she said.

Although she lives life moment by moment, Lakin has big aspirations for her future. She hopes to be a regional manager and become more active at the state and national level, all while maintaining a healthy balance between her family and career.

FAA is a federation of 11 local affiliates, representing over 490,000 apartment homes in Florida. Both community and associate members in good standing of a local affiliate are automatically memebers of FAA and NAA.