Meet 35 Under 35 Alumna April Olson

Written by: Brady Drake

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Regional Manager, Goldmark Property Management – Class of 2014

Can you give me a brief background on what you do and your journey?I provide leadership to Area Managers and Site Managers that serve our residents living in 5,725 apartment homes in the North Dakota market. I started my career in our community offices working directly serving the residents. I became a trainer for the company and traveled to all of our markets in Omaha, Minneapolis, Bismarck and Grand Forks. I was then promoted to an Area Manager and eventually into my current role as a Regional Manager.

What is the THRIVE Initiative and why is it important to you?
The Thrive initiative promotes creating a better living for our residents. We understand that in our communities the three biggest challenges are access to affordable housing, child care and transportation. The long term vision for Thrive is to reduce barriers to affordable housing and prevent evictions, to bring in wrap-around services such as child care options at or near the properties, and to provide opportunities for residents to work where they live. Thrive is important to me because eight years ago when I started volunteering with the United Way by reviewing grant proposals and touring local nonprofits such as the homeless shelters, I realized that once a person has housing they can work to improve in all areas of their life. It just felt like the right thing to do to use my influence within my company to reduce barriers to housing for people who are actively working to better themselves and who have support from local agencies to help them stay successfully housed. I did that by partnering with individuals I met through the United Way and 35 under 35, like Ashley with the Housing Navigators. Everyone wants to feel like their work has a purpose and Thrive grants me the awesome opportunity to make a positive impact.

How has your experience in this program impacted your life? 
In your mid 20’s and 30’s, you feel like you should have your career and life figured out. It was impactful to be in a room with some of the most successful women in our community and learn that they had experienced a lot of twists and turns in their careers and life. I looked at those women and only saw where they were today. Hearing that they made mistakes, had taken the wrong opportunities and had to overcome big challenges, and yet still ended up in a great place helped put things into perspective for me. I felt freer to be my authentic self and to trust the journey instead of forcing my career and life.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.