Rita Kennedy Award

Rita Kennedy proudly served as the CAI-Georgia's first Executive Director. She led our Chapter until she passed away from a long relentless battle with cancer. She had a limitless, spirited devotion to CAI and was essential in building a strong foundation in which our Chapter continues to build upon. Rita was the wheel in which all of our spokes emerged.

In the beginning, our local chapter or CAI, was a small organization that operated on a shoe-string budget. The Chapter was comprised of a modest group that sought to proudly represent the Nation Organization and its education initiatives. In the early years, our primary source of revenue was the small share of dues we received each year from National based on the Chapter's "exclusive" membership. The Chapter's brown bag lunches, typically held at the public libraries, were routine and more than sufficient. The evening educational sessions for homeowners and managers had great turnouts depending on TV show re-runs! Notwithstanding our smaller size, the Chapter had a strong core of dedicated individuals who were recruited and led by Rita. She was passionate about CAI and her enthusiasm was infectious. She led by example and people followed. She just love doing what she did. In fact, she cared so much about our organization that she hand-picked her successor to make sure our Chapter was in good hands after she was gone.

Rita's ongoing determination and compassion for the industry kept our Chapter running. Her leadership and tireless devotion created the foundation that we continue to build upon today. Rita's love for the organization and it's members, was evidenced in her willing to always go above and beyond. Her service, dedication and commitment were key elements to our Chapter's success. Her vibrant, energetic, warm and fun-loving personality (along with her great sense of humor) is what made Rita, Rita and our Chapter flourish and become the success it is today. 

Rita would be proud of what we accomplished. Selfless contributions and relentless efforts from our volunteers is what clearly sets our Chapter apart from the others. Other chapters are constantly amazed by our success. While many people have worked long and hard to get us here, it was Rita's service, commitment and dedication to our Chapter that truly established the backbone of the organization we enjoy today.

Every year, the Georgia Chapter of CAI presents the annual Rita Kennedy Award to the most deserving volunteer within our local chapter, voted by past recipients of this prestigious award. The award recognizes that member and volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding service, commitment and dedication to the Chapter. While these are certainly great qualities, they are just a few of the special qualities that encompassed Rita Kennedy. Her enthusiasm, cheerfulness, humor, generosity and compassion made our chapter stand out from the rest. In honor of her devoted service, commitment, and dedication to our Chapter, we present this annual award to carry on her legacy and keep her spirit alive in our chapter.

The award is beautiful custom-made Frabel glass sculpture personally designed by her husband, Gary Kennedy. Rita's family - Gary, Elizabeth and Michael Kennedy -have helped carry on her legacy by presenting this annual Award. It is such a special honor to continue to have the Kennedy family part of our Georgia Chapter. The Frabel is a strong oak tree that appears to be blowing over in the wind. This represents Rita's strength throughout her long battle with cancer. The tree has 34 branches, one branch for each year or Rita's life that was taken way too early. Finally, there is a single frosted flower which represents her beauty. Rita, herself, was presented with the first Rita Kennedy Award before her passing that remains on display in the Kennedy home, more than two decades later. This award is presented at the Annual Awards Luncheon at the end of the year. 


  • Nominee or nominee company must be in good standing within the Chapter - including general membership, committee members, committee chairs and the Board of Directors.

  • Nominee must show outstanding volunteer support throughout the year, exceeding his/her expected responsibilities.

    To nominate an individual, please contact Tina Saadat, Executive Director at [email protected]. All nominations are anonymous. Multiple nominations are permitted.


    2022 - Kent Atzinger, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
    2021 -
    Dennis Hoffman, PCAM
    2020 - 
    No award was given due to the COVID pandemic
    2019 -
    G. Lanier Coulter, Jr., Esq.
    2018 - Sean Ruthven, CMCA, AMS

    2017 - Miye Johnson Yi, Esq.
    2016 - Scott Douglas,
    2015 - Jamie Platt Lyons, Esq.
    2014 - Kelley Moon, 
    2013 - Sandy Depa, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
    2012 - Mike Crew, CMCA, PCAM
    2011 - Jay Lazega, Esq.,
    2010 - Teddy Russell
    2009 - Laura Lazar, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
    2008 - Ashlie Gray
    2007 - Chuck Negas
    2006 - Doyle P. Jones, PCAM

    2005 - Noelle Larson
    2004 - Bob Russell
    2003 - Julie McGhee Howard, Esq.
    2002 - Dean Donald, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
    2001 - Stephen A. Winter, Esq.
    2000 - Eric Henning, AMS, PCAM
    1999 - Mickel Graham, PCAM
    1998 - Rita Kennedy