Nicole Slaughter Graham is a freelance journalist and writer based in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Rallying Community Support for the Win
Meet the woman who took home this year’s 30 Under 30 Web Choice Award, landing her a spot in this year’s class.
April 16, 2019
One of Holli Mendica’s top priorities is investing in her community. A girl from the Midwest, the St. Louis native values the notion of hometown pride and makes sure she puts her all into making her community a great place to live and work. She’s an active volunteer who cares deeply about the place that she calls home, which is why it’s no surprise that when presented the opportunity to return the favor, Mendica’s peers and her community came through.
After submitting an application for REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 class of 2019, she was selected to be a finalist. Then, during the week-long online voting period, the sales associate with RE/MAX Results secured 1,110 of the 16,444 votes cast, making her the Web Choice Award winner. This earned her a spot in what she calls “the World Series of real estate.”
When Mendica found out in March that she was named one of this year’s 50 finalists, she recalls a wave of emotion. “I was super excited when I first heard,” she says, “and then I was almost completely overwhelmed.” She went to work immediately, knowing she needed to rally the community she loved so much to help her gather votes to land a spot in the 30. She started with her fellow agents in the St. Louis market. An active member of her local association, Mendica and her broker decided to put out an email blast to garner support. “I think it was around 20,000 emails that we sent,” she says. “I explained that I was the only Missouri agent represented and asked for support.”
The Midwest, and St. Louis specifically, she says, is known for that hometown camaraderie. “I think my colleagues really liked the idea of our state being recognized on a national platform.” To help spread the word on Facebook, Mendica made trips to the local driving range and zoo to create lighthearted, St. Louis–centric videos with witty puns reminding people to vote.
But apart from rallying the most votes, Mendica’s merit stands on its own. She serves on her local association’s community engagement board. For the last few years, the board has chosen a group of homeowners in need to help fix up their homes. “Most of these homeowners are either elderly or disabled, and we help them maintain their homes so they can continue to live in them,” she says. Last year the board, along with home inspectors and contractors, helped four homeowners make improvements to their houses. “We paint, lay flooring, do yard work. Sometimes someone gets a new roof. We really make an event out of it and have a good time.”
One of last year’s recipients was a veteran who had to leave his home and go into a rehab facility for several months after becoming wheelchair-bound. His home was not able to accommodate his new mobility needs. “We built a wheelchair ramp and made sure he was able to get around in his home in a safe way,” Mendica explains. She also volunteers for the Special Olympics as a bowling partner for her cousin, participates in networking groups, and is actively engaged with her community on social media.
Her business model, she said, is built around a “community first” approach. “Midwest real estate looks nothing like one of those reality shows,” she says. “But that doesn’t matter. I care about my community, and my neighborhoods, and the people who live here.”
Read all of this year's 30 Under 30 profiles in the upcoming May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine.