2022 Communicator of the Year Award Recipient
Olivia Applegate


Honored for her exceptional leadership and excellence in strategic communications, Olivia has raised the bar in public communications.

Most recently, Olivia has transformed the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association’s communications program that serves over 44,000 members and 16 employers throughout California.

With great drive and vision, Olivia led SBCERA through an organizational rebrand, website redesign, member engagement survey designed to help drive member experience efforts, and an employer survey designed to establish mutual priorities and help build consensus on strategic initiatives, electronic newsletter campaigns, and others. Olivia also led her team through an ambitious strategic communications plan, which has served as a guide to define, shape, and communicate SBCERA’s mission, vision, and strategic priorities.

Her leadership, innovation, and forward-thinking have elevated SBCERA’s communications efforts to be one of the most active in the pension industry, setting a new standard for excellence.

Olivia was promoted to Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations in July 2022 and in addition to communications and stakeholder relations, she will lead SBCERA’s renewed focus on legislative affairs and advocacy.

Before joining SBCERA, Olivia served as the Public Information Officer for the City of East- vale, where she led and elevated communications and community engagement efforts city-wide. Olivia has mentored other communications professionals throughout her career, who have shared statements that attribute to her leadership. One of her mentees said, “When I watched Olivia serve the community as the Public Information Officer, I learned what it looked like to lead with empathy. She placed the thoughts and voices of the community first in her decision-making while building relationships and establishing trust.

She is known for her leadership, optimism, and ability to bring people together for a common mission. Olivia is future-focused and inspires others to reach their full potential.

Her people-focused nature has created successful teams, taking them to new heights.