I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Kelly Kyle……a Business woman, ARTIST, Photographer, Blogger, Wife, Sister, Step Mother, Friend & Rotarian. Writing for blogs is relatively new for me in the past 2 years….although I loved creative writing projects in school since I was a kid. As an adult, when the mood struck me I would write about a trip here or there…or write long holiday letters to family and friends telling of stories and places I travelled. It’s a wonderful giggle to look back at what you wrote 10, 20, 30 years later. Maybe something to post in a future story.
I think what I am most known for lately, is my community and humanitarian work with ROTARY. Caring about people and pulling for the underdog, is what I love to do. More specifically, the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club, of which I am the Current President, seems to get my foot in the door, when talking to people. I’ve taken on an unusual 2 year term as Madam Pres. Continuity, is a big part of being successful at any venture. When I stepped in as President on July 1st, of 2010, I had the enormous task of re-developing a club that was almost defunct. We were standing on our last leg of hope with only 5 members….and it was my job as the new President, to somehow, “save the club”. So, I looked at this, as one of my biggest tasks at hand. Recruiting and setting some outrageous GOALS, then followed. #1, If we did not have people ..AKA….BODIES… in those seats, who cared about “community”, then the club really was finished. So, I decided to stick to this #1 goal. I struck out one day, hitting the streets, getting to know my community. I met a man who changed the course of my life and it is ultimately, why I am writing this now. My world had a radical paradigm shift & everything in April of 2010, changed. Enter Social Media. This was 3 months before I became president and a few weeks after I had gone to P.E.T.S., Rotary’s President Elect Training Seminar. Saving our club’s community history & “Rousing” club image, was fresh on my mind. Blaine Millet, of WOM10, walked into my life that day, and started talking about Social Media Strategies. I was all ears. I knew nothing about it…but it was different, it was edgy, it was NEW. I liked what I heard. With blogging, we could control our future, not someone else’s view of it. . After going home and doing some research, how could I not be interested…this was the future of business and communities everywhere. Social Media was coming on strong, and anyone who wanted to be “IN THE GAME” had better jump on….So I did. I bought into the plan. Now all I had to do was convince the other 6 in our club to do the same.
I giggle a little, because then, some 20 months ago… I really did not know what Social Media was. Not compared to now, anyways. So I quickly approached the club board members, all 4 of us, and told them, not asked, but told them my plan to revitalize the club through a social media strategy and campaign. I was passioate. I must have been hopped up on caffeine or something, or doing a little jig…. cause all I got were wide eyed stares. I might as well have been talking about little green men from Mars!. It was an uphill battle during my 15 minute talk of fame, with hands slapping on the table, and a wild voiced presentation. But in the end, I persuaded them, or maybe just scared them or wore them out. I don’t know. But, they gave my ideas and me a chance to do something I believed in…even if I had only heard of it less than one week ago. But they did not know that.
I was allowed to spend money and time on what was perceived, a selfish project for ME. So, with that said, I got a little help from my new friend, Blaine in producing the effects of a well thought out plan. We were to use social Media to attract new people and to do good with our Rotary content. Nothing else the club had tried over the past 4 years, had worked, our numers were down to critical mass 7. The number of committed members were right there, only 3 staring back at me. We were in the position of being down, but not out.
I had “won”, but only after a long 15 minute “rant”, that I like to call my “passion”, coming out. I had sealed my fate…good or bad, and I was headed in a unknown and untried direction for a Rotary Club. I could feel all 3000 pair of eyes on me as I tried something new. I felt a little numb & like Christopher Columbus setting out to find a new world. (Funny, some days, it still feels a little like that first day over and over again, but now with a familiar, ring to it.) It has been 18 months now, and praises, awards and accolades later… I am the district 5030 supper star. I was awarded the ROTARIAN of the YEAR award for our district of 3000 people…and 54 clubs. AWE inspiring stuff. There is a U-tube video, on our www.redmondrousersrotary.org site, of me on stage…that looks like a “deer in the headlights” version of me as I accepted my great award. I count my blessings of gratitude and I guess being a trailblazer and new explorer is something I like, and never gets old for me. I love being adventurous, and in this instance it worked out well with my personality and my sense of wanting to change the culture of ROTARY….in the community, and in our world.
Proud? Damn straight…I am. I feel like the Queen of my Castle….Momma of my flock, and worth every minute I spend…working on making a better life for kids and families in need. Every time I have a bad day….I think of others who sleep in tents, or who do not have enough to eat, or who do not have a family to love them. I know I make a difference, and am extremely proud of what WE do in Rotary….helping others. I guess, I really don’t know how to do anything else, any better…or I would do that.
So, to conclude this story and bring you up to date on what happened after my 1st year as President, July 1 2010 to June 30, 2011… I recruited 23 new people into our club. WOW….that is amazing, even for me to re-read that stat. An unbelievably rare accomplishment at any level of recruiting in a Rotary club, especially when I didn’t know what Social Media really was. We won 3 more awards, the Presidential citation,the literacy zone and district awards, made a lot of new friends, made my mom proud and made a great story to tell my grand children someday. So, that is the good news. The bad news is that all of the newbies did not stay in Rotary. Some of them decided it wasn’t the right fit, long term for them…although they liked the club. Some lost their jobs, & moved away…But MOST of them stayed. Our Club now has 18 solid members in it. I have the good fortune to say, they are all now friends of mine.
SIDEBAR: I forgot to tell you about the catalyst to this story….and it matters, so here is why I decided to do what I did. One of my beloved and dear friends in our old club of only 8 people, was Russ. My longtime buddy of 10 years, Russ Newman, suddenly died after a heart bypass in Feb 2010. 3 weeks before his surgery, he shuffled into the meeting like an 85 year old man does occasionally, but this time he looked different. I said to him, “Russ what’s the matter, why are you walking so slow?” He said to me…”well, my Dr. says I have a bad ticker and I need surgery”. We proceeded to talk for 10 minutes about him and all he had going on. Who would feed his parrot ,was a big decision, I recall. He then pulled me close to him gave me a hug, and said to me, “Kelly-Girl”, (his nickname for me) “You are going to be the best Rouser President EVER!”. I was taken back by his confidence in me…and told him I hoped so, but I doubted it. We had had some really good ones in our past 20 years….like him, Bruce, Eric, Tom, Lisa and others. But somehow, his faith in me, was real, and I could feel it. I remember I cried hard when I found out he died in the recovery room after the operation. I was just making plans to go see him in the hospital, when I heard the news. I had lost my buddy, my pal, my one biggest fan & supporter in this presidential run….of a year in my life. What was I gonna do now?….I cried some more. Then a few days later, I went to P.E.T.S….and found the courage & faith he had told me about. I found my deep LOVE of Rotary and WHY I was there, training to become the new president. I was trying to revive an old dead club into a new alive club again, and it was going to be a lot of hard work. After this amazing weekend, I was now up to the challenge. Russ’ words stuck with me…as they do today and everyday. He was and is a BIG part of why we are still here…and if I could reach out to tell him, thank you, this is what I would say. “Russ, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart for your kind words and faith in, Lil ole me. Love you, Kelly Girl”
OK …so, back to the story of the newbies,…..Some of them listened to me and followed my urgings to start new committees, and to become new members within district committees and events. We even tackled a BIG new project together: Our new WORLD CLASS signature event, the Coup de Cascades. Our Bicycle fundraiser to help eradicate END POLIO in the world, just went viral with the news that we are now a RAAM qualifier. Some members I know better than others, but all in all, we are working towards a common GOAL; to make our community a better place, to live, work and do business together…through Service Above Self…our ROTARY motto. Once again in our 21 year history, the Redmond Rousers Rotary Club is on the Map, literally. Our newest venture in Social Media is an ad placement on the 4th AVE MAPS…a new advertising piece that is an interactive MAP of the area for residents and new people in town. Microsoft has put their TAG in it for people to use as a scannable device to go to different websites to see more info about the companies in the MAP. We plan to use it to attract more attention to our 425 mile Coup de Cascades biking event in Aug 18th & 19th of 2012. Along with that, it will be a great way for people to find out where we meet and come see us for dinner on Tuesday evenings at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse. We meet at 5:30pm at 16600- N.E. 80th in Redmond. Hope to see you too for a FREE dinner with new friends. bring your business cards and a smile!. Check out our speaker schedule to find someone you might like to hear, and come on down…. we’ll have a seat for you. www.RedmondRousersRotary.org
Kelly Kyle – Artist, Humanitarian, Friend