Welcome to the Sunrise Spirit –
the Weekly Newsletter of The Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise
Our Next Meeting:
Please join us on Friday, February 10th – our Featured Speaker will be Sunriser Tom Tellez!
RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone“
February 11 – History Day at HSU – Judges and other volunteers are needed!
February 12-14 – Valentunes!! Support the ARMACK Orchestra and the AHS Madrigal Choir by purchasing a Valentune – one or more love songs performed by a small musical group from these two organizations. To order, call 707-599-5414. For more information, including an order form with a list of available songs, CLICK HERE.
February 13 – RCAS Club & Foundation Board Meetings – 7 am at the Golden Harvest Cafe. Everyone is invited!
February 17 – MardiGras For A Cause – The Rotary Club of Eureka event at the Sequoia Conference Center in Eureka
February 18 – Charter Night at Baywood! It’s the Silver Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Arcata Sunrise, and tickets are only $25 per person!!
February 25 – Arcata Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet – 5:30 to 9 pm (RCAS is up for an award!)
March 4 – AHS College & Career Center’s Annual Pancake Breakfast – 8 to 11 am at Arcata High School.
March 11 – The RCAS Spring Fundraiser! Put it on your calendar now (or as soon as you purchase a 2017 calendar)!!
May 12-14 – The District 5130 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada
Dictionaries for Third Graders: President Susan said that our annual distribution of dictionaries to local third graders took place last week, and it was fun and rewarding. She led the presentation at Pacific Union School, and we also provided dictionaries to students at Arcata Elementary School and Jacoby Creek. New Sunriser Timothy Overturf noted that he received a dictionary from Rotarians when he was a third grader at Garfield School. (“I won’t tell you how many years ago that was,” he said.) Tim said that it was a memorable experience, and he still has that dictionary.
Charter Night: We’re hoping for 100% participation at our Charter Night on February 18th. For our Club’s 25th Birthday, and Jessica McKnight and her crew are planning an evening filled with fun and memories. , The event will take place at Baywood Country Club, and the tickets are only $25 per person. Please RSVP ASAP, and get your check to Jessica right away.
Spring Fundraiser: As of last Friday, we currently had sold three tables and three individual seats. That means we have 37 tables still needing sponsors. President Susan reiterated that we will dedicate a waiter to any table that pays an additional $100 for private service. Please ferret through your contacts to identify business owners and organizations that would like to have a great time while helping us provide Service Above Self. As you do receive commitments for tables, please let Craig Newman know the name of the contact person, his/her phone number, and email address. He will send the tickets along with an invoice.
We also need to work with our teams to acquire raffle and silent auction items as quickly as possible. Once you have the prizes in hand, please bring them to HealthSport so they are logged in and the signs can be printed.
Emanuel Rose said that there are a few bugs being worked out with Brown Paper Tickets, but the event should be up and running on their website within a few days. He also said that Public Service Announcements are being sent to local media, followed by an email blast to local business leaders. He asked us all to share the event on Facebook.
The Judy Isabella Report
Exchange Student Judy was not feeling well last Friday, but Exchanger-To-Be Isabella White told us that she recently learned that she will be spending her Exchange Year in Denmark. “I’m really excited,” she told us. Our Club sponsored Isabella’s brother Logan on an Exchange to Italy four years ago, and he was very encouraging to her. In about a month, she will find out what part of Denmark she will call home for the 2017-2018 school year. Tillykke, Isabella, og held og lykke!
All of the Sunrisers whose birthdays we planned to recognize were elsewhere last Friday, so we focused on anniversaries, starting with Howard Stauffer. He and his wife Rebecca started celebrating their 32nd anniversary a month early. They were in Europe, and their itinerary included “the number one restaurant in the world” – Osteria Francescana, which features Chef Massimo Baturo. The restaurant is in Modena, Italy, and Howard told us, “My wife had to get up in the middle of the night, six months in advance to make a reservation.” The meal lasted four hours, and there were nine courses – “We had the smaller choice of just nine courses,” Howard said, “and everything was perfect.” The decor was great, the jazz music was lovely, and the service was impeccable.
Helping Small Businesses on the North Coast
Our Featured Speaker was Leila Roberts, who was named the Executive Director of the North Coast Small Business Development Center in August 2016. Sunriser Carol Vander Meer introduced Leila, describing her as intelligent, witty, and passionate about building communities. Leila has a masters degree in the Management of Sustainable Development, and (in an unrelated development) she is married to Sunriser John Richmond!
Leila told us that the SBDC helps people in the tribal lands, Del Norte County, and Humboldt County. She invited us to visit the headquarters at 520 E Street in Old Town Eureka, noting that the agency gets a lot of walk-in traffic. Many of those who come in tell her, “I want to start a business” or “I want to get a bank loan”.
“I started my career a long, long time ago,” Leila told us, “as the head of a Planned Parenthood clinic.” There, she supervised nurses and volunteers, helping women with their sexual and reproductive health. She said that the clinic was “integral” to the small town it served. The clientele was diverse – some came from “the pharmaceutical firm down the street”, while others were teenagers.
Although the work was important, Leila realized that she wanted to work internationally. She was born and raised in North Africa; her mother was an Arab Muslim from Morocco, and her father was an Anglo-American from Virginia. She moved to be closer to family, and she took a position working for the international arm of the United Way.
She said that being at our meeting, with so many Sunrisers clearly expressing their roles regarding our fundraiser and other activities, reminded her “how many Rotarians are responsible for having founded United Way organizations in their countries”. In her 12 years with the United Way, Leila helped nongovernmental organizations team with the agency in 45 countries outside the United States. During that time, she also saw her program budget grow from $30,000 to $30,000,000! Leila worked to ensure that the services were being provided, and that the agency’s systems were able to keep up with the program’s growth.
However … “There’s got to be more to learn, she decided. “And John and I (’cause we’re so smart), in the middle of the recession, sold our house, moved to Vermont so I could go to grad school and he could work on his novels for a couple of years.”
It worked. Her time in grad school made Leila realize that the younger generation was doing some pretty amazing things, such as “community building, economic development work, organizing – it was fascinating!” This inspired her to work with domestic workers, refugees, and others, and it led her to spend about half a year working in Bangladesh.
All of these experiences led Leila to the understanding that community is the basis of our economy. And since small businesses are at the cores of our communities, coming to the SBDC seemed a natural progression. She applauded the resilience of small businesses, noting that their diversity allows us to survive recessions. She also said that they are more responsive than large businesses to many critical issues, including climate change. “When a community is sustained by small businesses,” Leila told us, “people are more deeply connected to each other, and they’re more accountable to each other across political barriers – they have to work together.”
The local SBDC served 415 businesses last year, a number they expect will grow in 2017. That number may seem small, but the owners of those businesses report that the assistance from the agency allowed them to grow their revenues by $900,000 last year, adding 174 newly-created jobs in the process.
John (“Are You My Ringer”) Richmond shared his experience of going to an SBDC seminar on cash flow needs, where he learned that his monthly revenue goals were about $20k shy of what his business really needed. The adjustments he made as a result of that realization helped lead his business to its best year ever. John attributes that growth to the fact that “I now know how to think about how much revenue to pull in”. It was a valuable half-hour workshop, and he said that the SBDC does “tons of that stuff”. Jessica McKnight told us that she has referred several clients to the SBDC, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Leila asked us to send businesses with questions to her agency, whether they are just starting out or if they find their company at a transition point. To start, please take a look at the SBDC website, or give Leila a call at 707-445-9720.