Wednesday, January 06, 2010
NETWORKING INTO A NEW COMMUNITY
People ask me why would I leave my home for six months in Vancouver, Washington and move to Palm Springs to help bring back a rodeo. Let’s get the obvious behind us. Yes, winter in Palm Springs is terrific. During the day, we are averaging about 70 degrees—though one of my major surprises was how quickly it gets quite cool once the sun sets behind the mountains. You wouldn’t think of leaving in the evening without taking at least a heavy sweater.
Now why did I really take this position? By the way, I have been promoted from Director of Fundraising to Vice President of Operations. No question the new title more accurately describes my position. As my CEO says, “Kathy is our boots on the ground.”
Twenty-two years ago, the rodeo was an integral part of the fall activities of this community. Cowboys ruled and the Smoke Tree Stable served as one of the real social centers of the Coachella Valley. Frank Bogert, a cowboy, appreciated and loved for his outspoken personality became a real friend of the stars that made Palm Springs their home. His popularity, but even more importantly his belief and commitment to Palm Springs propelled him into the position of Mayor of Palm Springs. In front of City Hall in Palm Springs, is a bronze statue with him riding a horse. Frank Bogert passed on at the end of March 2009 – at the age of 991/2. I only wish I would end my life with such a legacy-one that always elicits smiles and positive comments when his name is mentioned.
With all of that being said, I am a person who enjoys starting projects from scratch. Normally, I worked on the projects in my home of Vancouver, Washington where I was really part of the community and know leaders personally. This time, I looked at as an opportunity to see if my networking skills would carry over to a community in which no one knows me.
My belief that I would have many stories to enhance my networking skills and my forthcoming networking book has certainly come true. I have more than enough stories to fill two more books for I learned networking-building relationships, take the same slow and steady patience everywhere. Strong relationships are not made in one meeting.
Am I out of my element? Sometimes, yet, honestly there has been few surprises. Throughout my life I have been honored to have met fascinating, important people and visiting magnificent homes. That is why when I was invited to have a one-on-one meeting with a sponsor in his $10 million home, my mouth did not fall open when I was given a tour and viewed the valley below from just about every room in home.
Now we are two months away from the opening date of the Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo. We have formed a committee with his friends and family that will help honor this outstanding cowboy, yet more importantly the man. Therefore, the ball the night before will honor Frank Bogert and then for three days March 12, 13 and 14, 2010 we celebrate a way of life that exists for many cowboys that follow the professional circuit.
I am proud to be part of a project that stretches my colleagues and me. More importantly, allows people in the Coachella Valley to see a sport that remains popular in thousands of towns throughout the United States. Won’t you join us?
Frank Bogert Memorial Rodeo and Palm Springs WestFest, March 12, 13,14, 2010, Palm Springs, California. When you come, be sure to find me.
IMPROVING COMMUNICATION SKILLS:
What do you want to accomplish in 2010? If you don't have the answer to this question, you cannot develop the steps to get there.