Welcome to Kelso, Washington – known for its beautiful natural landscapes and long-standing history in the timber and fishing industries. Kelso is also the county seat of Cowlitz County – formed in April of 1854 – which derived its name from an anglicized version of the Cowlitz Indian term, Cow-w-liske, meaning “river of shifting sands.” This month, we are taking a look at the LeTip of Kelso chapter, which is currently a 35-member chapter, that meets weekly, in person. Here is a Q&A we did with the current president of the chapter, Richelle Gall. Richelle holds the Insurance Property and Casualty seat of the chapter and has been a member since 2019. Read on to learn about the LeTip of Kelso chapter:
Q: What would you like us to know about your chapter that makes you different from others?
A: Our chapter really takes to heart the part of LeTip where we are family. We are all very close and would do anything to help each other. It is pretty amazing, the amount love and support that goes out from our chapter. We are doing an “Adopt a Family for Christmas” and it is amazing to see how excited and engaged our members are about it!
Q: Where do you see the chapter in a year from now?
A: We would really like to see our chapter grow to over 50 members. We have had some adversity; we had a very unexpected death of one of our members. That was pretty tragic for our members. Through all the ups and downs of this year, I really feel like it is going to make our chapter stronger and growth is still on the horizon.
Q: Do you have any great power partnerships in your chapter? How do they work together for success?
A: We have a great real estate agent, and to see her power partner with our loan officer, landscaper, inspector, painter, contractors, is inspiring. As insurance agents we share leads back in forth as well. It’s important to us that people know and understand that they don’t have to compete, even if their categories are close, but we can work together and lift each other up.
Q: Other than your weekly meetings, do you host any chapter events?
A: We have 4 mixers per year, one per quarter. For the first quarter of the year, we have a business mixer in the meeting space, and usually have some fun prizes and multiple show boaters. We incorporate celebratory contests and other fun things that are happening. In quarter two, we host our summer mixer which is a family BBQ – usually at someone’s house. Quarter three is another business mixer in our meeting space, similar to quarter one. Quarter four is our holiday mixer. We usually do white elephant gift exchange, and we also have prizes. This year we are going to do an ugly sweater contest, too!
Q: Would you like to share any member success stories?
A: We have a painter who came in, his name is Daniel Duarte. English is his second language. He didn’t talk much at first. When he started, his business was small, and he has grown tremendously because of LeTip! He became Sargent at Arms two years ago and has really flourished in our group. It is fun to watch. In fact, he has sponsored nine people and will soon earn his Silver Badge!
Q: How does your board work together to ensure the success of the chapter?
A: We have an amazing board. We communicate via email, mostly. We have called executive meetings when we need to, to make sure that everyone is on the same page. We have really focused on the entire board working together to make decisions. We really want to make sure that everyone has a say and a voice before we make decisions. We have decided to create a board email, and that allows things to come from the board rather than an individual when we have to address issues with member.
Q: In closing, anything to share in closing, about your chapter?
A: Our chapter is amazing. We have such a good group and mix of people. We have people who have been members for 10+ years, and we have members who have been only in for months, with the ability for our tenured members to be welcoming to the new people. Sometimes people in networking can be clicky and not want new people to be a part until “they earn” it, but I don’t feel like our group is like that. There are always reasons anyone can be jaded because of turnover of members, or negativity within the group, but I really feel like we have a unique core group that are so willing to be open and understanding to people even when it doesn’t make sense.
Thank you for your leadership and for sharing your thoughts, Richelle! Best of luck in the new year! We look forward to seeing the growth of your chapter and its members.