“A Florida girl stuck in a Maryland body,” Kristina moved to Florida about 18 years ago and loves it. Kristina has a master’s degree in teaching but is now a realtor by profession. She still feels at heart that she is a teacher and a helper, and Together Women Rise combines all of her favorite things.
Kia: You’ve been a member for many years, but only recently started serving as a Chapter Leader. How did you first hear about Rise?
Kristina: My other half is a Rotarian, and a woman in his Rotary group had a Rise chapter that I joined. I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it, but I really loved it from the beginning. Every month I get to learn about a new grantee, a new country. I also love to socialize and serve others. Rise takes everything I love and puts it in one night.
Kia: What went into your decision to take on a leadership role with Rise?
Kristina: I knew I eventually would want to have my own chapter. Last summer we moved to a new part of town and I was looking for something to sink my teeth into. It was time! I had also signed up for the Nepal trip around that time and it was the jet fuel that spread my enthusiasm for starting a chapter. I also love to entertain, so it was natural for me to start hosting. Sometimes I make my own PowerPoints, taking notes from the website. I have also started showing parts of the National Webinar – it’s great to hear someone from Rise speak, the grantee, and hear all the questions and answers.
Kia: Any surprises about running a chapter?
Kristina: At first, I had no idea how many people would come. I have a big sphere of influence because of my job as a realtor, so I really tried to spread the word. At the first couple of gatherings, we had over a dozen women. The meetings have varied in attendance numbers. Mostly at least 10 but we have had a couple of smaller gatherings. The smaller gatherings have actually been great too – super intimate. It released me from thinking “I have to have a lot of members.” Our chapter does love the potluck style though, and many people cook recipes from the country we are featuring.
Kia: What is your philosophy on membership recruitment? You’ve only had a handful of meetings and over 30 people on your current roster already!
Kristina: I really got the word out and invited all the women I know, friends, family, real estate customers. I also set up MeetUp.com groups and posted on Facebook. I post about five days a week on Facebook, trying to focus on the positive things about the country we are featuring. We also recently had an article written about us in the local county observer and I’m planning to set up a table at a local farmer’s market to get the word out. Even if we don’t get new people coming to meetings every month, I still want people to know about what we do. I’ve switched my perspective to more of a “sharing” mindset. I want people to know about it so they have the opportunity to participate.
Kia: Anything you wish you had known before becoming a Chapter Leader?
Kristina: I felt prepared. I had Kay Yoder as a Regional Leader who took me under her wing. And now Mary Gibson is my Mentor and both of them have been so great at answering my questions and getting me started. The website also has so much great information. I absolutely relied on these resources.
Kia: What are your future goals for your chapter?
Kristina: It’s a simple one – I don’t want to get burnt out. I have this “go 150mph” personality but that can lead to burn out. I love this work so much, so my goal every month is to be easy on myself for what I do in preparation for the meetings. I set high goals so I need to be more realistic to continue enjoying it. I like the idea of other people helping me keep it going. A friend agreed to help with the presentation for an upcoming meeting, so we’ll work on that together. More people taking ownership of the chapter is a major goal as I want to see our chapter to continue long term.
If you are interested in being featured on “A Rising Tide” or have a recommendation for a chapter or chapter leader who should be featured, please email Kia Hunter, our Volunteer Manager, at email@example.com.