Opinion & Editorial

RTB: Toasting to new partnerships 

Creative ideas come naturally to me. I’m what you call an “out-of-the-box” thinker. Originally, Roast, Toast, & Boast came to life last year around this time as a way for me to create my own lane as a newly-licensed loan officer at Mann Mortgage in Eugene.

I was new to the mortgage industry – after 10-plus years as an insurance producer – with virtually no contacts in my new role. I needed to establish myself from the crowd right away and was encouraged to jump into the networking scene. Admittedly, it was scary walking into all of those different groups and events without knowing anyone.

Many were inviting and welcoming, but there were also quite a few uneasy, clique-y, uncomfortable, and not-so-welcoming moments. I decided then that I would never make anyone feel that way – and started finding my tribe and my own voice.

What a difference a year can make.

I have a huge heart and I’m not afraid to use it. Coming from years of event coordinating, I decided to go with my gut and start my own monthly get-together. 

But that’s not all. 

I wanted to create a safe, refreshing, welcoming and meaningful reason for people to show up bright and early to hang out with me and connect with other business professionals in our area.

Naturally, I decided to go with something that was simple, affordable for my small budget, easy to stage – a casual, laid-back setting. That’s the mindset behind RTB – we will serve an assortment of coffee, tea, avocado toast, and good vibes and it shall be fabulous. 

I began planning and asked two co-workers if they’d be interested in helping. They were a little hesitant at first but soon realized I was onto something. 

They loved it. We all loved it! Through networking, I started learning about and met different people from the many, many nonprofits in Lane County and my heart kept growing bigger.

By August I had already connected with Adrianne Valdez, who represents not only an Independent Beauty Consultant with MaryKay but is a volunteer board member for a local nonprofit called King Silky’s Blessing Boxes created in May 2020 by Dr. Silky J. Booker – founder and chairman of the Oregon Black Chamber of Commerce. Booker also was appointed by the governor as state commissioner to serve the people of Oregon and the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. The organization provides non-perishable food items and supplies to families in need.

King Silky’s Blessing Boxes was having a canned and non-perishable food and toiletries drive and I wanted to help. I asked if I could spotlight them and introduce them to my RTB family, and it was a huge hit. I found what the people wanted. They care. They want to help. They just needed a place to learn how to get involved. It just made sense!

Fast forward to March 2023 when The Chronicle hired me away from the mortgage industry to take over and build out its Sales & Marketing department. 

The paper’s leadership team had no clue I also came with my own networking event – and were thrilled. We got to work right away  planning an expansion of the event that includes a multi-platform, multi-media initiative.

We’re taking RTB up a notch by inviting our featured nonprofit speakers a chance to write a guest column each month. But, that’s not it! Drumroll, please …

We will also be featuring a local woman who is serving in a leadership role, giving her an opportunity to also write a guest column after speaking at RTB.

Starting next week, Monday, May 15, from 8:30-10:30 a.m., RTB moves to Pegasus Playhouse on Main Street in downtown Springfield. Playhouse owner Scott Frazier-Maskiell, whom I met through the Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s early morning Greeters group, said he was intrigued and interested in getting involved.  After a lunch with Scott, he was all in and we got to planning – I soon learned that Pegasus Playhouse is also a nonprofit.  Check out Scott’s guest column in the May 18 edition. 

Everyone is invited! See you there!

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