Leadership Richardson Alumni Association


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October 2020


As with most things in 2020, things are going to look a little different with the LRAA fundraising auction that runs in conjunction with the New Class Reception. And by a little different we mean a lot different.

This year the auction will be just as robust and exciting as ever, but it will be online. There will still be phenomenal baskets, vacation destinations, and even more surprises. More information and the link will be sent out soon.

If you or your business would like to contribute an item, a basket, a bottle of something, then please contact Amy Taylor at Taylor.Amyw@gmail.com or 972-824-0685.

Funds raised through the auction are used for scholarships for Leadership Richardson and Richardson Youth Leadership. No item is too big or too small, and pick up can easily be coordinated if needed.




We are challenging the process to help standardize our membership dues.

Currently, the Leadership Richardson Alumni Association (LRAA) accepts dues throughout the year for membership.  Under the current model, your membership renews for one calendar year from the day payment is received by the LRAA.  However, because of the variability of payment, there was not a consistent membership year.

For the 2020-2021 membership year, the LRAA Board elected to implement a new dues structure where the membership year coincides with the LRAA fiscal year, July 1st to June 30th.   Under this model, all dues would be applied to the fiscal year and provide a member with eligibility for the year regardless of when payment is received.  All members would share the same renewal and same expiration date. 

Because of this unique transition, members could find their status in between membership years. Therefore, if you paid dues anytime after April 1, 2020, your membership will be extended to June 30, 2021.  Please allow us the necessary time to update everyone’s records, as the conversion will not be automatically applied.   If you have any questions about your membership, please feel free to contact our Vice President of Membership, Coby Pewitt, at coby.pewitt@cor.gov.



Leadership Development: "Achieving the Dream"

When: October 08, 2020

             7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where:  Virtual

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at UTD with this thoughtful panel of Latinx professionals.  Bring your questions thoughts and an open mind, as they share how they navigate their fields, achieving their dreams and representing for their culture.

The virtual event is free.  Click here to join the live stream.


Leadership Development: Mas Fuerte Contigo

When: October 14, 2020

             7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where:  Virtual

UT Dallas is celebrating Hispanic heritage with a Mas Fuerte Contigo (Stronger with You) panel discussion.

Join us for a live discussion with guest community leaders as they discuss and breakdown Latinx allyship, culturally sensitive issues in the Latinx community and what allies can do to help and be educated. 

Click here  to watch on Facebook Live & YouTube Live. 



Leadership Development: Mastermind Organizational Meeting


When: October 27, 2020

             7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location:  Virtual


In our LRAA Member Survey, a number of you were interested in setting up some MasterMind (peer to peer mentoring). If you are interested in participating or exploring this idea please get in touch with Dickie Watkins - dickiewatkins34@gmail.com or 214-460-8237. We will have a meeting Oct. 27 to visit, see who is interested and determine how to proceed with a program like this.  



Community Engagement this year will focus on providing information to our membership about different organizations that service our community.  We will also provide information about volunteer opportunities if you would like to get involved with some of the groups and let you know of board positions you may be interested in pursuing. 

Here are this month's opportunities:

 The City of Richardson is hoping to cast a wide net of candidates, especially from diverse backgrounds, to fill some seats on boards and commissions.  Different seats come available throughout the year and the Council reviews the applicant database several times a year during board appointment discussions.  These are all volunteer positions and the work done assists the city council and contributes directly to the quality of life enjoyed in Richardson.

For more information on the different boards and commissions, the application process and qualifications please click here

 The Warren Center advocates, serves and empowers the children and families impacted by developmental delays and disabilities. These children are equipped to reach their goals through individualized therapy-based care. Their programs include Early Childhood Intervention and Clinic Therapy Services.

They are looking for new Board Members (terms starting January 1, 2021).  Diversity to reflect the population they serve is very important.  Please contact Amy Spawn if you are interested in being considered for a Board position at amy.spawn@thewarrencenter.org.

UPCOMING FANTASY FOOTBALL EVENT

This year, our Fantasy Football Draft Night has gone virtual. It is an evening that combines fun competition with an opportunity to help children with developmental delays and disabilities reach their full potential. Participants will draft their own Fantasy Football team during the event, and compete in a league of friends and colleagues throughout the NFL season. Table Hosts will be presenting the event in their own homes or location of their choice for a night of competition, food, and fellowship. Attendees will still have the opportunity to draft their Fantasy Football League. The winners will receive 2 season tickets to the Dallas Cowboys 2021 season! 

The event will take place online through Zoom with special announcements, prizes, a silent auction, and guest appearances from several notable figures from the Dallas community.

At this time, sponsorship options and individual tickets are still available.

They are in need of volunteers to assist in the following ways:

  • Assembly of table host kits – this will include event programs, signs, gift, and host instructions.
  • Delivery of host kits and catering to table host homes and meeting locations.
  • Assembly of thank you letters and other follow up materials.

Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt!

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring or volunteering, please contact allison.hall@thewarrencenter.org or leslie.clay@thewarrencenter.org

Other Volunteer Opportunities

At this time, our plans for Operation Santa (which has been turned into a drive through event) include the following volunteer needs:

  • Volunteers to assist with set up and break down
  • Volunteers to assist with both putting together children’s activity kits. The kits will be handed out during the event.
  • Volunteers to help run stations during the event. Stations include, photo booths, drinks & snacks, home activity kits, and registration.
  • We are also in need of community assistance as we host a Toy Drive to collect over 400 toys to hand out during the event.

If you have an organization you would like to highlight or know of a volunteer opportunity please contact Veena Puppala at 214-476-7364 or veenapop-2005@yahoo.com.



Karen Ellis, Past Presidents' Club 2020-2021

Where has your leadership journey taken you, since your service year as the President of LRAA?
Serving as LRAA president in 2003/04 when Class XVIII was going through, our tagline was taken from Robert Earl Keene’s song, “The Road Goes on Forever” (and the party never ends) because that’s exactly what happens after graduating from LR!

The road of opportunity and making a difference goes on and on once we find our stride and have a blast as we do it.  After graduating from LR, ROCing for three years, and a healthy stint on the LRAA board, my road took me to continued service as School Board Trustee for RISD, Board of Directors of Texas Association of School Boards, extremely active in Richardson East Rotary Club, and a leadership role in my church, The Heights.  One of the highlights recently was being very instrumental in making the Ann Eisemann Inclusive Playground at Cottonwood Park happen with fellow alums in my Rotary club, among others.


What are you doing today and how do you think LRAA has influenced you? 

Can you say full circle? I am an LR junkie, and for the past 5 years have had the privilege of serving as Curriculum Chair for LR, working to instill leadership characteristics into every new class.  Go ahead, ask me - I FEEL GOOD, I FEEL SO GOOD, UH!  I love it.


Thinking back to your year in the LR class and your service on the LRAA Board of Directors, what do you recall as your favorite memory?

My favorite aspect of the entire LR experience, which extends to LRAA, is the incredible people I’ve met and continue to meet along the way, and making things happen in our community alongside these remarkable leaders. An outstanding memory is hosting the very first LRAA Board dinner in my home as president – truly, the board had every bit as much fun as the guests!  How awesome that today it has become a cornerstone for the LRAA auction!


As LRAA President (or since, as a Past President), what are some lessons you’ve learned and how could they help a future President for the Leadership Richardson Alumni Association?

Each of you comes to that board with a different lens, and each perspective is valuable.  Be present, listen first, build consensus, and have fun!  You have a shared experience that can be the springboard to an incredible shared vision for our community. It is truly joy to look across our community and see the impact LR alums have had and continue to make.


What are your favorite leadership books, podcasts, TedTalks, etc. that you recommend to other (aspiring) leaders?

An all-time favorite little book on leadership is FISH, by Stephen C. Lundin.  A quick, simple, practical read that’s a shot in the arm about boosting morale and results.  A guiding principle for me is to treat other people the way I would like to be treated.  If this were to truly happen worldwide, most every crisis would be resolved.


What is your “call to action” to the current LRAA membership? 
Someone once asked me, how long will you put off what you are capable of doing just to continue what you are comfortable doing?  My response was, ouch!  Sometimes we just get settled into the same ol’ same ‘ol, and the pandemic has offered an easy path for that. Years ago, my dad told me that reaching out, one person to another, is what community is all about, and how we become all that we are meant to be. We are in challenging days, and the good news is that we are better together.  Every moment, every person, every opportunity is a gift.  Do something about it!
                                                                                        

(c) 2020 Leadership Richardson Alumni Association

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