When we embraced the idea of the 10 Hearts idea in celebration of Kitestring’s 10 years, we were excited about how each Kitestringer would approach the challenge. We always like to know the ‘whys’ of things, digging into what motivates decisions. Human nature is our best teacher. Part psychology/part Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys, we love learning more about…everything. We thought you might, too. Here goes.
My name is Jane Allison and I am the newest member of the KS family, here just under a year. I am the Communications & Community Strategic Associate, and also run my own company called Dovetail Community. Dovetail creates strategies for community engagement and corporate social responsibility, as well as PR/communications and media relations training.
Why did you choose your project?
I chose Wellwood, a very special place of solace and support for those folks with cancer and their families. I’ve known the ED there, Jane George, for more years than we will admit and I’m aware of the amazing work that goes on at Wellwood.
What would people be surprised to learn about your initiative?
That all the programs at Wellwood are FREE! We honed in the young men’s program, now called Curveball, because it was the initiative that had the most challenges of awareness. Young men (18 to 40) are underserved in the cancer world, and are often the only ones of their immediate peer group to be dealing with a cancer diagnosis. So these guys are isolated.
What did you learn by having this be your part of the 10 Hearts Celebration?
That it is important to consider the specific needs of the program. For example, young men shy away from the idea of a ‘support group’. Often, it is the women in their lives - friend, girlfriend, wife or mother – who will steer them to the program. That’s why we suggested a new name and created some messaging aimed at this audience. The people at Wellwood are a dream to work with as well. That smiling man in the photo above is Matt, the leader of Curveball and a cancer survivor.
What have you learned most about your community in the 10 years Kitestring has been open?
While I haven’t been at KS for 10 years, I have been active in our community for 20+ years. My faith in the community has only strengthened in the past 10 years – it is amazing to me all that can be accomplished if we collaborate in an authentic way for the right reasons. And get out of our own way sometimes. That helps.
What have you learned about yourself while being part of Kitestring?
It has strengthened my belief that you can have a lot of fun while still creating great work and being thoroughly professional.
Community drives everything, I believe, including smart business. A strong business needs a strong community supporting it and vice versa. I feel so lucky to have figured this out and to work with great people to implement these strategies.