10 Years Later: Reflecting on Club 29
by Karen Wicker
As the 10th anniversary of my move from Tulsa to Oklahoma City recently passed, I found myself reflecting on my journey as a small business owner and the connections I’ve made along the way.
In Sept. 2009, I left an agency job in Tulsa to manage the OKC office of a large public relations firm. As a natural part of this transition, I focused on growing and rebuilding my professional network. I turned first to Rotary, an organization I’d been involved with in Tulsa and one where I felt instantly at ease.
Rotarians innately value relationships; that much is clear. Whenever I’ve seen a rotary symbol on my travels, whether it’s in Florida or Spain, I’ve felt a sense of comfort. That insignia meant I’d be embraced and accepted at once, no matter where I was.
This assessment held true when I joined the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City. Though I was just one of a handful women in the group (recently retired Shirley Kirschner became the first official female member of Club 29 in 1987), my fellow Rotarians accepted me with open arms. Through a passion for business and a desire to foster goodwill, bonds were readily formed.
Three years later, in 2012, I took a leap of faith and founded my own company – Candor, a full-service public relations and marketing agency. When I broke the news at Rotary, I was met with a flood of support ranging from “atta girls” to genuine offers to help. You shared your kindness, your advice and your skills, and I was humbled.
Like many of you, when starting my own business, I used Rotary’s Four-Way Test as a foundation. Candor is defined as “the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.” I named my company after my personal style of communication and strive to approach all aspects of business with a true sense of authenticity. It’s no surprise I’m naturally drawn to the first point of The Four-Way Test: Is it the TRUTH?
If you believe in Rotary’s core truths, including fairness and friendship, then there’s a place for you in the organization, no matter your age or stage of life. In the past 10 years, I’ve watched Club 29 evolve from a relatively homogenous body to one featuring diverse leadership from the podium, including five female presidents. The truth: this change has helped our club thrive and has made it stronger than ever. To quote writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, “In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth.”
I celebrate with you, Club 29. Here’s to another 10 years of positive growth!