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03 May


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Who would be just crazy enough to…..KITCHEN SAGE!

May 3, 2013 | By | No Comments

The one thing about working with so many non-profits, you get a great sense of what type of boards are out there.  For Kitchen Sage, I knew in my heart that the less board members the better.  I am not what you call “Politically Correct”, I feel sometimes that the politics have a funny way of being a disservice to the people. Kitchen Sage was not going to be for everyone, even with its “All Inclusive Heart”.  Kitchen Sage has to be a call to action, NOT an entitlement.  I wanted my students to have investment upfront, to give me a sense of their sincerity.  I feel that we are breeding a country of losers if everyone is a winner!  Everyone needs to embrace their failure, if true success is to be achieved.

Here is another cool thing about what I do for a living: I have learned that relationships are the true success of any life or the life blood of a business. So what a great place to start!  Who do I know that would have this vision? Next, who understands my intentions and would be there to protect them.  “Holy scnikees!  What on earth am I thinking??”

Please stop for a minute and think about what I am putting on the line here!  Dave Kantor and Wendy Wassink made this perfectly clear when they helped me design the first JuiceBall.  What if something went terribly wrong? My name was on the line, and that was just for a birthday party!

Now I wanted to create an after school program to mentor teens full time.  Basically I want to give teens in my neighborhood big BIG sharp knives!!  I will have to put everything into Kitchen Sage to make this a reality. My name, my reputation, my life savings, even my credit cards are on the table!

I think I need an attorney!

So who should I ask to mentor me with all the complexity that is the law?  There was no shortage of options for me since I have fed a great number of GREAT attorneys.  What attorney would understand my vision the best and at the same time be watching my back? I knew that my pick for a board member had to guide me but also carry the vision further.  Allison Horton Sleight was the obvious choice.  She has this very nurturing aura about her, with that a dragon-lady side that you just know you would never want to get on! Plus she was a go-getter.  In my experience with Allison, her resourcefulness proved so beneficial that I knew right away she would not only protect me personally, but my passion for educating our youth as well.  When she said “of course” I swear you could hear my deep sigh of relief from a mile a way!


Now who do I know that understands financial matters? Someone that gets me and my “CRAZY”? Duh! Anicia Latter.  Not only does she have a background with great financial institutions under her belt, her philanthropy resume is wicked awesome!  To top things off, not only does she have a perfect attendance record for JuiceBall (like Allison), she has stepped in to produce the past three!  She has this uncanny way of roping me in!  Anyone that can handle a chef that says out loud “I think we should build a tower in the middle of the JW Marriott this way when I am the Hunch Back of JuiceBall, I can see the Franciscan Sisters from Lowell do their medieval fashion show better!” would totally be up for my board.  Not only is Anicia used to handling such outlandish goals, she does it with a grace that is almost regal. Anicia thank you for being in my world, oh and saying “YES!!”.

Now then, I knew I needed two more board members and I knew I wanted them to put the SAGE in Kitchen Sage! I also wanted two people that I not only respected, but that I knew in their hearts they wanted to better Grand Rapids.  Also I wanted the future of my board to all be young at heart, fun, and deadly honest with TOMMY!  I had some ideas who would fit this bill…………..

The HunchBack of JuiceBall and The Fransciscan Sisters!

The HunchBack of JuiceBall and The Fransciscan Sisters!

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