Posted by Peter Brennan on Sep 25, 2017
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Date: 09/11/2017
Program: Experience Olympia and Beyond
Meeting called to order by:  President Elect Dan Lehuta
  • Invocation:  Rusty Chalmers
  • Pledge of Allegiance:  Cyndi Zechmann
  • Song:  Star Spangled Banner – Gloria Strait
  • Four Way Test:  Laura Arnone
Visiting Rotarians: 
  • Capital Centennial - Jeanine Nordeen
Guests of Rotarians: 
  • Jethro Balz, guest and brother of Jim Balz
  • Ben Wilson, Kaiser Permanente administrator, guest of Peter Brennan
 Happy Bucks: 
  • Amanda Walker - Shared 1,000 new Evergreen State College students started classes today.
  • Kyle Cronk  - Celebrated a very successful fundraiser for the YMCA over the weekend.
  • Steve Bean - Still planning on swimming the lake on his birthday this week.  Donated $77 birthday bucks.
  • Jim Balz - Celebrated his opportunity to ride a tug at the annual tug boat races. 
  • Warren Carlson - Celebrated the opening of the Providence Community Care Center and the co-location of many needed services including Sidewalk.
  • Bill Fishburn - Port commissioner candidate, is happy that his mother returned home recently after suffering a stroke over the summer.
  • Laurie Tebo - Announced the BHR Phoenix Awards breakfast at Indian Summer on October 5th.
  • Gerald Pumphrey - Is happy for his remarkable adventure on his 30’ sailboat in Southeast Alaska this summer.
  • Nancy Riordan - Gave a shout out to Judy Blinn who will be coordinating Rotary Cares in her upcoming absence due to travel.  She also was given permission by Kim Dinsmore to share that his appendicitis reported a few weeks ago was diagnosed as cancer.  A card for Kim was circulated for members to sign.
  • Skip Steffen - Wearing his Olympia Union Gospel Mission hat, announced the October 21 fundraising event at the Washington Center for the no-fee dental clinic.  The clinic is supported by 50 volunteer dentists and has approximately 1,800 patient visits per year.
  • Jeanine Nordeen – Provided more details regarding the OUGM dental clinic and its services.
Judy "Bling" Blinn recognized those wearing some form of Rotary "bling" and encouraged all members to remember to wear their Rotary pins, ties, etc., not only to every meeting but out in the community.  Dan Lehuta said it is a great conversation starter and way to introduce others to our great club. 
Program: Shauna Stewart - Experience Olympia and Beyond

Jim Larson introduced Shauna Stewart, Executive Director of "Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB)", a.k.a. Experience Olympia and Beyond.

Shauna has been the Executive Director for two years, and shared the organizations accomplishments and priorities.


Priority #1- Put Thurston County “on the map” - 2016 saw 1.2M visitors from 59 different countries who spent $303M in the county


Shauna shared their brand platform of:

  • Personality (genuine, relaxed, nature loving),
  • Promise (always a handcrafted experience), and
  • Position (never conventional).

The branding video represented Olympia as a place to feel rejuvenated, beautiful and iconic and near it all.  The message is that Thurston County and Olympia are #DecidedlyDifferent.


When surveyed, visitors reported the top five attractions, in order:

1.      Olympia Waterfront

2.      Farmers’ Market

3.      Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

4.      Tumwater Falls

5.      Capitol Building


They work with travel and lifestyle writers for publications such Sunset, the LA Times, and USA on stories that promote Olympia and the Thurston County area. Culinary tourism (the "Anthony Bourdain effect") is an increasing impact.  Evening Magazine on King 5 has visited several times. 


Shauna also highlighted their “Selfie Spots” campaign, with locations identified throughout the county as prime selfie points of interest.


More information available at 


Mr. Snappy Winner:
Nancy Riordan won a day spa gift certificate, donated by Maureen Considine.
Meeting adjourned by President-Elect Dan Lehuta
Submitted By: Peter Brennan
Meeting Adjourned: 1:30 pm by President Christy