NAME: Karissa Thompson
HOME CLUB: Puyallup Rotary Club
AG AREA / CLUB NAMES: Area 12 • Puyallup • South Hill • Sumner • GFE (Graham, Fredrickson, Eatonville) • Parkland Spanaway
YEAR JOINED ROTARY: 2011
- Why did you join Rotary? What did you expect from your Rotary membership?
I joined Rotary because my work wanted me to get involved. When I first came to a club meeting it was a little strange but the people were so welcoming and I felt a strong connection to them. As I continued to come to club meetings, I started to see the true value Rotary could mean to me. I saw ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They were able to, collectively, move mountains and make change happen in the community they served and around the world. From that moment on, I knew I was in the right place.
- Has Rotary lived up to your expectations – how?
Rotary has exceeded my expectations in many ways. I have been able to serve and live out my passion through Rotary and would have not had the same opportunities without the backing of such an amazing organization. Starting with self-development, I’ve served in so many roles in Rotary and have grown my skillset alongside some amazing mentors. I have chaired several committees and events, large and small. I have served in leadership roles, been a trainer for PETS and the District Conference, I’ve met so many great people with wonderful ideas along the way. The people I get to serve with in Rotary have become a family to me. No matter what happens to me, I know I can count on every Rotarian I have met because they truly are service above self.
- We know Rotary is a big part of your life, but what do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?
I am a single mom of a 15 year old daughter, Kaylee, and a 16 year old son, Keagan. I am a full time mom and spend as much time as I can with my two favorite humans.
I work for an incredible organization, Red Canoe Credit Union and get to do what I love as a Community Engagement Officer.
With three fulltime jobs (mom, career and Rotary), there is not too much time for much else. However, when I find those pockets of time I enjoy bon fires with friends and family, dancing, music and the water.
- What inspired you to become involved at the club level? Then at the district level?
I am the kind of person that jumps into the deep end with everything I do. If I am going to get involved with something, I love being part of it in meaningful ways. When I first joined the Puyallup club, they asked me to be membership chair. Without hesitation I said YES! In that time we implemented an onboarding process for new members, mentorship program and doubled our club size from when I first joined. I was then asked to be president, again, without hesitation I said YES! I enjoyed every moment of my time as president and grew so much as a person.
I then started training at PETS and got to know many from district leadership team. I saw that my personal and professional growth at the club level was just the beginning. I would fully recommend that everyone take the opportunity to step into some sort of leadership in Rotary. You WILL see exponential growth within yourself and those around you!
- Best experience so far as Assistant Governor?
Since this is my 1st year as AG and as I write this, I am technically a week and a half out from being official, what I have enjoyed most is the fellowship. I thought my club was amazing… It turns out, Rotary members are amazing and my family just keeps getting bigger.
- When will we see you as the District Governor?
I would love the experience of being District Governor someday. I think after my kids are a little older, when I can really spend time focusing on the whole district, that’s when I can see taking on a role like this. I want to soak up all the experiences of District Governor and give 110% of me when/if that opportunity arises. We will see if it’s in the cards…. Until then, I am going to enjoy every adventure along the way.