Posted by Brad Barber on Mar 10, 2023
President Beth started promptly at 12:30 with our land acknowledgement. Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and President Beth highlighted some of the trailblazing women who helped transform Seattle over the course of our city’s history.
Don Murphy and Jevon Powell led us in a spirted rendition of John Denver’s hit “Country Roads”.
Jaime Mendez offered us the inspiration to “March Fourth”.
  • A simple example of knowing you were built to thrive from the very beginning is witnessing a baby take their first steps as they continue to overcome challenges. 
  • When you see March 4th on the calendar it’s a date to remind us that when evaluating our goals and their associated challenges to continue to March Forth.
President Beth acknowledged our guests and members contributing to the meeting.
⁃ A note that Carma and Mary have essentially switched roles.
Ken Grant Introduced Mark Dyce-Ryan
⁃ Marks career has spanned 30 some years working in marketing with big brands
⁃ Marks real passion is community causes and is currently building free play areas with Sounders and the Reign foundations 
⁃ Special edition dog from Ukraine’s named Simba
                        ⁃ This followed a life changing trip to Poland/ Ukraine
⁃ 1 in 5 households acquired a dog during the pandemic
⁃ King County Statistics: 14,000 entered shelters and nearly 13,000 was saved
⁃ HALUBA sanctuary will be King County likely on the East Side / Maple Valley area 
⁃ 2 phases planned:
  • Phase 1 is smaller property 40-80 acres 
  • Phase 2: working with partners like Saving Great Animals as a strategic partner. 
Jon Bridge rose to the podium and spoke about his history in the Co-CEO role for over 20 years and introduced his niece Lisa Bridge, current CEO of Ben Bridge.
Lisa shared her education journey which began at Washington University in St Louis and eventually brought her to complete schooling at the Gemological Institute of America near Carlsbad, CA
Lisa is the leader of the officer cadre, 80% of which are women.
  • This is the 111th year of Ben Bridge
  • Lisa explained there is something powerful and eternal about jewelry. Lisa encouraged the room to evaluate what pieces we are currently wearing and to reflect on what they mean to us.
The last 5 years in which Lisa has been CEO have been very eventful.
⁃ Focused on brand messaging
⁃ Evolved in store design
⁃ First store in new design was in South Cen
Center opened in 2018
On March 15th, 2020, the city shut down and Lisa welcomed a baby.
⁃ Closed 106 days per year due to pandemic
Held on to their values and every decision was based on these values. 
⁃ At the end of 2019: 95 stores, at end of 2022 reduced to 37 stores.
⁃ Opportunity to step back and figure out how to double down on success and step away from things where there was not success.
⁃ Sold Pandora stores back to Pandora to focus on Ben Bridge. 
⁃ Realized the focus must be on being a personal Jeweler. 
Launched a new brand called “Bella Ponte” for the bridal experience.
⁃ Customers can now use holograms technology to preview the ring and track the piece through the creation process
⁃ All of Bella Ponte is made with recycled gold to give it a new life
⁃ Also introduced a global platinum tracing process to ensure it can trace it back to the source. 
⁃ Partnering with schools and taking some watch technician training in house.
⁃ ETA Mid-May to open new flagship store at 5th and Pine. 
⁃ Lots of woods and amethyst geodes as well as moss for a true Northwest feel
- Doing more business in downtown Seattle than any other year in their history. 
President Beth returned to the Podium and thanked Lisa with a contribution of 600 healthy servings in Lisa’s name from Harvest Against Hunger
President Beth acknowledged and thanked our sponsors 
Membership Engagement announcements 
Ashley Burman on behalf of young rotary leaders
⁃ March 22nd - Escape room in Glass Escapes near Belltown / Queen Anne
⁃ Great way to bond and there is no age limitation
  • Dinner/drinks to follow at the Queen Anne beer hall.
⁃ Please RSVP by March 13th
John Steckler shared the following upcoming events
  • Fedva Dikmen hosting a Lebanese dinner March 22nd at Tanoor 6:00 PM
⁃    March Madness at Yard House Downtown Seattle. Sea4’s putting together a   Happy Hour on Thursday Mar 23rd 4:30 – 6:30
⁃ United Negro College Fund Gala March 25th, 6:00 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Seattle
Ken Grant then spoke on upcoming speakers and guests. 
Beth returned to close out the meeting with recent updates on the Seattle sports scene.
  • Prior to closing out the meeting a visitor, Margaret Kyemba from District 9213 (East Africa, Uganda) presented their club flag to President Beth.
Meeting Adjourned
  Thanks to meeting reporter Brad Barber for another excellent meeting report!
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