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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fort Thomas Residents Named CINspirational People For Community Involvement

Fort Thomas resident Deneen Wolber currently serves as Fundraising Coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. 

Fort Thomas resident Katie Walters, Promotions Coordinator at Q102, has done extensive work with Brighton Center. 

So often we lament on the seemingly endless negativity found in news stories, essays and blogs. And while information is important, sometimes we need, and long, for good news. Lisa Desatnik's blog, Good Things Going Around, serves as an antidote. Her CINspirational People profiles feature a diverse range of people—both in experience and background—from throughout greater Cincinnati. Desatnik shares their story, what inspires them and what they inspire. "It is really a way of highlighting and getting to know different individuals in our community, who collectively, are what makes this region unique and meaningful," Desatnik says.

Two of Fort Thomas's own have been featured—Deneen Wolber and Katie Walters. "What Deneen and Katie both share are their enthusiastically positive outlook on life, and their eagerness to making a difference in their own ways," Desatnik says.

Lisa Desatnik started her blog, Good Things Going Around, as a source of inspiration and encouragement. 

Desatnik grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming, and currently lives in Sycamore Twp. In addition to her work in public relations (more on that in a minute), Desatnik is a certified parrot behavior consultant (CPBC) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She's also a dog trainer, and a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the Pet Professional Guild. In addition to working with clients Desatnik shares her knowledge through writing and speaking engagements.

While Desatnik has currently been very busy with her pet training, she also serves as a freelance public relations consultant. "Professionally I have spent more than 25 years using my communication skills to build relationships and support of causes, companies and events evoking positive changes through my freelance writing and public relation services," she says. Recently Desatnik was contracted to develop and implement a communication plan for the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival. "[My work] helped it grow from a relatively unknown event into one that was widely supported and talked about as a gem for the region, with many of its events selling out," she says.

And as a result of that work, Desatnik met Wolber, who was working at one of the festival's beneficiary agencies, the Spina Bifida Coalition of Greater Cincinnati. Desatnik and Wolber kept in touch as a result of that meeting, and developed a friendship. It soon became clear that Wolber was a fitting person to be featured as a CINspirational person. (You can read her feature here.)

Wolber, who was born and raised in Fort Thomas, has been involved in fund and event organizing for more than 30 years, starting back when she was a student at Northern Kentucky University and involved in charity work with her sorority. Wolber worked with the Charities Guild of Northern Kentucky for 10 years, and once her son was at Johnson Elementary she became active in school fundraising, including serving as vice president of the PTO. For four years she worked part-time with the Spina Bifida Coalition of Greater Cincinnati, and in January she took a full-time position as Fundraising Coordinator with Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"I have a huge passion for helping people and helping animals," Wolber says. "My grandmother always said I had a gift, that I accepted people for who they are and that I never judged anyone." Wolber says she appreciated being featured as a CINspirational person because in addition to spreading awareness about Spina Bifida and Muscular Dystrophy, the profile served as a way for people to realize how much they can do, individually. "If you have something you can give back it's really important, and worth it, to give back," Wolber says. "It's amazing what people in the community—all the people who have been nominated—do. It's great to read about what they do."

Katie Walters also met Desatnik at the ReelAbilities Film Festival. (You can read her feature here.) Walters, who was born and raised in Fort Thomas, moved back to the community six years ago. The Promotions Coordinator for Q102, Walters also has worked with Brighton Center, personally and professionally, for more than 10 years. "I am getting ready to start my second term as a Brighton Center Board Member this year," Walters says. "My job at Q102 allows me to bring media attention to Brighton besides emceeing and producing events." Last year's events included an 80's Throwback Party to Benefit Brighton Recovery Center for Women [presented with Mark Collier and Fort Thomas Matters]; Fort Thomas Share What You Can at Tower Park, which was a springtime can good drive/party that benefited the Brighton Center Food Pantry; Brighton Classic Golf Outing; Brighton Recovery Center for Women Family Picnic; Brighton United Way Kick-Off; Halloween Fright Night for Brighton Center and Spina Bifida Coalition of Cincinnati; and the Q102 Jeff and Jenn Christmas Show that benefitted Brighton Center and Music Resource Center.

In addition to this work, Walters says she works extensively in the community. "I emcee and coordinate events, fundraisers, city festivals (including Fort Thomas), schools, and directly work with many different charities," Walters says. "I feel it is very important to give—no matter how big or how small. We are one community and we're all in this together." 

Walters says she was honored to be highlighted in Desatnik's blog. "She has created a great platform to acknowledge people in our community who love to be involved," Walters says. "Lisa's page also brings awareness to all the different opportunities that exist in our community where one can help or give." 

Desatnik says she started Good Things Going Around in hopes that it would serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement. "I see a real need and want for news and information that is uplifting and positive," Desatnik says. "It is so easy for us to get caught up in our daily life challenges, struggles and deadlines; having a reminder of the good that is both within and around us is so important on many levels. Being mindful to take time to focus on those things and people that give our lives meaning allows us to appreciate life."

Desatnik says both Wolber and Walters reminded her of the good that is within and around, and that she was inspired her by their positive, can-do attitudes. "They are determined and have a strong sense of character values," Desatnik says. "They are both people whose actions speak as loud as their words, and they are so generous with both. I have seen a lot of good come from their eagerness to make a positive difference." 

Tonight Wolber, Walters and other CINspirational People will be honored at Desatnik's first blog event, A Night of CINspiration. "I want this to be an event from which guests leave feeling uplifted and inspired in some way," Desatnik says. "It is a happy hour [and] networking event, but also will include one of my featured CINspirational People sharing life experiences."

Nick St. Pierre, who runs the Cincinnati Reds mascot program, will be Desatnik's first speaker. Since Gapper's inception, Pierre served as the mascot for nearly 10 years. Today, Pierre's son dons the furry suit and carries on his father's legacy, while Pierre oversees all the Reds mascots. "Nick's stories about the people he met while in costume will put a lump in your throat and remind you of all the good that is within and around all of us," Desatnik wrote in tonight's event invitation.

Tonight's event is open to the public although pre-registration is required (you can do so here).

Desatnik also has a March 24th event planned, which will feature keynote speaker Leila Kubesch, founder of the nonprofit organization Parents 2 Partners.

"It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to give exposure to people, their unique gifts and their perspectives," Desatnik says. "It is a small token to remind them they are valued. And it opens up others' minds to seeing the world through different eyes." 

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