This year, we want to try something new on the Juniper Capital blog.  Along with industry news, I’ll share the latest from my job in a monthly column called Kerry’s Corner. I’ll keep it light and, hopefully, each post will be a fun, quick read that takes you away, for a moment, from the day-to-day monotony.

As VP of Marketing, I’ve joined a few excellent organizations since the New Year, including CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women), which I discovered is not just for women. In fact, they’re trying to increase their male influence. I joined CREW’s Events Committee with my colleague and “partner in crime” April, and we’ll keep you up-to-date on these events.

I also recently applied for the RMA (Risk Management Association). They provide excellent networking capabilities, as well as top keynote speakers, who are subject matter experts in their respective fields. The last RMA dinner meeting focused on “Building Trust in Banks: Improving Public Image, Community Involvement and Media Relations.” It was the annual CEO night, which increased attendance by about 40% (so I’m told). The turnout looked to be a few hundred people.

Personally, I enjoy evening events far better than breakfast meetings, as everyone generally loosens up a bit over a cocktail or two. People are more relaxed, chatty, approachable, and often more personable. It’s a networking sensation!

We are also involved in the SMBA, NAIOP, WBA, and REAPS. In addition to these groups, April and I travel to offices from Tuesday through Thursday. We introduce ourselves and provide information about Juniper Capital to commercial brokers, bankers, real estate agents and others who could benefit from understanding how Juniper provides a means to success with alternative funding solutions for an interim period of time.

Another reason Juniper stands apart, is local community involvement. We are invested members of Seattle and the eastside. And, this month, we are thrilled to celebrate the Seahawks’ AWESOME SUPERBOWL VICTORY!

I took the day off on February 5 to take my three girls to the Seahawks Victory Parade in Seattle. Boy, what a trip! We went to catch an 8am bus from Issaquah, because we thought we’d be early. But nooooo, we weren’t. The line was already wrapped around the bus transit area. It was fun to see all the people though, waiting, enjoying the gorgeous blue-sky, enduring frigid cold temperatures, all clad in their green and blue Seahawks gear. Then the bus arrived and it was already standing-room only. No room for us.

Feeling bummed and dejected, the kids started complaining about the cold…and so the day began. We decided to drive, confident we could beat the busses at this point. All told, we had six kids with us, all under 12. So after a 30-minute bathroom trip, we finally hit the road with our Starbucks in tow. To our dismay, there was a bus fire on I-90, leaving everyone gridlocked. But, it’s all part of the experience, right? Lol! It took over an hour to get to the city, which would be the epicenter for more than 700,000 fans that day.

After driving around for 30 more minutes, stuck in masses of walkers and drivers, and weaving through full parking lots, we actually found a “lucky parking kharma” spot right off the side of an alley, and there were no red lines indicating fire lanes and zero parking signs. How beautiful! We were one block from the parade, right off 4th and James. So, we got out and weaved through the hordes of people. We were holding hands in single-file fashion among masses of screaming, hollering fans. Finally, we found a sweet spot right on the parade route. The crowd was mosh-pit style. Kids are blowing horns I never knew could be so loud and waving Hawks pendants at poke-your-eyeball-out level. The officers kept asking people to move back to the curb, but no one listened. Freezing, but excited, we waited for the parade to start….and waited… and waited some more. I could no longer access data on my phone because of the amount of people using the networks, so I had no idea how long the parade was delayed.

Then it began. First came the ginormous police horses. The officers on the ground gave about two seconds’ warning and all of a sudden all I see is this huge gray horse leg in my face, you know, the ones that are about 18 hands high and their hind quarters are at the top of my head, and I fear for my kids, as the horses were dangerously close to the crowd. I shove my kids back with my left arm and scream to “look out,” which of course they could not hear. The horse pushed the crowd of kids into the people behind them. The enormous animal then proceeded to step on the foot of a poor little 6-year old girl that was next to us and I thought for sure it broke her foot. I felt so horrible for her and her parents as they tended to her and she was crying. But that little trooper got through it and they never left that spot for the entire parade!

It was pretty awesome seeing the players, managers, owner, and coaches come through on the Seattle Ducks, humvees, and busses. The highlight for me was seeing Russell Wilson tossing out memorabilia, and he actually tossed a hat to that little girl that got stepped on! I wonder if she’ll ever think that it was worth it? Pretty cool that she got something in return for her fortitude though. Not always in life do we get something in return for stamina and courage, but the gratification we get inside, when we succeed or push beyond our limits, is what makes it all worthwhile.

So, the parade ended and we got our frozen bodies back to the car and drove through a sea of fans. We were only two blocks from the freeway home and we breezed back to Issaquah in only 20 minutes! I think luck was on our side for sure.  I know people who waited for full bus after full bus in the freezing cold for two hours to get back home. It was quite an experience and my kids and I are very happy we rose to the challenge with 700,000 other crazy fans. It was an historical experience that we’ll never forget and ultimately, we’re glad we could be a part of it.

From myself and everyone at Juniper Capital… CONGRATULATIONS SEAHAWKS! You did it! We can’t wait until next season!

Kerry Travers
Juniper Capital
Vice President of Marketing