Notes from Colleen’s Desk: A Time for Everything

Colleen Padilla, 9/30/21

I have been to more than a few memorial services lately, which always drives home the fact that God has an appointed time for all things including life here on Earth.  In the past twelve months, I am counting upward of a dozen acquaintances, friends, and family members who have passed into eternity: accidents, illnesses, and simply unexpected tragic endings.

My heart has been a bit heavy of late and I feel a bit dizzy with a case of vertigo. Yet, seasons certainly come and go. Many seasons and transitions are not always as joyful or smooth as we hope they might be. They can be downright hard to get through.

King Solomon points out in Ecclesiastes 3 that “there is a time to give birth and a time to die…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”  And it occurs to me that both mourning and cheer can also happen simultaneously, as when someone retires!

Staff Retirement:

Kathy Trautman

Business Development Manager, Kathy Trautman, with over 6 years of service to SOREDI retired in late August. With numerous years of banking experience, Kathy actually began her second career at SOREDI as our loan manager. After just a few months, Kathy made a lateral move on staff to expand the breadth and depth of her skill set and began making outreach calls to traded sector companies. During that time, she was certainly on point to help our local companies expand and prosper.

While we have not been able to officially hold her retirement party just yet, rest assured it is coming to a fabulous Southern Oregon Winery near you!

Kathy was a model staff member with an infectious team spirit! I could talk about her remarkable interactions with hundreds of local businesses, partners, and more. I could note her contributions in helping SOREDI grow and sustain industry tours to include complimentary seats for our educational partners. I could articulate her critical role in helping establish our Business Education Partnership, coordination of Tech Tours with students from four different higher education institutions, and her creative – yet professional flair at numerous annual meetings.

However as good all those things are for our region, paired with Kathy’s incredible work ethic and integrity, it is not those accolades that are most cherished. There is an anonymous quote out there that goes something like “it’s not what you do or say that matters most but rather how you make others feel.”

Kathy made me and everyone feel heard and respected. She was in the trenches with us doing the humblest of tasks to ensure a successful event, meeting, or outreach call. Kathy made each of us feel more important than herself. To that I lift my virtual champagne glass and say cheers!

So, while we are sad that she no longer graces the SOREDI offices with her daily presence, we are cheering her on in her blissful retirement. Congratulations Kathy – job well done!

Staff Addition:

We are also pleased to introduce our new Business Support Coordinator, Caitlin Fernandez, who joined SOREDI on September 16.

Caitlin Fernandez

Caitlin will be that new friendly voice you hear when you call our general office number. We know she is happy to join our team (we hear from good sources, that we are fabulous) but she may also be mourning that very long process to learn what economic development is and what we do exactly.

And the SOREDI team is also joyful to have her aboard. She has already been deemed Brownie as we would not want her to feel left out and not have an official cookie nickname in the office.

Caitlin comes to SOREDI with a passion to help others reach their goals, consistent with SOREDI’s aim to help every business simply take the very next step in pursuing their dream.  With a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Southern Oregon University, and multiple years of non-profit experience, we know she will be investigating many stellar new ways to help this agency remain nimble, streamlined, and effective.

She is also tech savvy – what more could this old-school executive director ask for in a time such as this? Caitlin says she is “soaking things up like a sponge.” Read more about Caitlin here: Caitlin Fernandez – SOREDI

I recall vividly my first day at SOREDI and how several coworkers checked on me periodically to see if I was still there. Surely, I had that glazed over “why am I here” look.  At the time, SOREDI was managing multiple millions of dollars each biennium in grant funds for economic and community development through what was the Oregon Legislature’s Regional Investment Program. I was head down pouring through existing contracts for all 37 open projects, learning what terms like brownfield and greenfield meant, and wondering how there could possibly be so many acronyms to learn.  Rest assured, there is not a week that goes by still, that I do not look up an acronym! Care to peruse a few acronyms in our world? Go here SOREDI Acronym List – SOREDI

Speaking of mourning and joy, I am happy to report that I am now driving Belle and we had a fabulous southern Oregon mountain adventure over the weekend. Why be sad then, you ask? She’s now dusty and riddled with Rosie’s dog hair.  And that is just another fact of life, dog hair.

There is a time to get dirty, and a time to clean. I hope you take that adventure, live life, and worry less about the dust and dog hair!


Colleen Padilla, Executive Director

Cookie Name: Snickerdoodle

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