Last month brought me to my my sixth year working for ActiveRain. I use the word "working" loosely because you all feel more like family than work these days. So much has happened in those six years I don't even know where to begin.
I was first brought on as a sales rep selling IDX sites to Rainers. What the hell is an IDX and what is a Rainer?? I had just left the world of Countrywide where I was a loan officer so I knew a bit about real estate but nothing compared to today.
One of my first calls was to Alan May, his profile picture at the time was Elvis so that nickname kind of stuck. He didn't bite on my sales pitch but he was such a nugget (this is a good thing) to talk to. As I made more and more phone calls and opened with "This is Kerrie from ActiveRain" I could hear smiles light up at the other end of the line. This was back in 2009. We were in a tiny, tiny room in the basement of the Market Leader building and nobody had an office but the office manager, Claire. When Jon, Bob, Jeff and Jorgen would come in, they'd grab a seat in the middle of the room and just work amongst the rest of us.
I'd never worked for such a small company before. Countrywide, AT&T and others had filled my resume before ActiveRain. I enjoyed the fact that there was no HR department (I'm best at expressing myself with expletives), no rules or corporate bullshit to deal with. We were all a part of something and that passion grew with every interaction. Lunch was brought in EVERY SINGLE DAY. From sushi to teriyaki to salads we ate together. This was a perk of being a small company.
When Jon found a new office space in the up & coming South Lake Union area I was not looking forward to working downtown. My commute at the time was literally 4 minutes. But after seeing the building, I was in. Our office was a big brand new urban loft with exposed piping and we were on the ground floor surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. I could people watch all day long. One of the more entertaining guys in the office would superglue quarters to the sidewalk outside our office. Business men and women (we were right next to Amazon so I'm assuming most of these people made about a million dollars a year) would walk by, spot something shiny and bend down to pick up the quarter. This particular guy would then yell CHEEEAAAAPPPP out the window which always brought smiles to their faces and ours. It sounds mean now that I type it but it was so much fun. Nobody got hurt and the passerbys always smiled and laughed too.
By this point I had been off sales for a while and was focusing on community management. And then it was RainCamp time. We hit up almost 30 cities between 2009 and 2011. We started in Seattle in Oct 2009 and ended in Seattle in June 2011. I attended EVERY SINGLE RainCamp except for the very first one as I was in NY visiting family during that time. From Boston, to Charlotte, to Houston...Chicago, Philly, Atlanta....it was the most formative times of my tenure here. I met so many of you. I felt a sincere outpouring of love for AR, its staff and community. I knew the 'Rain was powerful I knew it was something special but it wasn't until I got on the road and heard it straight from your mouths, and felt your arms around me that I truly "got it". And I've never been able to really fully explain the power of the 'Rain to an outsider. I try, I get red in the face and my east coast accent comes out and my arms swing and my eyes get big....but I know they don't fully 'get it'. You just can't unless you're a part of it. Unless you've had someone drive 670 miles out of their way to meet you for lunch, or gotten that "hang in there sunshine I know today has been a hard one" email from a loving member, or a blog post written about you on your bday or members coming together to help another Rainer out when a loved one has passed or they might be going through a difficult time in their life. You guys built this place and I'm just lucky to live in it.
The MeetUps always pump me up and make me believe in this community that much more. I love seeing the faces, smiles and surprise guests that show up. I can't tell you how many times I've heard Charles Buell order breakfast. He doesn't look at a menu just tells the waitress "a couple of eggs, home fries...", that is 'old school cool' in my eyes.
ActiveRain has now been through 3 acquisitions.. quite a ride. And each time I get in a room and tell the new management about AR and its members and how they have each others back and can move mountains and say what they want to say.....they look scared. As they should be! You guys are not to be messed with!!!
Some members have moved on, some have unfortunately passed. It's never easy to hear about one of our own passing.
And now I sit here on the 31st floor of the Zillow building overlooking this gorgeous Seattle skyline. My wife whom I met because of this job will be waiting outside for me soon and she'll carry my bags as we walk to catch the bus home. 9 1/2 months pregnant with our first child, this ActiveRain ride has brought me SO many blessings and they just keep coming. I love each and everyone of you. I really do, if it weren't for you, there is no way I'd of been here this long. I can't tag and mention every one of you because this post would be never-ending. You know who you are, I respect, admire and love you xoxo
LET IT RAIN!!