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Rotaract offers 'Keys to Success' Dinner

The new St. Croix Valley Rotaract club for young professionals will hold its first big event at Hudson Golf Club the evening of Dec. 5.

The "Keys to Success Dinner" will feature motivational speaker Kenny Ray Morgan talking about "Seven Keys to Becoming a Winning Professional in the 21st Century." Morgan is the founder and CEO of Morgan's Custom Clothiers and Kenny Ray Live! Seminars.

An Eden Prairie, Minn., resident, Morgan worked as an accountant for four Fortune 500 companies before deciding to pursue his real passion - clothing. After becoming a top consultant for one of the nation's largest specialty retailers, he formed his own clothing company in 1995. Since then, Morgan has also gained a reputation as one of the most inspirational speakers in the country.

His mission, according to his Web site, is to "help his clients achieve a professional image that promotes a competitive edge and projects a healthy and confident appearance in their careers, businesses and all aspects of their lives."

Andy Burton, professional development chair for the fledgling Rotaract club, says the same people the club wants to recruit as members - students and professionals ages 18 to 35 - will find Morgan's message appealing.

Tickets to the event are $25. It will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner of Parmesan crusted chicken, potatoes and vegetable medley at 6:45 p.m.

At 7:15 p.m., master of ceremonies Steve Wilcox, a past Rotary district governor and past president of the Hudson Daybreak Rotary Club, will introduce the St. Croix Valley Rotaract leadership team.

Aaron Davis, a River Falls insurance agent, is the club's president. Matthew Baumgartner of the Hudson Northwestern Mutual Financial Network office serves as vice president.

Christian Ray, another Northwestern Mutual financial advisor from Hastings, Minn., is the secretary/treasurer; and Isaac Grover, a computer expert from River Falls, handles public relations.

St. Croix Valley Rotaract organized last May. The club is sponsored by the River Falls Rotary Club, but also enjoys support from Hudson Rotarians such as Wilcox and John Knutson, a past Rotary district membership chair and past president of the Daybreak Club.

"John has helped us with the strategic planning of our club as well as this event, along with answering any questions for us," says Burton, a Hudson mortgage loan officer.

Burton is a member of both Rotaract and the Hudson Daybreak Rotary Club.

Rotaract was founded in 1968 by Rotary International, a worldwide association of service-minded business and professional people.

Local Rotaract clubs help young adults develop professional and leadership skills. They also participate in service projects, both locally and internationally, and get to know other young community-minded professionals.

"It's a social and fellowship outlet," says Burton. "Along with that, it offers the possibility of professional development and giving back to the community."

St. Croix Valley Rotaract meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. at the West Wind Supper Club in River Falls.

The plan is to have a guest speaker at each regular meeting in the future, along with time for socializing. The club also is planning special recreational outings.

It's a service club, Burton says, "but we want it to be a fun social club at the same time."

To date, St. Croix Valley Rotaractors have raised money by helping sell tickets for a Rotary new car raffle, gotten involved in a project to provide emergency relief ShelterBoxes to victims of natural disasters and held a bean bag toss fundraiser.

"We have more than enough (service) projects to choose from. It's just a matter of getting the people together to be able to do it," says Burton.

The Rotaract club hopes to sign up enough new members at the Keys to Success Dinner to officially charter the club with 25 members. It currently has a dozen active members.

Rotaract's membership dues are just $50 a year, considerably less than the dues to join a Rotary club.

First National Bank of River Falls has provided a grand door prize that will be given away following Morgan's keynote address at 7:30 p.m.

Rotaract isn't revealing what the grand prize is, other than to say that it fits a technology theme. "We're pretty excited about it," says Burton.

Smaller door prizes provided by other corporate sponsors also will be given away.

The club is seeking additional corporate sponsors at different funding levels.

Contact Burton at (715) 760-0259 or (or any Rotaract member) to sign on as a corporate sponsor of the dinner or to purchase tickets for it.

The number of tickets sold will be limited to 150. A ticket also enters guests in the drawings for door prizes.

To learn more about St. Croix Valley Rotaract go online to

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066