The Kootenai County Young Professionals Blog is dedicated to the people of Coeur d'Alene & beyond who are looking for more connections within their community. In this blog, young professionals, community leaders and mentors will share their passions, insights & motivations in hopes of inspiring others.

  • Fri, May 14, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Why don't they do what I say!

    Let's face it. We have all been frustrated with someone when they don't do what we ask of them. If you have children, you will be perpetually frustrated with the apparent lack of enthusiasm for which kids do anything other than what they want! How about when we communicate with a partner or spouse? Ever seem like you have the same conversation over and over again, and things don't seem to change? What happens when it's a coworker or a new hire?

    Many of us are under the impression that we are excellent communicators. But are we as good as we think we are?  

    I recently had a friend tell me about an experience he had with a food truck in his town (he's in California). He has been going to this same food truck for about three years on his morning walks to work. He eats there 3-4 times a week. He always orders the breakfast burrito with bacon. EVERY time he orders, they have to confirm the order three or more times. He is so frustrated that they can't get the order right the first time. Finally, a friend suggests he change his order to "a burrito of bacon" because of the difference in syntax between Spanish and English. He thinks this is ridiculous, but he does it. Low and behold, they get his order right on the first try! A simple change on his part made the order more understandable to the person taking the order.

    His friend spoke Spanish and understood the differences in the languages. When he suggested it, it didn't make sense to the native English speaker. It made perfect sense to the Spanish speaker. 

    Communication is not just what we say but what the person listening understands. This means we have to adapt our way of communicating for the listener. 

    If we want to be better communicators, we have to understand that pace, tone, volume, facial expressions, moods, and life experiences all come into play.  

    Next time you get frustrated with people for not following directions, try the following methods to see if what you said was actually understood by the listener. 

    1. Ask them to tell you what they are supposed to do. If they can't tell you, it means your directions were unclear.  
    2. Ask them to give you directions to do a simple task. You will see how they convey information and be able to give directions in a similar fashion. 

    Everyone can be better at communicating. (myself included!). When we are aware of how we communicate with others and how they receive information, we get better at it. It takes work, but it is so worth it! Do the best with what you can until you know better, then do better.


    Blog Written by: Geoff McLachlan

    Geoff McLachlan is a Speaker, Trainer and Coach. He is also the founder of Professionals at Play - an organization that helps businesses become places where people love to work. 

  • Fri, May 07, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Investing: what does that make you think of first? Is it about stocks, finances, property, or even in your future? Sure, those are important to a successful life and overall outcome, but what about INVESTING in YOURSELF?

    A personal investment is an act of devoting time, effort, energy, and money to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a specific result. It can also be something worth buying to be helpful in the future. So putting in the time and energy into ourselves seems super useful to our futures. This can look different for all of us, just depending on our priorities.

    As a hairstylist, I make my living from people who invest in themselves every day, in just one of the many possible ways out there. Though the term "self-care" has gotten a little misinterpretated recently, I think. It seems to be thought of as just getting bougie expensive services while neglecting the rest of the world. But, let's go into what SELF CARE really means. It's simple; it's just taking care of yourself inside and out. We get to live with ourselves every day, so we should enjoy that relationship and feel our best to take on the world with confidence and fulfillment.

    There are many ways to invest in yourself; yep, time in the salon is definitely one way! How having the hair you want, which is the one accessory you never take off, helps your image and appearance to yourself and to others. Devoting yourself to a new challenge or hobby is a great way to invest in your past times. How about working out? This is investing in your health and body. Another way to get some worth out of our careers is to invest in continuing education. The more we learn about our passions, the more we get to share and grow. Even hanging out with family and friends is simply Investing time in those relationships to bring us joy and future happiness.

    Self Care is for EVERYONE and should most definitely be a requirement! When we are satisfied and full, we're able to be the best possible friend, parent, partner, coworker, and human.

    So the VALUE of INVESTING in self-care is pretty darn clear... to produce the most abundant and bright future for our minds to live in.


    Blog Written by: KCYP Member Chantell Steinke

    Chantell Steinke is a hairstylist at Voiage Salon in midtown CdA. She is extremely passionate about expanding her mind and horizons through education in her field, meeting new people, and learning about herself. Sharing this knowledge with as many people as possible is what makes it that much more worth it. She is from the area and wants to make it the best it can be by working together and supporting each other. She specializes in color that grows with you and services that retain their value. 

  • Fri, April 30, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Long gone are the days of formal, in-person first impressions.

    We have all heard the expression, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." This is true, but it's no longer happening in person. Nowadays, people are making judgments about you and your business before they even meet you. How, you may ask? Google, Facebook (business and professional accounts), checking your website, and any other form of social media you may be a part of. Your first impression is happening, whether you like it or not, without you. When someone needs a product or service, most people will use the previously mentioned platforms before giving your business a call. If that's the case, you want to make sure you're putting your best foot forward. To do this, you have to understand that business networking is changing. Below, I will touch on a couple of ways potential clients can "meet you" and how you can make sure you're digitally presentable.


    Your website is seen as an in-depth business card. Clients want to know anything and everything, like 1) who you are, 2) what you do, and 3) who you have worked with. Many different types of people will navigate your site, but there's one thing they all have in common: impatience. When building your website, the biggest thing you have to consider is load time. On average, if your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, 80% of your visitors will leave immediately; say goodbye to a good first impression.

    Secondly, you want your website to be easy to navigate. When building the site, be mindful of what your potential customers will see. The last thing you want for them to experience is information overload. You've seen it before; the overwhelming list of options that looks more like a Cheesecake Factory menu rather than a website navigation bar? Typically, it's best to have about five primary options (this can vary depending on your industry or what you're selling). A simple, straightforward, and easy-to-follow website will be much more attractive to your audience, allowing them to navigate smoothly and more efficiently.

    Social Media Business Pages

    Social media is the most commonly misunderstood tool a business has. The purpose of any social media page is primarily to build awareness. They are your digital billboards. It is common to follow the 3 to 1 rule. For every three regular posts, you can have a sales pitch post (this is a minimum, I'd say it is better to follow a 5 to 1 rule). Nowadays, people on Facebook and Instagram know when you're selling them something. Instead, provide value for your followers. This can be free education, recommendations about your local area, or even highlighting other businesses when you work with them. People want to see you on your business page. They want to see what you value as a company. They NEED to see that you care about something, either locally or nationally, other than just selling products or services. There is a time, place, and methodology to using social media for your business. Think of selling products on these platforms as the "long game" and only secondary to building brand awareness. People want to know and trust you before they support you.


    Now I could go on and on about how to best utilize Google and its platform. For today's blog, I will solely focus on Google My Business Listings (GMB). This is the digital version of your business information. It provides pictures of your brick and mortar storefront, a description of your business, contact information, and, most importantly, reviews. The most common mistake with GMB listings is that businesses simply don't "claim"

    them. Regardless of if you claim it or not, Google creates one. This is due to customers checking in manually, adding Google images, etc. So if Google is already making a listing for your business, you might as well take advantage of this opportunity for free marketing. First and foremost, make sure that all information is correct and up to date. Next, update your GMB images and videos every quarter. This tells Google you are still there, as well as shows potential customers what to expect when they first arrive. You don't want to be that business that displays old, out-of-date pictures. This confuses customers and makes it look like you don't care about your online presence. Lastly, RESPOND TO REVIEWS! This is probably just as important as claiming your business in the first place. Reviews allow potential customers to get an idea of what to expect at your establishment. Most businesses are good at responding to bad reviews.

    They want to clarify something that happened or fix an issue for a customer. However, many times good reviews get overlooked. These people had a GOOD experience and are taking time out of their busy schedules to tell you how great it was. Responding shows you care! Even a simple "thank you" goes a long way and can ensure you'll have repeat customers.


    In this day and age, your digital presence is a key component of your business's first impression. Website, social media pages, and GMB listings are the top three ways to virtually "shake hands" with your customer before they even walk into your store. There are many more we can consider and dissect, but it is important to make sure you have a handle on these first. If you can follow these easy steps, you're sure to see your business soar in this technologically driven world!


    Blog Written by: KCYP Member Mason Lopez

    Mason Lopez is the Operations Manager at Bahlr Media, an ad agency located in downtown CDA. He has lived in CDA for almost all his life. When he isn't working, he is spending time with his wife, Kelsey, and his 2-year-old son, Zander. He enjoys everything Marvel and playing video games from time to time. Recently, he started a Podcast called "Flip the Switch" where he interviews high performers, learning how they flip the switch after a long day and unwind while also diving into their success stories and how they got to where they are. If you want to talk about anything Marvel, video-game, food, or business-related, Mason is your guy.

  • Fri, April 23, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    First and foremost, this is not a marketing post from a KCYP board member. This is me, speaking truly from the heart, being vulnerable and open about my experience.

    Let me start by saying I was a pretty reserved individual in my teen years and early 20s. Time spent with friends was few and far between as I finished college and began my career. But, fast forward to 2018; after living a life chasing my career and not really knowing anyone, I reached a turning point in my life and wanted to change that. 

    You see, my career in hospitality at that time meant that I needed to network to gain business and build awareness for my properties. A similar concept to literally anyone with any job. I discovered KCYP on Instagram and followed the organization for a while, not really sure if I would be a good fit. I mean, I was a hotel manager with weird hours. Who cares about that? 

    I finally took the plunge in January of 2019 and joined Kootenai County Young Professionals on a whim as I was being pressured to do more networking.

    Here’s what I was expecting to get out of it:

    • Periodic meetings where I would force myself to meet new people and tell them about the hotel I was trying to reinvent.
    • General communication from other members trying to promote their businesses as well
    • Maybe a few acquaintances that I could seek out and put into my “comfort zone” for larger events full of strangers.

    This is what I actually got out of it:

    • An open and welcoming environment! My first experience with KCYP was an event where I met maybe 20 people, and every single person in attendance made a point to introduce themselves to me.
    • Great events! I started attending committee meetings and got to see the thought and care that was put into planning events for the membership base. (Side note- I planned an event that I’m to this day incredibly proud of. You might remember it; the Tubbs Hill Cleanup in April 2019!)
    • A network of individuals that I could call on for just about any need. I became proud of how “well connected” I became in such a short period of time.

    But most importantly, I made FRIENDS!

    This is where I’m going to get vulnerable, so bear with me. 

    When I joined KCYP, my circle was very small, and most of my friends lived in different states. I spent a lot of downtime on my own, with the occasional night out for drinks with coworkers, both former and current, but not many real connections. 

    Being a member of KCYP opened me up to a world where I was accepted for who I am and not because of a job title. The friendships I’ve made are like none that I’ve ever had before, and I know this for one simple reason:

    The day before my Tubbs Hill Cleanup, I was let go from a job that I loved and one that I felt really defined me. The outpouring of support I received from my friends at KCYP made me feel like I was “worth it” no matter what I did for work. I spent the next six weeks unemployed before I found a service-level job. I spent a year serving my friends at several formal and high price events. And not once did I ever feel judged. In that time, I felt more at peace with myself and what I had to offer than any time before that. And that’s when I knew that KCYP was more to me than just an organization. It was and is to this day a family.

    Had I not taken that plunge in 2019, I don’t think I would be in as good of a place as I am now, with friends that I talk to regularly, countless nights spent bantering over good food and good wine, and an extension of my family that I never thought I would have, living in North Idaho. 

    Fast forward to today, I have a great job with a great company and an incredible network of friends to confide in. And I’ll say it again, KCYP played a large part in getting me there. 

    So I’ll circle back to why I think you should join KCYP. Maybe you’re like me; perhaps you’ve found yourself in a place where you know you need to get out and meet people, but you’re not sure where to start. KCYP is the organization to do just that! 

    But don’t just take my word for it. Come to an event and talk to some of our current members. While I know everyone’s story is different, we’ve all come together for one main reason: A sense of community. 

    Trust me; I guarantee you’ll feel it too.

    This post is dedicated to those KCYP members who have lifted me up in my times of need and cheered me on in times of success; you all know who you are.


    Blog Written by: KCYP Board Member Shane Solorza 

    Shane Solorza has been a KCYP Member since 2019 and has served on the board since Jan 2020. By day, he is a Staffing Coordinator for Amazon.com Workforce Staffing supporting Customer Fulfillment in Eastern Washington. Strike up a conversation with him talking about your dogs, his dog Aspen, or your favorite coffee shop! 

  • Mon, April 12, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Spring is finally in the air, and it's time to start freshening up around the house and office. Why not freshen up our workouts and mindset too? It's easy to get caught up in our business and forget about other important things like our health. I've owned my own business for ten years now, and it's not always easy to get my workouts in even though I OWN A GYM!  Believe it or not, it's even difficult for me to get going, but there are ways to get moving and make it stick. It's normal that, at times, we put our business before our health, but remember that it's important to take care of YOU! Below are some tips to help you stay on track as your career takes off.

    1. Set SMART (Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based) goals.  We do it for our business, so why not our fitness goals? Set simple, achievable goals to get a few wins under your belt and further motivate yourself.  (Examples: Get in 5 minutes of stretching a day; Get to the gym, or go for a walk/run 3x this week; Cut out carbs at dinner twice this week.) Long-term goals are important, but getting an early win will help you stay on track and help you stay focused on the little things that add up to get you that BIG win. 

    2.  Find yourself sitting at a desk more than you'd like? Try to stand up periodically and stretch. If you sit for long periods of time, your psoas muscle (hip flexors) can shorten and cause your hips to tilt forward over time, putting a lot of strain on your back and other joints. Find some hip flexor stretches that you can do while at the office when you get a break or include them in your workout routine.  

    3.  Try a circuit routine at the gym!  Circuits are a great way to burn extra calories that you don't get from just cardio or the standard weight routine. When time is of the essence, I set clients up on a circuit program because you get a lot done in a short amount of time. Circuits target what is known as EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption), which means how much energy your body is requiring after you complete your workout.  Essentially, you burn more calories for hours after you've completed circuit training compared to just sustained cardio, which ends after around 30 minutes. Not only does circuit training increase your strength and BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate), it burns an effective amount of calories in a short amount of time so you can get back to work quickly!

    4.  Hire a trainer.  Believe it or not, trainers aren't always drill instructors that push you past your limits! There are trainers like myself who can develop a program tailored to the client and structured around lifestyle and injuries. When we are busy with our career, sometimes we skip our daily exercise because we are too busy to think about what exercises to do.  Hire a trainer and let them help you get on track so you can focus on what's important in your career.

    In a nutshell, don't let "time" be your excuse not to take care of yourself.  Taking care of your wellbeing will also help your business achieve new heights. Start with small steps and build your interest in fitness and wellness gradually, not overnight. 

     "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." - Zig Ziglar  


    Blog Written by: KCYP Member Bret Spencer

    Bret Spencer is a Personal Trainer & Owner of Snap Fitness Hayden Lake

  • Mon, March 22, 2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    It’s a new era! 2020 brought about the emerging trend of remote workers. Working from home has its advantages, but the abrupt transition and finding a way to stay on track can be challenging. Check out the 8 tips below from two pre-covid work-from-home women to keep you productive during your day. 

    Set Boundaries 

    If you have others living in your home (children, significant other, roommate, etc), set ground rules for how and when interruptions are appropriate. My kids love the ol’ slip the paper under the door that says, “Can I watch TV, check yes or no”. Whether or not you have anyone else in the home, boundaries are important to set for yourself as well. When no one is looking over your shoulder it may be tempting to scroll through social media or see what’s new on YouTube; to focus on laundry or dishes instead of sticking to your work schedule. Set clear rules (a timer?) for how much time you give to those activities and/or distractions.

    Give Yourself Grace 

    Working from home can be quite a different experience from the office environment, and depending on your personality (raise your hand fellow workaholics), you may find yourself not getting up from your desk all day. While too many distractions can inhibit productivity, you’re home, so take advantage of a few. It’s okay to get a 20 minute workout in, take a walk, throw in a load of laundry or get dinner started. Give yourself grace and get out of your chair. It’s okay and it’s good for you!

    Stick To A Schedule

    Having a schedule helps with efficiency and productivity. Setting aside time for priority items will help you be less reactive to incoming emails or calls and allow you to focus on what is most important or time sensitive. Make a list of your to-do’s and prioritize based on importance. Triage incoming to-do’s onto the list rather than handling it right when it comes in.

    Have A Creative Workspace

    Design your designated workspace using items and colors that inspire and motivate you, keep you focused and get those creative juices flowing. You will be spending a lot of time in this space so create an inspiration board, paint an accent wall or add plants to help you feel energized and keep you calm in times of stress. 

    Stay Organized To Stay Focused

    This can start the day prior with things like setting the coffee, moving “to-do’s” you didn’t get done today to tomorrow’s list, doing a brain dump to get everything out of your head and onto paper, writing a checklist and cleaning up your desk. This can also mean laying out your quarterly/yearly goals and keeping a piece of paper available for tasks you think of in the middle of other tasks. For me, that even means laying out my clothes. 

    Keep Moving

    Get creative when it comes to making sure you move throughout your day. Stand at the counter, go for a walk on your break or during lunch, and if you watch any TV, do so while walking on a treadmill or doing squats. This will increase circulation, keep you on your toes & help with energy as you get things done. 

    Get Ready Every Day

    Start the day off right by showering, getting dressed (to the shoes), putting your makeup on and doing your hair. Making the bed, doing the dishes and starting the laundry are additional things you could do if you have extra time. These may seem small, but it’s setting the foundation of an awesome day, and can make all the difference. 

    Create Your Own Morning Routine

    What motivates you? Creating a routine that has you feeling motivated right away will give you energy to last throughout your day. A few examples might include meditating, working out, journaling, or even singing! Remember, it’s your routine to customize, so don’t limit yourself to those options. 


    Blog Written by: KCYP Members Amy Riordan and Catherine Dobbs

    Amy Riordan is a Coeur d'Alene Commercial Photographer & FAA Certified Drone Pilot who specializes in helping small businesses succeed in online media. She is also a proud wife, dog mom, writer & runner.

    Catherine Dobbs is passionate about helping people who cannot have children become parents and owns a local surrogate agency. She is also a wife and a mom of 2.

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