Alumni Profile: Kelsey Daer
Current Hometown: Billings, MT
Graduation Year: 2007
Major: Business Management
Current Occupation: Mom of 4, Managing Member of Buffalo Block Prime Steakhouse, Community Volunteer
Why did you choose Rocky Mountain College?I honestly hadn’t even begun to think about college and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. There was an admissions counselor, LynAnn Henderson, that came to West High. After discussing Rocky and hearing that I could earn an academic scholarship, I went to visit the campus. It was beyond beautiful and it instantly felt like home. Small class sizes, liberal arts based education… I knew I wouldn’t be another number. I could stay close to home but had the opportunity to experience some independence….I was sold.
Who influenced you the most while you were at Rocky? How did they influence you?There were SO many people that influenced my time at RMC. My business professors were fabulous and definitely at the top of the list. James Smith and Scott Severance were two of the most influential people I had the opportunity to take classes from. Their curriculum was relevant and experience based while also allowing some creative freedoms. I learned through experience and not just reading a textbook.
Another person that molded my time at Rocky was Gail Nutting. Gail is the type of person that would do anything for anyone. When the cheerleading program was first getting started, she stepped up to be the “Advisor” so it would be an organized sport at the college. She will always be the cheerleading team’s biggest fan and was honestly one of the best people I had the pleasure of working with.
What is your favorite memory from your time as a student at Rocky?I met some of my lifelong friends at Rocky. Participating in a sport kept me involved in the institution while also instilling volunteerism. Black Tie Blue Jeans will always hold a special place in my soul and that grew during my time at RMC and volunteering at the event.
What was the most important thing you learned while attending Rocky?
Community. Everyone always comments about the “Rocky Difference”. Those that know, know. Rocky instills and promotes a sense of community and volunteerism. RMC is small so our biggest support system was always the institution itself. Students and staff volunteered at events to help cut costs, students filled the stands at sporting events to support their friends, teachers gave out their cell phones to ensure student success in the classrooms. We were a campus that knew everyone, we were a community, we were a family.
Please describe your educational and career path.
I grew up surrounded by the entrepreneurial spirit and always envisioned myself in that world. I have been blessed to watch and experience successful business ventures. Though I chose to raise my kiddos and put my career on the backburner, I stayed involved and volunteered to gain experience and continue learning. As my kids have grown, I have been able to dip my feet into different opportunities and assist my family in joint ventures. Being a student athlete I feel like I was prepared to multitask, juggle different responsibilities, and manage my time appropriately. Though I feel that there are times I don’t have enough hours in the day, I wouldn’t change the work/home balance I continue to perfect.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
My greatest professional achievements to-date probably stem from my fundraising efforts. I was part of the original team that brought Black Tie Blue Jeans to our campus and my last year coordinating the event we were able to raise over $500,000. The electricity of a large event like Black Tie is something I thrive on.
Most recently through my role as PTO President, I helped raise over $220,000 in just over 4 months to build a new playground at Elder Grove Elementary. Having to fundraise during a pandemic is not an easy task, but our team was dedicated, passionate, and fearless.
Both of the achievements involved too many fabulous people to name, a lot of hard work and planning, and a community willing to step up for a great cause. Fundraising is an exhausting task, but also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
In what ways did your education from Rocky Mountain College prepare you for your career?Rocky prepared me to take an idea and figure out a way to make it a reality. I was encouraged to think outside the box and problem solve. All of those tools combined allowed me to set goals and strategically achieve them. I don’t take no for an answer (just ask my husband!) and definitely don’t give up. If there is a reason why, you can find a way