Better know an Exec part 2 (Quality time with Rich Kaplan, his wife Karmann & 13 others)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/01/11 07:31 -05:00, original URI:

Previous parts in this series:

Today's Exec is not a stranger to m.

In fact my connection to Customer & Partner Advocacy Corporate VP Rich Kaplan 

dates back to August of 2007 and an irate customer who was cold calling every Kaplan in the phone book trying to accost him!

(I told the story previously in Are you Mr. Kaplan?)

He and I would then bump into each other over the following years, like at summits and presentations and such.

One of those times, we talked about our shared name, and I told him my "Ellis Island" story. told previously in My name is Dragutsky. Michael Dragutsky.

Another time I was having lunch in the Commons with Ellen and he came up to me introduced his parents (two other Kaplans!).

He is the first Exec I talked with about my desire to see the corporate matching ceiling raised, and as one of those people who contributes heavily to Fred Hutch, he definitely knows where I am coming from

My friend Jenny Lay-Flurrie who I met a few years back talking about education about accessibility, just recently took on new role in the Customer and Partner Advocacy org, working for Rich.

You might say that within one conversation/two emails with her and one with Rich, I began to really crystallize what would become points 3, 4, and 5 from What I'd do with my 'Microsoft 20% time'!

As I bounced ideas off them, my more nebulous aspirations began to take shape, so perhaps you may want to think of some of this blog today as an origin story, of sorts!

It started right after Hanging with Marlena Werder + her skip & skipskip level!.

I was taking a taxi from the Woodmark to Canlis, because despite the fact that I was traveling from spending the day with three VPs and a Leadership Teem to have diner with another VP and his wife, Shuttle Services simply couldn't accommodate my needs.

{Insert eye roll here! I get the feeling that if I was leaving Steve t meet Bill they still wouldn't be able to help me!}

Anyway, with the help of a cab driver who was promised a hefty tip he could get me to my destination before dinner started¹ ².

Dinner was with Rich, his wife Karmann, and seven other couples. In a private room.

I felt a little bad because I think I outbid M3 Sweatt for my spot, and M3 is a guy who just a few eeks later said stuff about me like this on Twitter:

Hopefully he'll be able to forgive me eventually!

I called Cathy a few weeks prior, and she was willing to ignore the fact that we'd be out late on a Thursday to be my +1 when the original +1 proved unavailable. She even made it there before I did, actually!

And Jenny was there too, with her husband. I was surprised since she wasn't on the original list (they got to sub or another couple who had a conflict. I was grateful since she was going to be the next person asked if Cathy couldn't make it, and if that had happened, I wouldn't have met her husband!

Altogether, the seven couples raised $3,820 -- which Rich and Karmann were going to match over and above the Giving Campaign matching, and donate it to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where they are on the Ambassadors’ Board.

He also noticed my name on the guest list for the Fred Hutch Gala, and we talked about that for a bit (he got me a seat at a "Softies" table for the event, which was coming up in just a couple of days. :-)

And of course the amazing dinner on that night a Canlis.

I'll put up the menu to get you ll jealous!

Appetizers:   1. Oysters with Red Wine Mignonette

                      2. Crab Cakes with Lobster Coral

                      3. Flashed Seared Teriyaki Tenderloin


Canlis Salad  “100 Best Dishes in America”- Saveur Magazine


Choice of Entrées:     1. Wild  King Salmon

                                    2. Forest Mushroom Risotto

                                    3.  Naturally Raised, Prime Filet Mignon & Prawns

 Dessert: ”Perfect Trio”

“No Holds Bar”


I also conveyed greetings from Marlena and Barbara who I had recently taken my leave of.

Several people were amused at the schedule I set myself up for that day, not that I had much choice....

In the end, this was the single most impressive December 1st of the 41 I've experienced in my lifetime thus far.

I may retire December 1st's jersey at this point!

The evening an thie particular Exec and his wife provided something that was more than anything else about the spirit of camaraderie and generosity .

And a very tangible (and delicious!) reward for it!


1 - I made it bfore dinner.
2 - He got that tip.

John Cowan on 11 Jan 2012 9:59 AM:

By the way, does that goot in Dry-goot-ski rhyme with moot or with foot?  

Michael S. Kaplan on 11 Jan 2012 11:56 AM:

Either - depends on who you ask!

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