The Rotary Journey of Dan Graham and Tara Kirkland

Posted by on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 in Blog

Reported by Jacqueline Sinex.

Ann Graham called the Rotary Club of Austin meeting to order. Jackie Sinex led the group in pledges. Don Ray George led the invocation. Grant Glauser led the Four-Way Test. Rachel Ruiz greeted guests at the entrance, and Rich Fikani announced guests and visiting Rotarians.

Several announcements followed. Bobby Brown announced the upcoming wine tasting event. Tillery Castillo reminded the crowd about the Pints for Polio fundraising event and encouraged everyone to spread the word to guests. Harold Ingersoll shared impressive information from the Stop Hunger Now annual report, including their impact on 500,000 lives. At last year’s event, our group contributed 11,000 meals to the cause and at the next event scheduled for February our goal is to pack 22,000 meals. The Stop Hunger Now event will be held in 2 shifts for large groups in February.

Mary Reynolds mentioned several opportunities to assist with literacy and partners in education programs, including donating candy, volunteering at the Fall Festival at Pecan Springs and helping the librarian shelve and sort books.

After fellowship, Harold Ingersoll introduced guests Tara Kirkland and Dan Graham. Both guests enjoyed an experience tied to Rotary that helped to shape their lives.

Tara Kirkland currently serves Mission Capital, a non-profit leveraging the impact of mission-driven individuals and organizations. She continued to share her experience that began in 1988 with the Rotary Club of Bernie. At the time, as a high school senior, she had never traveled abroad and her life experience had been somewhat limited to the local town. She engaged with the Rotary Club to request participation in an exchange program to Spain. Through their efforts, she was able to visit Spain affordably and live the life of a high school student there, and gain four valuable take-aways:

  • She challenged her assumptions.
  • It reignited a passion for learning.
  • She gained global perspective.
  • She acquired Spanish fluency.

Dan Graham is currently recognized as the co-founder of and other ventures. is now a successful company estimated at $100,000,000 in sales.

Dan’s journey with Rotary began as he was a high school student at Hyde Park Baptist in 1998 and participated in the Camp Enterprise program. The program taught him how to think “like a business”, how to culminate business ideas. His team’s project was called “tasty tips” and was a concept of flavored pen caps. He joked that their team didn’t win the competition, but he also mentioned it did ignite a sense of business in him and another peer. After college, they pursued a web design business. In the process, they attempted to pitch a web development tool to a client that would allow visitors to order custom printed products online. The client declined the proposal, so they attempted to develop the tool and propose it as a tool that print shops could license and use. When that attempt also failed, they elected to take the business into their own hands and generate their own online orders for printed products. The journey continued with subcontracted printing and eventually in-house fulfillment. Through a series of failures, they eventually arrived at success. Dan shared that he learned many valuable things during Camp Enterprise, but also suggested that networking and making relationships in business and life could be a valuable addition.

Members asked many great questions during an open Q and A time.

Ann Graham adjourned the meeting.

Comments are closed.