Thursday, June 9, 2011

Joplin Disaster: Online Community Works Powerfully to Help Recovery

It is both frightening and amazing to reflect on the magnitude of natural weather disasters which have occurred across the globe over this past year.  Collectively, these extreme weather events put into perspective the power of mother nature, and our relative inadequacy, as human beings, to predict, or prepare for them.

Joplin disaster:  Hitting Close to Home!

As a Chicagoan, the tornado catastrophe, which recently devastated Joplin, MO hit really close to home.  Adding to the impact of the damage that occurred is the fact that a friend of mine, Kiki L’Italien,  is actually a native of Joplin, born and raised there. (She, along with sister Kylee Coffman currently reside in the DC area)  Kiki and Kylee have both been impacted by this disaster, as they have friends and family that reside in Joplin, who were directly affected.

Kiki (left) & Kylee (right)

As you may know, Kiki is a thought leader, and social media guru, in the association world, as is her sister.  Amongst her accomplishments are she hosts her own online webcast, called “Social Media Sweet Spot” which occurs every Friday, at 11:30am CDT.

Kiki is also the moderator for the #ASSNCHAT Twitter Discussion group, an accomplished  blogger, and a public speaker at many meetings and events.  On a personal side, in my opinion Kiki is one of the nicest and most considerate people you will ever meet.

Watch this video clip, recently published by Kiki, with her take on the Joplin situation:

Online Community Works Together

One of the more interesting aspects of the Joplin disaster has been to watch the social media world respond.  Due to Kiki’s (and Kylee’s) strong online connections there has been a tremendous response from the online community.  One such connection, Lindsey Rosenthal, owner of EventsforGood, offered to help Kiki & Kylee organize a fundraiser to benefit victims in Joplin.

They (Kiki and Kylee) accepted Lindsey’s offer to help and are currently collaborating to put together an event on June 13, in the DC area to support the cause.  The details of that event, which has been tagged as “Show Me” Support For Joplin: A Red Tie Affair” can be found here.

“We have special visitors from Joplin who will share their stories and photos, we have Southern-style food with Joplin’s favorite dish, “Spaghetti Red” – PLUS we have music, music, music! Proceeds from this event are going to the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity.”  — Kiki L’Italien

Here is a video, narrated by Kylee, introducing the fundraising event as well as capturing the impact of the disaster.

I am stunned by the kindness of everyone in the social media community as there has been a lot of marketing support and exposure to this event being shared across the realm.  Kudos to Lindsey for donating her talent and energy to help make this event happen!

Please do what you can to help!  If you have any questions about how to assist in this effort please contact Kiki L’Italien, Kylee Coffman, or Lindsey Rosenthal.  Or… you can comment below and I will help have someone respond to you.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

KiKi L'Italien June 10, 2011 at 1:18 am

Thanks so much for this supportive (and complimentary) blog post! We are all working hard to make this event a success, but if it weren’t for our network of friends like you…well, with a two-week turnaround from the event’s conception to the event itself, we wouldn’t have a shot in hell without the support of our friends.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 10, 2011 at 8:02 am


My heart and thoughts are with you, Kylee and Lindsey as you bring this event together next week. I wish I could be there, but unfortunately can’t.

I will look forward to hearing all about it.

All the best,



Lindsey Rosenthal June 10, 2011 at 11:59 am


Thank you so much for bringing this story to light and supporting us in helping the families who lost their homes in Joplin. I am thrilled to be working with KiKi and Kylee, and i am in such awe of the support we have received from social media and more specifically, the #eventprofs and #assnchat communities. We are lucky to have them and friends like you willing to do what they can to aid us and make a difference.



Michael M McCurry CMP June 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm


Great job by you to assist Kiki and Kylee with making this fundraiser happen, especially with such short lead time.

I will look forward to hearing from all of you about how it goes.

Good luck and thanks for your comments!



g giffen June 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Helping the families who lost their homes in Joplin—I support it. I think every body should carry on this type of work.


Michael M McCurry CMP June 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

@g giffen —

Thanks for the vote of support…. I agree with you!



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