Kane: No part of Washington she doesn’t love
While Washington Chamber of Commerce assistant director Dani Kane is an Iowa native and spent the beginning of her life in Iowa, she grew up and graduated from high school in Atlanta, Ga.
Explaining that her father — a farmer in Fairfield — had moved the family to Atlanta during the recession of the 1980s, Kane said that she graduated from Lassiter High School in Atlanta. While at the high school, she began dating her husband Chris.
Chris was a year behind Dani in school. After she graduated, the couple moved to Henry County in Iowa, while Chris finished his senior year at Kirkwood. Dani said that she had wanted to return because several family members lived in the area. Dani began studying public relations and eventually got a job as an intern with the Chamber of Commerce. The couple ended up moving to Washington.
Chris and Dani have four daughters – Willow, Aurora, Zoe and Tatum
What made you decided to come to Washington?
Originally we lived in Henry County. We lived there 13 years and we would bypass Washington – we drove right past it on the way to Iowa City for years. It wasn’t until I started at Kirkwood — I went to the local center — and I started interning here with Michelle (Redlinger) that I instantly fell in love with Washington. I fell in love with the community, the community leaders, people’s energy and attitudes. There wasn’t anything in Washington that I didn’t absolutely love and have to be a part of.
Since you have been in Washington, what do you think?
I love Washington — I really, really do. People say I am biased because I am a member of the Chamber, but I am not. We didn’t have to move to Washington. We moved here in April, and our children started
getting involved with community activities since I started working here over the last year. They love the children and the activities in the area – the Y, the library, and they are attending St. James and they are able to be part of community service projects. In every way they can, our kids are just thriving. Our whole family is really happy. Tsalika (Drown) made the comment that we are one of the puzzle pieces of Washington and that we just fit. We really feel that way. We feel like this is home.
What’s your favorite thing about Washington?
I cannot tie it down to one. If I had to put it in one word, it would be relationships – whether on a business level or a personal level. I just think the community has strong relationships. That has been my experience here. Your relationship with the school or your relationship with the bank or … we have made so many friends. There are so many young families in the area that have become good friends.
If you could change one thing about Washington, what would it be?
I don’t think I would change anything about Washington, but it would be nice if I could get the weather to behave — if it could ask what we are doing before it decides to rain on a day or something.
How did you become interested in PR?
I spent my entire life working and doing PR. I have worked with non-profits and ministries forever – even in high school. That is what I was doing as a job shadow. I would help with these different groups. I would always be put out front working with people and sending out releases. When I went to school, I always thought I would go for something like psychology. I was talking to a job counselor and she asked what my hobbies are and my interests. I told her I loved working with these organizations and I told her what we did. I said if I could do that and make a living, it would be so awesome. She said that I could. It had never crossed my mind, it was just something I did as second nature. I never thought I could get a degree and do this.
What are some of your hobbies?
We tend to stay really involved in the community. I help coordinate the Y youth program – my husband is a coordinator over there and we kind of work as a team on that end. We love the community theater. We just did Pinocchio and all six people in our family were involved. Four were on stage and my oldest was helping back stage and I was doing hair and makeup. For years I was a stylist. That is what I did when my husband was in the military. I live to host. That is what I like. I like to have little parties and little book clubs. I like to edit photography. I’m not a photographer but I just like to play with them and do some scrapbooking.
Tell me something about working at the Chamber that a lot of people wouldn’t know.
One – we are not the city. I think that is the biggest confusion I hear all the time, is that people think we are employed by the City of Washington. We are not. That would be the biggest thing I point out. Also, I don’t think people realize how many hats the Chamber wears. We are staffed with Michelle and I and we have Lynnette (Kennedy), our high school girl. We have a lot of volunteers help us at the front desk. We function as a welcome center and the chamber. We do it all. We do all our newsletters, PR, communications, marketing, branding, and we do a large chunk or our accounting. There is a lot that I think people don’t realize we do. As for community events, I don’t think people realize how many community events we are a part of. That is what we are here for. We are here for the community of Washington – businesses and people.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I really think unless something crazy changes, I see us being lifers in Washington. I would like to do a lot of traveling. I kind of have a free spirit like that where I want to see the world and do different things. As to where I am going to be working and what I will be doing — I believe God knows, and I am willing to go where I am called.