Pandemic Pals and Sterling Silver Club Members

By: Tori DellaRocca

November 02, 2020

Image of Sterling Silver Club Members Marlene and Kim

A Friendship Gone Viral 
When a friendship is strong enough, it can survive just about anything – even a pandemic! Sterling Silver Club members and longtime friends, Marlene and Kim, are living and thriving proof of that. 

Career & Community Cohorts 
With successful careers in the Reno area and a common passion for community involvement, it’s no surprise the women knew of each other even before their friendship developed. The first time they actually worked together was in 2001 at TMWA (Truckee Meadows Water Authority), where Marlene’s company was brought on board to steer communications and Kim was heading up the then-new utility’s customer relations department. TMWA was where these colleagues became cohorts who have since become the best of friends. 

Now retired, Kim’s favorite job these days is being a doting “Noni” to her two granddaughters who live nearby and who she keeps up with by staying active. Kim enjoys practicing yoga and loves to spend time walking and hiking in the great outdoors – with two enthusiastic dogs that are always ready to join her. 

Marlene is still working and running her nearly 40-year-old public engagement and outreach company, GoodStanding. Her “fun and interesting” projects help to build community engagement for her clients and often focus on water resource management and conservation. 

The Rotary Club of Reno, known as the “downtown club,” is also an important part of both women’s lives. Marlene was just the third woman to join the historically male organization in 1991 and made it her mission to recruit and sponsor female members – like Kim. Today, women make up nearly half of the membership and Marlene and Kim are both heavily involved in the club and its initiatives, including its scholarship program and community beautification projects along Riverside Drive. 

A Friendly Q & A 

To learn more about the friends and maintaining friendships in these socially distanced times, we asked them some questions.  

What drew you to each other as friends? 

Kim: Marlene’s honesty, integrity and ethics. Marlene always does what is best for her clients, no matter what. 

Marlene: Kim and I communicate very well. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes we are both way ahead of our words.

How would you describe each other in a single word?

Marlene: Focused. Don’t put anything in front of Kim that you don’t want done, and done expertly. Also, helper. She thrives on helping people and working through their problems. 

Kim: Creative! Marlene came up with many unique ideas to promote and publicize TMWA. And her house the most cozy spaces to sit and visit. 

Do you have a favorite “That’s so her” moment to share?

Kim: Burning Man! Marlene had friends with a camp at Burning Man and she invited me to join them for three days a number of years ago. We rode our bikes, admired the art and did our best to sleep through the techno music that played through the night. It was an amazing time. 

Marlene: Kim’s involvement in Rotary’s Achievement Beyond Obstacles (a support and scholarship program for deserving local high school students). She has a heart for kids facing challenges, she is a great leader and she loves to help and make a difference. 

How has COVID-19 affected your friendship, how have things changed and how have things stayed the same?

Kim: We don’t see each other in person quite as much. However, Marlene has made sure that many of our girlfriends are able to stay in touch. 

Marlene: I don’t take for granted we are going to see each other, so we plan it. I am the instigator of walks, socially distanced get-togethers in our green space and Zoom meetings. This new normal has also given me permission to stay home and work. Now, it’s OK to do some gardening or take a walk in the middle of the day. I suppose that’s one pleasant side effect of COVID-19. 

Why did you become members of the Sterling Silver Club and why would you encourage others to join? 

Kim: So many friends and family members had nothing but good things to say about Renown that I decided to switch providers. I also really liked what Renown was doing with the Healthy Nevada Project. So, when I saw the Sterling Silver Club, it seemed to me to be just another extension of all the good things Renown has to offer! 

Marlene: This Club sounded interesting because it would allow me to focus more on my health with like-minded people in my age group. And, I’m with Kim, Healthy Nevada Project is very intriguing for how it could potentially improve health care for all of us. 

What is the secret to a lasting friendship? 

Kim: Have patience. Don’t take things personally. Be flexible. And just enjoy one another’s company.

Marlene: Respect and grace, equally. We are not perfect and we are all different. So give your friends respect always, grace when they flub up and support when they need help. 

Thanks to Kim and Marlene for being such generous collaborators and ambassadors of the Sterling Silver Club. 

Friend Fun Fact: 

Kim helped Marlene find her new house a few years ago – and more recently, a new dog! Marlene and “Levi” have been inseparable ever since.

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