Irish Fest says slán go fóill to a second board member after a final meeting today and her loss will be felt as keenly as Barney's. She's our first woman president and a dear friend, Laren Mahoney.
So she hit the ground running with us when she joined the board of directors five years ago and she only accelerated from there. She pushed us kicking and screaming into the world of social media, something all the old timers who founded the fest were only slightly aware of. She took on the Herculean task of redesigning and rebuilding our formerly crappy website and has managed its content since. She became a key member of the PR team at Irish Fest, understanding more than anyone that the first step in having a party is making sure people know about it. And more than anyone, she knew how to get the word out. Laren made us the place to be Labor Day weekend, whether you were from Kansas City, Kankakee or Kilkenny.
Of course if you wanted to be someplace else, she could help you with that too, as the founder and driving force behind the Irish Fest travel area. Laren and I have attended many other Irish festivals together over the years and she has become a trusted ear for scouting on-stage talent, too. She has never shied away from a challenge, and usually goes looking for them. She is also a never-fail beam of sunshine whenever you run into her at the fest...even when it rains.
Laren joins us all in the retirees club, but the impact her tenure on the fest has had will echo for years. Thank you for 5 incredible years, Madam President.