Before Renee Lalonde began handling all the administrative functions for Five Star Tool Company, she spent most of her professional adult life in the commercial banking industry. Five Star Tool Company is an outfit that custom-machines parts for the aerospace, automotive, dental industries and more in Rochester, N.Y. Her husband, Ken, a well-known performance boat owner in Upstate New York, purchased the precision parts manufacturing company in 2003. She was able to immediately apply her skillset when she came on board in 2017.
But what Renee Lalonde didn’t know at the time was how well the last 10 years of her banking career—spent primarily working with nonprofit organizations—would serve her as a member of the 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run Corp. Board. Lalonde, who is 53 years old, joined the organization for the second-year event in Clayton, N.Y., The event raises money to grant wishes for children in the Upstate New York and Canadian Make-A- Wish programs, the River Hospital Wellness Program for veterans and first-responder organizations. And for Lalonde and her fellow organizers, that’s what it’s all about.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE 1,000 ISLANDS CHARITY POKER RUN?
Actually, Ken was one of the brain-children behind it. I stayed on the sidelines for the first year, but I could very quickly see they needed some help with financial structure.
SO THAT’S YOUR ROLE?
The accounting is part of it. Honestly, between Alex Buduson and I, and there are so many other people involved who work so hard every year, we have tried to create structure around things such as the registration process. We grew so fast that—I think we might have had 75 boats the first year and we had 120 the two years after that—the sheer volume of registration paperwork required grew with it. So we’ve tried to streamline that and other event functions. We’re also making sure we spend money wisely so we maximize what goes to the benefactors. Supporting the Make-A-Wish kids, the veterans who served our country who are dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries and our local fire/ rescue and police departments, they are the reasons we do all this. The kids don’t deserve the pain and sickness they suffer and the veterans fight so we can enjoy the freedoms we do.
To enjoy the complete Renee Lalonde interview and more, subscribe to Speed On The Water digital magazine.