Tag Archives: success

Most incredible honor ever

I returned home to the place, which I consider my second home, recently to participate in the University of Arizona‘s Homecoming Weekend activities. Though we haven’t had the best football season on record, the U of A will always be home to the most amazing college experience ever. Even better, the time I spent in Tucson will always be categorized as the period when I found my calling.

When I entered the seventh grade of a Catholic grade school in North Hollywood, Calfornia, I informed my parents…and Mr. Strub (the president of Santa Anita Park), that I would be studying horse racing as my career path. If I didn’t have the grades when I graduated high school, the only alternative would be to go to work for Mole-Richardson Company, our family motion-picture lighting business. The only school offering a program for my career path was (is) the University of Arizona and its Race Track Industry Program.

Fast-forward, this recent trip back home was very special. While I’ve been an extremely fortunate and humble recipient of awards and recognition, there’s only be one award I’ve ever wanted. When I was an undergraduate member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, it was my wish to someday live up to the ideals and successes of our chapter’s key leaders. While I’ve lived my life according to my own ideals and principles, the A.L. Slonaker Hall of Fame Award has always been on my mind.

And while I believe the award was presented far too soon, I’m blessed by the many friends and brothers who bestowed upon me an award which I will always cherish.

Below is a bio written by my good friend and brother, Craig Lowden, and featured in the Hall of Fame program and on the Gamma-Rho Chapter website.


After waking up to find the echoes of Notre Dame High School behind him, Pete “Spidey” Parker enrolled at the University of Arizona and joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

While Spidey didn’t swing around Manhattan fighting crime in his pajamas, he was a superhero for Gamma-Rho. During his time at the U of A he held the posts of Grand Master for which he won Grand Master of the Year, Grand Procurator, Grand Scribe, Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, and Rush Chair. It was swell of Pete to leave a few offices for the other members. Before graduating in ’93 with a degree in Animal Sciences , with an emphasis in Race Track Management, he also won the Noble Award for outstanding senior. In honor of his accomplishments on our behalf, the Chapter created the Pete Parker Hustle Award, presented to the active who best embodies his frenetic spirit.

Since that time Parker has held numerous posts including time as the Fraternity Management Group staff motivator (“Make Your F-in Calls!”), executive director of the American Heart Association, director of development for Sage Ridge School, and owner/president of Parker Development Services. He is currently the managing director of NPcatalyst, LLC.

As one might expect from a former Philanthropy Chair, he’s been active in the community as well. He has served as Board President of Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, Board President of the U of A Race Track Industry Program Alumni Association, board president of the U of A Sierra Cats Alumni Chapter. He has also been awarded the Volunteer of the Year in Northern Nevada from the Points of Light Foundation and was awarded with a Twenty Under 40 by the Reno Gazette-Journal. His new venture, NPCatalyst, was recently recognized by StayClassy as one of 25 of the nation’s finest Small Businesses in Philanthropy through its CLASSY award, an incredible honor for a company founded in January of this year.

He is also an at-large member of the Gamma-Rho House Corporation.

Parker lives in Reno with son Caden, 14, and daughter Tessa, 11.

Gamma-Rho was the ideal chapter for me. Becoming active with a small chapter filled with diverse and fun guys allowed me to learn about myself and others, giving me the confidence to seek or create opportunities, interests, and great times. I owe my success as a person to my mom, family & friends, and Kappa Sigma. This trifecta of support gives me the courage to fight for what I believe, what I aspire to, and how I live my life. This award, one which I hardly deserve, is dedicated to every person who has ever touched my life and every person whose life I have touched.”

Conducting the successful board retreat

By Pete Parker

Strong organizations are governed by outstanding leaders. Fueled with passion, experience, and commitment, the board members of community organizations play vital roles in the direction, management and impact of these groups.

However, the strength of this leadership…and engagement…isn’t always immediately felt upon creating the board or recruiting the new board member. As with many great things, the strength of the board is developed over time, through active involvement, and organizational understanding. One proven method to mature leadership and, at the same time, create organizational opportunity is by conducting regular board retreats.

As I see it, board retreats are integral to an organization’s success. It presents an opportunity to plan for the future by blending the vast amount of leadership, experience, skills, and ideas of the board’s members. In fact, if conducted on a regular basis, you’ll find that organizations run more smoothly, where board members are more connected, and the interpersonal relationships of board and staff are strong.

I’ve participated in many board retreats during my brief time on this earth and see the strength retreats serve as great “starts” for both organizations and their leaders. In fact, I feel the most successful retreats…those which set the stage for future success…follow four critical steps.
1. Planning – defining the purpose; planning meetings; self-assessment; presentation materials
2. Engagement – clear agenda; board “buy in”; interactive and fun
3. Strategy – creating goals and action steps; measurable results
4. Follow-Through – developed through committee meetings; presented/reviewed at board meetings

A successful retreat hinges on the work of a hard-working team (board, staff, and facilitator), an interested and skilled facilitator, and a proactive agenda. Most importantly, its success relies on the “buy in” and active involvement of its board members. I’ve also found that it’s important to tie the meeting’s agenda and activities to the organization’s challenges and goals. This enables the board to challenge assumptions, address issues, foster interpersonal relationships, improve productivity, understand and clearly represent the mission/message, and develop strategies.

Have you scheduled your next board retreat? Whether it’s to address your organization’s board development, mission/vision, messaging/public relations, fund development, and/or strategic planning, now is the time to invest in your future.