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2021 Kennedy-Kafer Award Recipient: Stacy Kusler

2021 Kennedy-Kafer Award Recipient: Stacy Kusler

The Kennedy-Kafer Service Award is presented to a 3RNET member who demonstrates the same passion, dedication, and loyalty toward 3RNET's mission as the award's namesakes: Nikki Kennedy-Kafer and Jerry Kafer. 3RNET staff members select the Kennedy-Kafer Service Award recipient. The first Kennedy-Kafer Service Award was presented in 2014.

We sent a few questions to our 2021 Kennedy-Kafer award recipient, Stacy Kusler (North Dakota) to learn more about her history with and service toward 3RNET, and what these mean to her:

Tell us about when and how you were first connected with 3RNET.
I was lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of Mark Barclay when I joined the North Dakota Office of Rural Health. I took over Mark’s position when he went to join 3RNET as a staff member. 3RNET membership was already part of our office, and it has been part of my role since day one. 

Tell us about your history with 3RNET. How long have you served as an associate member? What committees, projects, events, and more have you helped with? 
I have been a member since 2014, when I began my role as the Workforce Specialist for the North Dakota Center for Rural Health. I have been a part of the membership committee, the conference planning committee, and the board of directors. I have also served as a speaker on the 3RNET Recruitment for Retention Academy. 

What does ‘service’ mean to you?
Service, to me, means offering what you have to benefit the greater good. We are all “too busy”, and have enough going on in our daily lives, but it is important in all aspects of life (work and otherwise) to contribute in small meaningful ways.  

What does the 3RNET Network of membership organizations mean to you? 
3RNET is a network of colleagues. Many of us work in small departments, or some of us are the only ones doing this particular work. 3RNET is a family of co-workers. We all understand the challenges of rural recruitment and retention and can gain so much by learning from each other. 

What advice would you give to someone new to 3RNET or new to recruitment? 
My advice is to lean into the opportunities provided by 3RNET. There is nothing like this network.  If you are new to recruiting, 3RNET’s Recruitment for Retention guides are amazing tools to get you started. Fellow Network Coordinators from other states are always willing to help by responding to questions, answering phone calls, and offering guidance.