I first met Ann Rader way back in 1996. We both were participants in the initial Leadership Evergreen class. I was immediately struck with her aura of quiet, feminine dignity that is all the more impressive when balanced with her warmth, efficiency and organizational skills, and her long-term commitment to many of the nonprofit organizations and community activities in our mountain area.
I got to know her further when that same year Cheryl Ladd corralled some of us to join Cheryl and Ann and Dick Wulf (from the Rec Center) on the first organizational committee for Skate the Lake which had been originated through Drive Smart. Ann and Cheryl had co-founded Drive Smart, and Ann served on its board for five years.
I can still remember the enthusiasm that Ann showed as she and I (who were charged with selling tee-shirts) tried unique and novel ways to sell our Skate the Lake tee shirts at that inaugural event. As barkers, we danced, we sang, we made up cheers, we cajoled and even coerced the first participants to partake of those shirts. We all were also very anxious. It was early in the evening of the very first event and Ann and everyone else had worked all day to prepare the Lake House. Would anyone show up? Ann and I hugged each other in delight when the sheriff’s department came in to tell us that the entire town was in a massive traffic jam as hundreds and hundreds of cars were attempting to park on that New’ Years Eve so many years ago. Success!! It was a heady time for all of us, and Skate the Lake went on to become a great tradition in our community.
But that wasn’t the only noteworthy activity that Ann was involved with in Evergreen at that time. For 10 years, she was very instrumental in raising money through the Mountain Schools Fund that amassed more than $500,000 for public schools in the mountain areas of Jefferson County. (This might be a good organization to try to resurrect in this period of massive budget cuts to our local schools.) Ann also served on the board of Evergreen Bootstraps, which raises money for scholarships and served as president for one term. It was very important to Ann to support her children’s schools, and she also served as co-president of the PTA of Evergreen High School.
Ann and her husband, Tom Rader, have been married for 43 three years and have raised three children together, Arthur, Nick and Christina. They moved to Evergreen in 1989 after working for some years in the tourism industry in Hawaii and later settling in Seattle. For a long time they owned a company there with as many as 150 employees during the high season that managed cruises and tours to Alaska. Ann was in charge of the financial end of the business.
Ann had grown up in Kansas and met Tom at the University of Kansas. She visited Colorado throughout her youth and loved it. She joked with me that all her life she had always said that it is almost inevitable that all the smart people in Kansas eventually end up in Colorado! Well, it was a circuitous route but eventually they opted for sunshine and the beautiful vistas of Colorado.
With all the fire power that Ann possesses, it didn’t really surprise me to hear recently about her newest venture. But I was, once again, extremely impressed. Ann has a new passion which is helping senior citizens through the further development of her business, Medicare Decision Analysts. Ann explained that she got in to this business by happenstance.
Several years ago, she began researching the decision that she and her husband Tom were trying to make regarding converting his insurance to Medicare. Because of her years of financial focus in their businesses, she was able to navigate through the mind-boggling array of details and choices, but she realized what a challenge this could be for so many newly eligible people. There are many combinations and permutations to consider which vary depending on a person’s individual medical status. She subsequently helped out friends and relatives who needed help, and then recognized that this would be a beneficial service to offer to the community and a potentially good business to develop at this stage of her life.
She has been at it for awhile now, and business is going great. Tom contributes to this endeavor by doing the marketing and developing their very useful website which you can access at MedicareDecisionAnalysts.com. Ann reports that she literally loves the work! The challenge of analyzing financial issues, weighing out relative benefits of plans, and helping out people with really useful information is extremely rewarding to her and she feels like she has found her niche.