One of Christel DeHaan’s many accomplishments was bringing an incredible array of talent into the industry. The list of RCI alumni runs long, and I am fortunate to be in their company. News of her passing reverberated throughout the industry but especially among those lucky enough to have been called “RCIers.” Here are a few comments from that group.
“Christel was in a class of her own. She possessed an uncanny combination of vision, leadership, drive, generosity and compassion. She set the bar high and inspired many of us to do our best. I’m grateful that our relationship spanned the professional, philanthropic and personal spectrum. The imprint she made on me will not be forgotten.” — Jeff Parker, 30-year RCI employee
“I joined RCI in 1986, and immediately knew it was a special place to work. Christel was an extraordinary, selfless leader who inspired ‘RCI-ers’ to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. In October 2012, two former colleagues and I were asked to be the MCs for her 70th birthday party, and I relished the opportunity to celebrate her special day with a room full of fans! Countless lives have been changed by Christel DeHaan; I’m so thankful one of them was mine.” — Joy Powers, vice president, marketing & communications, Concord Servicing Corp. and 17-year RCI Employee
“Few people in this world will ever leave as significant of an impact as Christel has. She cared, she shared, she made a difference Her spirit is indelibly etched in all of us lucky enough to have known her.” — Dori Carlson, 32-year RCI employee
“In 1978, I was hired by Christel and Jon as employee number 12. Christel said to me, ‘you talk too much,’ so they immediately made me an account executive where I flourished for many years. I will always treasure my time working alongside her and then watching her philanthropic efforts with Christel House. She touched many of us through the years, and I will always have fond memories. And, Christel, I wish you a very liebevoller Abschied.” — Kerry Stebbins, 20-year RCI employee
“Her accomplishments with RCI were great. Who’d have imagined her greatness would soar even higher with Christel House. She touched every person she met. I will forever hear her saying ‘RCIers’ with her accent. Heaven has a very special angel now. We can only imagine how she will make heaven even greater.” — Karen Buttice, 19-year RCI employee
“Possessive of a moral compass directed to doing good, Christel’s extraordinarily positive impacts on innumerable lives are everlasting. She motivated me and countless others to steadfastly work toward realizing our potential – both personally and professionally – through living by example. While she is deeply missed, her legacy of caring, sharing and making a difference lives on.” — Lisa Kobek, Christel House and RCI alumnus
“Christel had a strong influence on so many. She brought tremendous drive and optimism to both RCI and Christel House, shaping careers and lives. Her energy, guidance, and thoughtfulness in all her decisions has continued to serve as a guide for me in all I do personally and professionally. She will be greatly missed.” — Gordon Gurnik, COO, Hilton Grand Vacation and ’31-year RCI employee
“It is always difficult saying goodbye to a personal hero. Christel was certainly one of mine. Our very first consulting assignment in the timeshare industry was in 1977 when RCI hired us to do a member survey. As a very naive university professor, entering what was then a wildly entrepreneurial industry was a wonderful and interesting experience. During the following decades, Christel became a close friend, mentor and advocate. I will very much miss her intelligence, determination and professionalism. Most of all, I will miss her smiles, laughter, kindness and friendship.” — Richard Ragatz, Ragatz Associates/Ragatz Realty
“As I reflect upon the passing of Christel DeHaan, I automatically think about the profound impact she had on the timeshare industry, the lives of her Christel House kids, and the Indianapolis community. But, on a more personal level, I reflect on what an amazing leader, mentor, and example she was for me and so many other RCIers. She’ll be missed by so many, including me.”— Kelly Deardorff, 35-year RCI employee
“There have been so many wonderful tributes that have shared about Christel. As I read these remembrances and reflected on my relationship with Christel, one word comes to mind – generous. Christel was generous with her time, her knowledge, her support and her resources. Even though she is no longer with us, her spirit of generosity lives on.” – Darla Zanini, 18-year RCI employee and former executive vice president of the AIF Foundation.