Kitt Letcher: Bringing Up Business
Photo by Simon Hurst
We Met Kitt Letcher, President And CEO At Better Business Bureau (BBB) Of Central Oklahoma, Inc., shortly after a bout of spring tornadoes had torn throughparts of the metro. Clad in jeans and tennis shoes, Letcher was preparing to canvass the damaged neighborhoods in a proactive attempt to inform vulnerable homeowners and protect them from the ubiquitous swarms of swindling, fly-by-night home repair scammers already making their rounds.
To an outside observer, it appeared to be just another day on the job for Letcher. But as she shared in our exchange, it was another day performing a calling that reminds her she’s exactly where she wants to be.
What is your hometown?
Which high school?
Are you married?
Yes, almost 14 years to Stuart Letcher.
What was your first job?
I was an intern for the Tulsa Airport Authority. Part of my job was to give tours to school groups. The last tour I did was cut short one morning – it was September 11, 2001.
I understand the BBB is a nonprofit organization. Was I the last person to get that memo?
A lot of people think we’re a government agency, but we’re not. We are a 501C-6 nonprofit that has been serving most of the state for almost 85 years.
What led you into nonprofit work?
When I finished college, it took me a while to decide what I wanted to do. I’ve always had a desire to give back to my community. Once I focused on how I could do that, I knew I’d be happiest with a career in nonprofit work.
What are the most important lessons you learned from your parents?
There’s always a solution to every problem, so don’t let a problem become an obstacle to moving forward. Also, take advantage of opportunities when you see them.
Do you have siblings? Yes. I’m the youngest of three. I have an older sister and brother.
How do you define happiness?
Recognizing those perfect moments in life when they happen – not really big moments; even the most simple ones can be idyllic – and appreciating them, knowing there are so many things to be grateful for.
Is Kitt your given name or is it short for something else?
Kitt is my given name.
If you decided to change your name, what would it be?
Nooooooooo. Never! I would never change my name! Not in a million years!
Well, you’re like Cher or Madonna, really. You can get by with just using your first name and everyone knows who it is.
True, although people sometimes think I’m telling them my name is “Kent,” which would be even more unusual.
What’s the best decision you ever made?
There’s no single decision. Marrying my husband, of course, but even decisions I wish I hadn’t made were great decisions because they became learning moments of what not to do.
Who is the living person you most admire?
My mom. She’s so much and she jumps in to try anything because she wants to experience all of it.
Have you ever lost, sold or given away something you wish you hadn’t? No. I’m a big purger! I love to purge.
Is there something you’re happy you didn’t purge?
Yes. My grandmother was a very important part of my life. I’ve kept the first set of entertaining plates she bought. I don’t use them, but I love having them as a reminder of her.
Do you have a favorite hole-in-the-wall in OKC?
It’s not really a hole-in-the-wall, but I love Humble Pie on 15th Street in Edmond. Also, if it’s Saturday, my family and I will be at Big Truck Tacos.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes, two mentors – Debby Hampton (president and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma) and Patti Ripple (Division Head, Division of Business Administration at OSU/OKC) – two strong, dynamic women.
What are you proud of at the moment?
I’m very proud of the momentum we’ve built in the two years that I’ve been at the BBB. We’re celebrating our 85th anniversary and increasing our outreach to businesses in our service area.
What do you wish more people knew about the BBB?
We’re so much more than a place to call to file a complaint! Yes – if you have a complaint, please call, but we’re here to support businesses by giving them the tools and best practices they need for success. We want to be a resource for businesses.
What projects are on the horizon to do that?
We have a business development luncheon series that’s getting underway for May, June and July.
If you weren’t working in the nonprofit world, what profession would you have?
There is no “plan B!” I can’t imagine any other profession that would be as fulfilling.