You've been keeping us really busy the past few weeks, Bellingham, so pardon our delay in our write-ups of our first-ever BellinghamKOMO search for the most fascinating people.
If you're a homeowner or a local news junkie in town, you may know the next woman on our list. Anny Havland is a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, and a local talk show host. But perhaps most of all, she's a woman on a mission--to help others.
In December 2004, Havland and her husband Bill started their local company, Neighborhood Mortgage from their kitchen table. From there, they grew and expanded in to one of the largest mortgage companies in the county.
Not just one of the largest, but in these troubled economic times with a not-yet-recovered housing market, Neighborhood Mortgage is also one of the few last standing independent mortgage brokerage firms in the county, Havland said.
"Failure to me is not an option. That word does not exist in my dictionary," Havland said. "Because I will overcome. I always joke that next time I should probably bring knee-pads into my life. I've fallen many times, but I always get back up."
Havland credits much of the company's success to her "warriors," her employees who she says are just as passionate and involved as she is. Havland is involved in the community through much more than just her business ties. At any given local charitable event, at any given time, Havland said it's not unusual to find her or any of her "warriors" out there, supporting causes such as The American Red Cross, Muscular Dystrophy and Relay for Life.
At one point, Havland said, she was an active member on at least eight local and state level Boards, not all of them dealing with real estate.
But all that's behind her now. About a year ago, Havland said, she dropped her position on all of the boards she was serving on to finally pursue a life long dream of hers.
"A dream that I've had since I was a little girl was to be on camera," Havland said. "I've always been an outgoing personality."
As a result, Talk It Up TV was born, and Havland said she and her film crew made the conscious decision to focus on uplifting stories, because in this dreary economic climate, and the (sometimes) dreary climate in Bellingham itself, everyone could use more good news.
"We wanted to focus it and pay all the attention on the heroes and the people doing good," Havland said
Havland said she uses Talk It Up TV as a platform for what she really loves--helping people. People like a nine-year-old local girl named Madison, who had severe teeth issues that were quickly turning into a health issue.
With a single-working mom and other sisters, it looked as if Madison would be hard-pressed to get the dental help she needed, until Havland and Talk It Up TV stepped in and managed to find not one, but two local dentists willing to donate their time and efforts to help correct Madison's teeth.
"That type of gift will be a gift that will last her entire life time," Havland said. "They're so meaningful and they change people's lives."
Madison will need specialized dental care until she's at least 18, but with Havland's help, she'll get the help she needs. What Havland gets out of it, she said, is the feeling of having done something for others.
"Madison's mom sends me pictures of her, and Madison calls me her best friend," Havland said. "And it just warms my heart. It's so incredibly rewarding it's almost hard to explain."
Talk It Up TV puts out new shows online every Monday, Havland said. Or at least, they try-Havland is not only the owner of Neighborhood Mortgage and Talk It Up TV, but also of Talk It Up Productions. She's also a wife and mother to a three-year-old boy, Ryker.
We're not the only people who think Havland is Fascinating. In 2009, Havland made top five in the woman of the year category in Evening Magazine's Best of Western Washington. She came in at number two, ahead of Melinda Gates and second only to KOMO 4's Kathi Goertzen.
Being in front of the camera is something Havland said she's wanted to do since she was a little girl.
"I felt that if people were laughing and smiling and I could be the creator of that it always made me feel so good," she said.
After all, making other people happy, Havland said, is what Talk It Up TV, Neighborhood Mortgage and Havland's life in general is all about.
"It's not about me in life, it's about others," Havland said. "I was put on this earth for a reason."
If you haven't checked out Talk It Up TV yet, you may still recognize Havland from around town-she's probably the woman who's exuberantly dancing in the car next to you.
"I car dance everywhere I go," Havland said. "It's so much fun to get people's attention and just have them start laughing."
Havland said she's not picky about her music, she loves it all. Her all-time favorite band, she said, will always be the one her childhood friend has fronted for more than 20 years. Until she was in sixth grade, Havland grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her father, whose best friend's son is Anthony Kiedis, singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Like her famous friend, Havland said she thinks she's managed to deal with her new-found celebrity well. The trick, she said, is knowing how to use it.
"I think with being in the spotlight for [positive things], it gives you so much opportunity to find other favors to connect with other people," Havland said. "But, it also goes to show--and I don't think anyone should ever forget this--that you should always treat people the way you want to be treated."
And don't forget to always "dream in stars."