New Year… new president, new circles and new annual fundraiser
I first want to start by sending you all blessings in the new year… may 2017 be filled with abundance of prosperity in all areas of life and overflowing amounts of joy.
We have lots of exciting news to share as we begin this new year. First, I am THRILLED to announce that Kellye Kimball of Dallas, TX with be our next president and Adrienne Wohn from Austin will be her VP.
Kellye shared of her new role, “My desire to serve has blossomed in recent years. I am looking forward to supporting, growing and strengthening our community.”
Kellye brings her passion for the community and the personal growth work we offer to the role of President. She enjoys meeting the new women joining our community and staying connected to active members. She is an effective, compassionate communicator and will be supportive of board colleagues, international representatives, other regions, and our community. She is looking forward to helping promote the board’s vision and goals. She is acting as in-coming President, shadowing me in all the responsibilities of President. Her term officially begins in April 2017.
Second, I would like to share that we at the board level have been deeply focused on the growing trend towards smaller and smaller Woman Within Weekends in our community. We identified the areas of recruiting and retention as our primary initiatives at the 2016 Board Retreat. We have reached out to women on the international board and to other regions to learn more about this trend and how we might shift it. What we have discovered in our Woman Within community, as in many women’s communities, is that increasingly what women want is less of a one-time, unique, intensive weekend experience and more of an ongoing experience of genuine connection with authentic women. Other regions are having great success with shifting from a weekend first, circle after focus to a circle first, weekend as part of the growth process focus. During this explorative endeavor, we have reminded each other often that our mission here in Circles of Women South Central is to create empowering opportunities for women – it doesn’t say anything about how we do that. Moving forward we will begin to focus on ways we can weave together empowering experiences and circles for ALL women.
We have seen great success with this already. We have completed a circle training in Louisiana and in Mississippi both with a mix of women who had completed the Woman Within Weekend and those who have not. Both have yielded participates for our Weekends and on-going workshops. Supporting the new community of women in Mississippi has led to a circle so large they are contemplating splitting into 2 circles and we will have another 3 women from Mississippi at our February weekend.
And while we at the board level are looking at things like starting a community circle which will meet once a month and is open to any women who would like to sit “in circle” – I would like to challenge you all to take a look at the process you have in place around adding women to your own circles. We have also discovered an alarming trend in our region of circles that are completely closed and have been for years. We have “initiated” women who want to be in an empowerment circle and find, even with the support of our E-Circle coordinator, that there are no circles open to her. We have women who move from other regions who struggle to find a circle. We have heard from women that it “doesn’t feel safe” to add women to their circle. I encourage us to explore if we are so closed to sitting in circle with new women what underlying energy/signal are we sending out in regards to our recruiting efforts.
I invite each of you to consider and discuss with your Empowerment Circle the idea of hosting a “Bring a Friend” night. Introduce women to the strength and grace available to them in this beautiful and empowering community of women. Offer them a night of genuine connection with authentic women. A round of honest check-in without cross talk or advice may be a refreshing break from their existing support group. A process focused on self-exploration and affirmation may be a welcome exercise. Invite them to join us at the February Woman Within Weekend and then walk beside them through the registration process. You can also invite women to join us at our Annual Fundraiser… and that takes me to my final announcement for the new year…
SAVE THE DATE!
JOIN US MARCH 4 th & 5 th FOR
OUR ANNUAL FUNDRAISER.
Our Annual Fundraiser this year will be a Women’s Weekend Retreat at Land of My Grandfathers. Instead of Houston-centric daytime luncheon as our one big annual fundraiser we will offer a fun get away weekend open to all women 18 and older. Our annual fundraiser is our biggest fundraising event of the year and with the financial support of our community members this last year we hosted the Woman Within International Wholeness workshop, the Healing the Wounds of Shame Workshop, the Embracing Your Sexual Self workshop as well as 2 Woman Within Weekends, Woman Within Staff Trainings, Circle Trainings all over Texas as well as Circle Trainings in Louisiana and Mississippi. With your generous gifts we were able to provide scholarships to all the programs we offered, allowing women to participate in the empowering opportunities we created regardless of their financial situation. While we supported 12 women with scholarships to the Woman Within Weekend in 2016 we are entering 2017 with more than 70% of the women applying to the Weekend asking for financial aid.
We are hoping we can count on your continued support this year. Your generous participation will go a long way to helping us to continue empowering women in our region. We hope you will join us, and invite the women in your life to join you, the first weekend in March for our annual fundraiser event – this retreat weekend, open to ALL women, will be full of fun, connection and renewal. Stay tuned for registration information, volunteer opportunities and sponsorship possibilities coming soon. Want to help make it a great success? Join the planning committee – email Angela Millis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are wondering how you can do more to help offer empowering opportunities for women, we have several outlets.
I am feeling hopeful and accomplished moving into 2017. As I move towards the conclusion of my term as president I am excited about our new Empowerment Circle shift, our February Woman Within Weekend and our Annual Community Fundraiser in March – I hope to see you there!
Yours in Service,