Transitioning to our New Normal

A message from WPF President, Ashley Madden

Summer salutations to all my wonderful WPF Sisters!  It is so hard to believe we are already in July.  I’ve been savoring the small wonders and pleasures of summer – enjoying the hydrangeas in my garden, sipping iced tea (okay, maybe sometimes wine . . .) while I read on my sun porch, lazy weekends floating in the pool with friends and connecting with my family on vacation.  July is also when we celebrate our independence as a country.  I think for most of us, the gratitude we feel for independence and freedom is stronger than ever as we continue to emerge from over a year of unprecedented challenges and social isolation. 

An image I have had in my head recently is that of a butterfly who is slowly emerging from its cocoon.  As we emerge from our cocoons and continue to form our own unique “new normal”, I encourage you to think of pivoting with intention.  What did you really miss doing when it was taken from you?  What drained your energy previously that you want to shift away from?  What professional and personal skills are you developing to help you succeed moving forward?  Perhaps you want to find ways to organize your workdays to be more time efficient, freeing up more time for you to connect with your family, friends, community and perhaps, most important, yourself?  Maybe you want to work on developing a new skill, like we talked about in our June Connection Rooms?  How do you take this time of transition and make it meaningful and productive for your future? 

I am happy to officially announce that July is our last scheduled monthly meeting solely by Zoom!  We have information provided elsewhere in the monthly newsletter (and in future email announcements) regarding the hybrid (in person at Starmount with a Zoom option) meeting format that we will start in August.  But, in the meantime, we are ending the official WPF Meeting Zoom era with a bang, featuring a presentation at the July meeting by Margalit Murray, Supervisory Special Agent for the Foreign Service and Diplomatic Services through the US State Department.  This is sure to be an enlightening and informative presentation and I hope you can join us for the July meeting via Zoom.

So, in conclusion, I wish all of you a Happy July 4th and encourage you to carve out time for your own version of lazy summer fun.   Shorter days and falling leaves will be here before we know it.  May Freedom continue to ring not only for this wonderful country we are all blessed to call home, but also in our hearts and our souls.  May we strive to see our own personal challenges throughout Covid as well as those on a larger societal level as inspiration to review our priorities, simplify our days, redefine our own personal definition of success, and experience more profound joy. 

Warmly, Ashley

JULY MEETING …July 14, 2021 on ZOOM

Margalit Murray


Margalit grew up in Hilo, Hawaii and the Northern Virginia area. She is a graduate of Boston University (B.A. in Political Science and International Relations) and the George Washington University (M.A. International Law and Security). Margalit received the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to conduct independent research on how women’s roles were influenced by social and political organizations in Kuwait in 2001, arriving there the day before 9/11.

In 2004, Margalit joined the State Department and has served overseas at U.S. embassies in Beirut, Kabul, Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires. Domestically, Margalit served in the Diplomatic Services Washington Field Office and in their Headquarters where she managed federal investigations into human trafficking, visa and passport fraud, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and identify fraud.

Most recently, Margalit served as a legislative affairs liaison representing the Department of State’s policies and priorities to Congress. She has extensive experience working across the inter-agency as well as with foreign partners on U.S. foreign policy goals and programs. She recently completed a Visiting Fellowship (2020-2021) in the Counterterrorism and Public Policy Program at the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University. Her research at Duke focused on whether the State Department takes enough risk in the conduct of diplomacy to achieve its strategic goals.

Margalit’s next posting will be to serve as the Senior Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay.

4-Minute Special: Paula Wells, TYPE SEVEN

If you know anything about the Enneagram, right beside the number “7” is my picture.  Type Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, spontaneous (impulsive might be a better word), playful, high-spirited, and practical.  Sevens are constantly seeking new and exciting experiences – BUT, if focused, and not too distracted, they can accomplish a great deal.

Let me explain.

7 states I’ve lived in.  11 houses owned. 27 residences. 4 college degrees. 2 certificates (working on a third and a fourth). 2 children/2 step-children = 4 great kids. 2 husbands (one at a time).  3 tattoos.  0 broken bones.  4 jobs (at the same time). 3 businesses I’ve owned (sold one and might buy another). 3 law licenses (NC, MD, MA).  11 countries and 4 continents visited. 5 professional or civic organization memberships right now. 993 friends on Facebook (really?).  60 years old.  Still working on that 1 book.  God only knows how many bottles of wine.

Someone posted on Facebook today that “It’s okay not to be busy.”  I guess I should look into that.

Right now, I’m very happy being a business owner (Mobility Plus: We sell scooters, wheelchairs, ramps, lifts, and all kinds of things to help people move, age in place, and be safe), a business lawyer, a co-pastor (Second Reformed UCC in Lexington, with my husband), and a part-time adjunct professor for the UNCG graduate accountancy program.

I’m sure you are wondering what hole I’m trying to fill – and I’ve wondered that myself.  But I’m pretty content.  My own spiritual director says I’m the healthiest Type 7 he’s ever known.  Can I do everything well?  Surely not, right?  Jack of all trades and master of none?  Maybe.  But I don’t try to do everything full time.  Maybe I was born for the “gig” economy.

What I’ve learned to do is laugh – at myself, mostly.  I try to take joy in life – to entertain people in our home (featuring my husband’s fantastic cuisine), to find time to travel (the pandemic was torture for me) and to enjoy all the kids, especially now that they’ve grown up and moved away.

My life is lived in jubilant waves of energy, and I sleep well at night.  I adore helping people and being safe space for them. I revel in learning (one of my tattoos is “Ancora Imparo” – which means “I am still learning”).  I play hard, work hard, love hard.

If you know me, you know most of this.  If you don’t, I’d love to know YOU.  Your story will be very interesting to me.  All stories are.  I hope you’ve enjoyed mine.

Save the Date!

Summer/Fall Social!! October 7, 2021 at Susan McDonald’s


Women’s Professional Forum is comprised of professional women who reside or work in Guilford County, North Carolina. WPF members are experienced upper-level management executives, licensed or degreed professionals, business owners, and elected or appointed public officials. Membership is by invitation only. Prospective members interested in joining must be sponsored by three current WPF members.

WPF accepts one class of new members at one time each calendar year. To ensure that the purposes and benefits of WPF membership, and the collegial nature of the organization, continue ongoing, WPF limits its total number of Active members.  Only Active Members and Active Retired members may serve as primary sponsors of applicants and may sponsor or co-sponsor up to two new members in a calendar year. Emeritus members may co-sponsor, i.e., serve as a secondary sponsor to, up to two new members in a calendar year. Supporting members may not serve as a primary or secondary sponsor. A new member may not sponsor an applicant, in either a primary or secondary role, until after she has been an Active member for 24 months. For more information on membership, contact Sue Schwartz, Membership Committee Chair.

WPF FOUNDATION NEWS: A Note from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President

The WPF Foundation received this note from a 2021 Grantee – Communities in Schools of Greater Greensboro, referring to their funded program with Smith and Dudley students:

Dear Erica,

It may seem small to some, but to our kids, the WPF grant could pave the way for some life-altering changes in their lives and their futures. Our site coordinators are ecstatic about the opportunity for 30 of our young ladies to work in a small group with Dr. Cooke- Davis and to learn more about Trauma Informed Care (TIC).

The opportunity to attend your lunch meeting brought a deep smile. So many of the WPF women are current and past supporters of our work. And, it was nice to see others who are friends and colleagues.

We look forward to initiating the actual project in October 2021(Hopefully live but virtually if we must.) and to attending your May 2022 meeting with a robust report!

Until the next time, may peace and health be with you and yours.


Jimmi Williams



A big thank you to all WPF members who supported the Foundations work of empowering women and girls through our grants program. So far this year, members have donated $16,048 – nearly half of our goal to raise $38,000 to support our grants and efforts next year. More than half of you have made your highest gifts to date – THANK YOU!

Haven’t donated yet? It’s not too late. Visit to make your gift today and help us empowering women and girls for years to come.

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


July Celebrations

Devoted to Diversity will not meet the month of July, but there’s still reason to celebrate!

~ July 4th – our country celebrates its many freedoms this Independence Day

~  July 26th – we acknowledge and celebrate our different abilities, creativity, and resilience this Disabilities Independence Day

~  And on July 30th, reach out to a sister you haven’t connected with in a while and remind her she’s the reason you’re celebrating International Day of Friendship!


Demystifying Long Term Care Insurance … Meeting date & time coming to your inbox!

Long term care insurance is something many prefer not to think about but it should not be ignored. Join us to learn what it is, what it covers, and whether or not long term care insurance is something you should consider.

Please be on the lookout for meeting time and date information. If you’re not already signed up for this SIG and would like to join us, please email Cecelia Anderson at The purpose of the Financial Divas SIG is to provide the opportunity for education and discussion of financial matters.


Christmas in July!
Tuesday, July 20 @ 6pm at Erica Parker’s Home

Baby it’s hot outside!  But we’ve found a way to cool off.  It’s Christmas is July for Sippin Sisters and we’re celebrating with a second Yuletide party.  Join hostesses Erica Parker and Janice Lanier and enjoy the holidays a second time – what could be better?!! $15 cover.  Festive food and fun cocktails.  Please RSVP as soon as possible to Kim Trone,, 336 707-2136


School Transitions on Tuesday, July 20 @ 4:00pm at Printworks Bistro

We will be alternating between afternoon and lunch meetings going forward. Our topic for this meeting is school transitions, moving grades and changing schools. If you are a mom who has recently experienced this, please let me know and we would like to have you share your tips and tricks.  RSVP to Marlee Foster at or text at 336-235-1596.


Kiosko Mexican Grill @ 3011 Spring Street on Wednesday, July 28 @ 6:30pm

Amy Baradell will be our host.  If the weather is tolerable, we will eat out on the patio. RSVP to Amy Meinecke at


Eastern Music Festival on Thursday, July 29 @ 8pm
Dana Auditorium, Guilford College

The July event for Books and Arts will be appreciating the benefits of having EMF in our community and the ability to attend in-person concerts once again.  Historically, one of the most enjoyable concerts of the season is the performance by the students who have won the concerto competition.  That concert will be on Thursday, July 29th at Dana Auditorium at 8 pm.  The plan will be to go out to dinner before the concert, probably around 6…destination to be determined.  Tickets are $10.  If you’re interested in participating in this event, contact Kris Landrum at     


Murder in Old Bombay on Tuesday, August 3 @ 7pm
Ashley Madden’s Home

Joan Dressler leads us in discussion of Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March, the story of Army Captain Jim Agnihotri. While recovering from his battle injuries in a military hospital, he comes across a mysterious case. Two women have fallen to their death from the city’s university clock tower, with the only suspect walking free. RSVP to Ashley at 336-314-9857 or


Business Meeting on Thursday, August 26 @ 6pm via Zoom

No July meeting. Our third quarter business meeting will be on Thursday, August 26, at 6:00 p.m. on Zoom.  This will be a regular business meeting where we will review the companies in our portfolio.  Please mark your calendars now. For any information, please feel free to contact Peggy Ward by text at 336-337-5286 or  Everyone have a terrific summer!!