Not Where We Want to Be

A message from WPF President, Ashley Madden

Greetings to all of my WPF Sisters!  I’m writing you here at the end of July in a last-minute revision of my President’s Message.  Two weeks ago, I wrote the article I have been waiting to write all year.  You know, the one where I tell you how excited I am to finally be back in person at Starmount for our monthly lunch meetings.  But that is not the article you are reading from me now.  The one you are reading now is the one where I am telling you how sad I am, how absolutely frustrated I am, that I decided yesterday, with full support from the WPF Board of Directors, that we are not ready to safely gather in person at this time.  The Board will continue to monitor all factors carefully to determine future meeting format beyond August. 

As I watched the Covid daily case count dramatically increase over the past two weeks, I have been increasingly more concerned.  The new case count for NC was 540 on July 13th.  On July 29th, it was over 3,000.  Hospitalizations for our state have doubled from 500 to over 1,000 in the same time period.  This week, Pfizer released an update that the vaccine loses effectiveness by about 6% every two months after administration, slipping to around 84% after six months.  So, even for our vaccinated members, with cases rising dramatically in our community, the risks are just too high for us to hold an indoor lunch meeting at this time.


I begrudgingly pulled my masks out of the closet this morning and put them back in my car for indoor situations, even though I have been vaccinated for months.  I am grateful for the protection the vaccine provides me, even if it is declining over time.  If and when we have booster vaccines, I will gladly get the shot when it’s made available to me.  We have to accept the reality that Covid is part of the fabric of our lives for the foreseeable future, changing how we navigate the world.  I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom.  I’m a “glass half full” and “turn lemons into lemonade” kind of girl, y’all!  But I also believe in science and being pragmatic and taking the initiative to pivot when necessary.  As Glennon Doyle says, “we can do hard things”.   

So, I look forward to seeing you all at the August meeting on Zoom.  Suzanne Elise Walsh, President of Bennett College will be our featured speaker this month.  She has an amazing background which you can read more about below.  I’m also excited for the four-minute special from our own Tameika Howell.  Whether you know Tameika or not, you are in for a treat!!  And of course, we will have a fun and thoughtful Connection Room question to kick off the Zoom meeting. 

Wishing you strength, positivity, and resilience,


AUGUST MEETING … August 11, 2021 on ZOOM

Suzanne Elise Walsh, President of Bennett College

Sign in at 12:10 ~ Connection Rooms Open at 12:15 ~ Meeting Begins at 12:30

Suzanne Elise Walsh became the nineteenth president of Bennett College on August 1, 2019. She was most recently deputy director of postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading and developing a team and a portfolio of over $70 million in postsecondary investments in institutional transformation in the United States. She previously served in leadership roles with the Lumina Foundation for Education and The Heinz Endowments.

Ms. Walsh has received national recognition for her portfolio of work with organizations at the intersection of innovation, technology and learning. Education leaders with whom she has consulted praise her ability to create and work with cross-functional teams as a key driver in affecting flexible, personalized and affordable approaches to higher education, and other leaders have expressed their appreciation for her work on several viability and sustainability initiatives at HBCUs, analyzing complex situations, developing innovative action plans to address challenges and motivating teams.

Ms. Walsh earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornell University, as well as a master’s degree in social work and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University. She is a member of the Ohio bar.

Membership Update from Sue Schwartz

Hello Sisters! I have been getting lots of questions about when the timeline to open up applications for new members. The Board had previously decided 2021 would be the year of self-care and maintaining since we weren’t meeting in person for a while. However, now that we have a schedule to get back to in person meetings, it’s time to talk NEW MEMBERS.

As per our Policies and Procedures, the next deadline for applications will be June 1st, 2022. Potential new members need three sponsored WPF meetings (coming as the guest of an Active, Active Retired or Emeritus member). The Board has given us the guidance that these need to be in-person meetings. So, for now, feel free to invite guests to Zoom but these are not “official” sponsored guest meetings.  As a reminder, our December business meeting is not open to Guests. Here is the link to the by-laws, forms and policies.  .  Please look it over soon if you have someone in mind to refresh your memory on what is involved.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

We are so excited to host the Holiday Bazaar this year, scheduled for November 10th. This year’s bazaar will feature our traditional raffle. As always, the raffle will include items donated by our vendors and we are also happy to accept raffle items from membership. The fun will continue with our live auction! We are hoping to secure a few big-ticket items this year, such as a rental home for a weekend or a nice piece of furniture. If you would like to donate an item for the auction, or if you know of a business that may be willing to donate an item, please contact Amy Baradell ( All Bazaar proceeds go to the WPF Foundation.  Thank you!!


A note from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President

The summer is a quieter time for the Foundation, but that doesn’t mean our grantees are quiet!

Dr. Diya Abdo shared this to the UNCG community: “Dr. Diya Abdo (Center for New North Carolinians) received new funding from the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation for the project “WOMEN: Women’s Opportunities for Mentorship and Empowerment Network.”

The WOMEN Initiative will build on the foundation of support, collaboration, and resilience of the Umoja Women Group (UWG) by offering technology tools, tutorials, and leadership development training to UWG members as well as other refugee women served by the CNNC Community Centers (which operate at three housing complexes with large refugee and immigrant populations). This project will provide UWG’s 35 members each with a tablet and provide monthly workshops to UWG members and others for a period of one year with a focus on communication and English language skills, technological and digital literacy, navigation of health and education systems, and leadership skills.”

This program empowers women new to our country to better provide for themselves and their family, and be more involved community members.

This fall, the Foundation will be reviewing our grant priorities and process.  We’ll seek your input from the small group dinners, but feel free to email me if you have some ideas!

(Thanks Anne Smith for sharing this news.)

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Murder in Old Bombay
Tues, August 3 @ 7pm – Meeting is Full

Joan Dressler leads us in discussion of Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March, the story of Army Captain Jim Agnihotri. If you want to start reading for our October book club meeting, the book is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.  The date is October 5th and the hostess is Amy Meinecke.


Lauralyn Dossett at Big Purple
Friday, August 6 @ 6pm – 812 Olive Street, Greensboro

Sue Hunt and Jim Halsch have graciously invited us to attend this Big Purple concert with local favorite Lauralyn Dossett.  This should be a great event!  It’s been too long! The concert will start around 7 pm, but if you’d like to visit with your WPF friends, plan to gather at Big Purple at 6.  BYOB, a lawn chair, and snacks to share.  Requested donation to Lauralyn is $20.  In the event of rain, the performance will be cancelled.


Back-to-School Prep
Tuesday, August 24 @ 11:45am
Pho Hien Vuong … 4109 Spring Garden St., Greensboro

Join us for lunch as we talk about how back to school prep is going.  RSVP to Marlee Foster at or text at 336-235-1596.


Chop House Grill @ 4001 Meeting Way, High Point
Wednesday, August 25 @ 6:30pm

Amy Meinecke is hosting this month.  Please RSVP to her at


Business Meeting
Thur, August 26 @ 6pm via Zoom

The WOW Investment Club will have a quarterly Business Meeting when we will review the companies in our portfolio.  Please feel free to share any information you have gathered on our companies.  Members will be sent a notice and link for the meeting.  Please mark your calendar now to attend.  See you August 26th!

Also, please go ahead and mark your calendar for our September 16th Topic Meeting: Downsizing & Decluttering/Impact on Finances. Contact Peggy Ward at with questions.


Demystifying Long Term Care Insurance
Wednesday, Sept. 1 @12:00 PM via Zoom

Financial Divas has two upcoming Zoom meetings on the calendar: Demystifying Long Term Care Insurance next month with Lizzie Pollard of Davenport and Company and WPF’s very own Paula McMillan’s presentation, “Financial Planning Nuances of Working with Women” on October 6th at Noon.  Zoom information will be emailed closer to meeting dates.

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.


Women’s Only 5K on Saturday, October 2

We are forming our WPF Team for the annual Women’s Only 5K.  The race will be virtual again this year.  You can sign up for the Women’s Professional Forum Team through the link below.  For anyone wanting to walk as a group, we will meet at the Lewis Recreation parking lot entrance to Country Park on October 2nd at 9am to walk the Country Park / Guilford Courthouse loops together in our race t-shirts, as we did last year.  In addition to signing up on the race website, please email Ashley Madden at to be included in WPF Team communications leading up to the event.  Link for the Women’s Only 5K –