Focusing on Engagement

A message from WPF President, Ashley Madden

When I started envisioning how 2021 would look for Women’s Professional Forum at the beginning of my term as President, I kept coming back to a theme of “Engage and Retain.”  I wanted WPF to continue to be a haven of inspiration, friendships, and social engagement for our members. So, in the home stretch of 2021, let’s set our intentions individually and collectively on continuing to grow and flourish together.    

One aspect that I really like about WPF is that membership starts organically, with a personal invitation. Think back to who first invited you to WPF.  Now remember why she thought of YOU to be a member.  She saw you as strong, creative, and intelligent with gifts to share and the potential to blossom among other local professional women.  Opportunity for engagement:  Send your sponsor (and/or someone you have sponsored) an email or text to check in and say hello!  Maybe see if they want to meet for lunch or coffee?

The backbone of WPF is our monthly meeting.  We’ll continue with a Zoom format for September.  But, fingers crossed, we may be back in person at Starmount in October.  One good thing about Zoom: you don’t have to drive, heck, you don’t even have to dress up!  Members have joined us from their car and remote locations on Zoom, which is great!  Opportunity for engagement:  Sign up for our September meeting!  Greensboro community leader, muralist, and educator, Darlene McClinton, will speak about Greensboro’s inspiring murals and we’ll share our favorite 2021 SIG events in our Connection Rooms. 

Our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are the heartbeat of WPF. They help us form true, lasting friendships and have FUN through shared experiences.  We’re so excited to have another SIG starting up this month – “Service to Others” – for sisters who want an active role in giving back to our community.  I can’t wait for you to learn more about it!   Opportunity for engagement:  Check out our upcoming events in this newsletter or on our website at Maybe even think of a future event you want to organize and contact the SIG Chair to share your idea.

Last but not least, I would love to hear from you.  My inability to interact one on one with you in person has been the most challenging part of being President of WPF this year. Opportunity for engagement:  Reach out and say hi to your Prez!  Especially if you’re a newer member or perhaps you are struggling to feel engaged this year – send me an email at and say hello.  I’d love to connect with you and hear how we can make the rest of your year at WPF fabulous! 



SEPTEMBER MEETING …September 8, 2021 on ZOOM

Murals, Minds & Communities with Darlene McClinton

As a community leader in Greensboro, Darlene J. McClinton wears several creative hats. She is muralist and international artist, an arts educator at NC A&T State University, and Lead Arts Integration Facilitator for Guilford County Schools, and CEO/co-owner of The Artist Bloc LLC, an arts venue where creative minds meet. Most recently, Darlene joined ArtsGreensboro to expand the  organization’s grants program to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Through advocacy and public art, she develops collaborations and community engagement that fosters research and strategic partnerships between communities and students. Darlene is continually simulating the arts’ economic impact by creating jobs, providing creative spaces and platforms for all artists and disciplines to create and gain revenue from what they love. “I look forward to engaging with talented artists of all backgrounds to identify their needs in ways in which we can continue to make Greensboro the city of arts. I eat, live, and breathe the arts.”

She also serves on various boards and committees that support her community service-oriented values. These include Elsewhere Living Museum, Downtown Greenway Public Arts Committee, Consultant for TAB Arts Center Non-profit, Board member of African American Atelier, and NC A&T Alumni & Friends Visual Art Organization. Darlene J. McClinton future goals include a successful career in public art as well as a lifelong commitment to education and entrepreneurship. As a creative leader, Darlene is committed to the arts community. Join us in welcoming her to WPF to share insights on the transformative power of art as it relates to communities and art activism.

A Message from your Membership Committee

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water……….”  Just like in JAWS 2, we have had to take another pause in our efforts to meet in person for our monthly meetings. 

We have received some inquiries about new members so here is the Board’s position:  For 2021, our focus is on retaining and supporting our existing members.  Our goal is to welcome a new class of members in 2022 and to have potential new members meet the membership in person.  We hope we can still do that with the time available between now and when new nomination packets are due at the end of May 2022.  We are keeping an eye on things and if the number of in-person meetings start to shrink substantially, the Board will re-evaluate our approach.  Stay tuned to the newsletter or if you have any questions, email Sue Schwartz at

HOLIDAY BAZAAR 2021 ~ NOVEMBER 10 ~ 11am – 2pm

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!!

Small Group Dinners

Fall will be upon us soon and it’s time for our annual small group dinners. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gather with friends and make new ones. We’re coordinating with hosts for both in-person and virtual gatherings, and will be emailing sign up details in the next couple weeks.  Be on the lookout for more information in your inbox.

4-Minute Special: Jean Burns Pudlo


This has not consciously been my motto, but it fits. There are so many things I like to do, see, explore!  The only clarity I had in my fourth year of college (UVA had “fourth years” not “Seniors”) was that I expected I would do many different things over my life. That has come true.  Starting with my interdisciplinary major that was mostly Biology, with concentrations in Economics and Psychology, I was already diversified.

But I knew wanted to make a contribution to our world, which led me to work in nonprofits.  I like “systems thinking” which took me to ecology, biochemistry and eventually organizational systems.  And so, I tested the idea as a VISTA for a housing rehabilitation nonprofit and then went to business school for a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management in the early ’80s.  I was the founding Executive Director of Reading Connections and held several different positions in various nonprofit organizations.

My friendships have always been varied – rarely have I had “my group” but finding people who share my various interests, who may only know each other through me.  My hobbies – I was a guitar player for decades both folk and classical.  My art interest these days is marbling and watercolor.  Always very grateful for the support from my WPF sisters who were the first and most loyal customers of my marbled note cards and scarves!

I also love to garden.  In a varied not super-structured way.  I saw a quote recently that gardening is slow painting, so I guess that fits.  And tennis. At least hundreds of matches over the years.

Starting with an introduction through Girl Scouting, I have always been active in the out of doors.  Hiking, backpacking, canoe camping and white-water canoeing, now kayaking.  More camping trips than I could ever count.  Being in the wild places fills my heart and soul in a way nothing else does.  The adventures have continued in 2021 with the addition of “Clifford” – the big red van!  As you read this, perhaps we have started our 10-day New England trip!  Finally, an upgrade from tents.

Given my love for variety perhaps it’s not a surprise that I like consulting with nonprofits.  I enjoy bringing my systems understanding and problem solving to new challenges, helping dozens of agencies plan for the future, raise the funds they need, collaborate with others to meet community needs, and more.  When I started, project work fit best into our family’s needs. My husband Ron’s schedule changed so much I really needed to be there for our three kids.  But then I realized, I really like it.

Perhaps my greatest passion is protecting our beautiful planet. At this stage in my life, my intent is to direct my energies and expertise to find my niche towards that end.  I’ve installed solar at home, helped our faith community install solar, and am now working with others to spread solar further in the community.  Can’t you imagine those new schools powered by solar?

By the way, variety does not carry into my life partner choice. I’ve been married to Ron Pudlo just shy of 38 years. Never a boring moment. Too many interesting things to explore! Variety could be Aleppo pepper, garam masala and oregano. Oh, did I mention I like to try new recipes?


A Note from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President

In a summer that’s unlike other summers, with COVID rising yet again, we hopefully still find some time to reflect and think ahead.

The WPF Foundation is reviewing our grant guidelines to see if we want to refresh them in some way. Our committee will meet later this month to start this process and we will ask for your input at WPF’s Small Group Dinners.  We are grateful to Tara Sandercock (former WPFF board member with a career in foundation work) who has agreed to share her experience and help us reflect on how we want to direct the resources of the WPF Foundation.

I’ve been thinking about the responsibility our Foundation has to shepherd the gifts we receive and the earnings our fund makes. We, of course, have a responsibility to you, our donors, to align with your intentions for the Foundation’s work.  We also have a responsibility to society, as the Foundation, like other nonprofits, is able to earn on our dollars tax free and thus in some way is supported by our society because of the good work we do. So doing the work conscientiously is something every foundation and every non-profit has to consider.

I was excited to see the 60 Minutes segment earlier this summer on the Ford Foundation’s direction under their current director. I encourage you to watch it and consider the responsibilities of every foundation (and each of us as individuals) to be thoughtful about our giving. Here’s the link:

We are not the Ford Foundation!  But we have our own focus and are able to make a difference for women and girls in our community through your generosity, our donors.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback this Fall as we enjoy our Small Group Dinners and consider the future.

SERVICE TO OTHERS … Introducing a new SIG!

We are excited to introduce a new SIG called Service to Others co-chaired by Amy Baradell and Jody Susong. Service to Others will provide a monthly opportunity to volunteer at various nonprofit organizations in the area. We will give of our time, share our skills and  provide needed resources. We welcome recommendations from the membership for service opportunities. The goal is to have one opportunity per month to serve. We can also plan to get dinner before or grab dessert afterwards. We are working on our first service project for October and will have more details to come.  Here’s to being sisters serving others together!

WhINE DIVAS… Passing the Crown

After 12 years of fine wines and spectacular sisterly gatherings, our “Queen” WhINE Diva, Sandy Doyle, will be passing the crown to Dee Blake and Lorri Yaskiewicz!!  Dee and Lorri have started to collaborate on what’s to come and are hopeful to organize a WhINE Divas event in October.  Thank you Sandy for teaching us about Darn Good Vino!!

A Note From Sandy

It has been my pleasure to serve as the chair since Donna Riechmann and I planted those grapevines in 2009 with the idea of learning about varietals, regions, taste and pairings, and exploring the wide world a sip at a time!

Our first tasting was at my home in March 2009 with the focus on a tour of Italian wines; our second was a tasting from South America at Donna’s home. Tastings were based on education and enjoyment and we traveled around the world with snacks and vino. I’m guesstimating that’s 88 tastings since our launch.

A thank you to all the WPF sisters who took on the hosting role, who researched a region or a grape, designed a fun theme for a tasting, or added light snacks (and a few dinner-worthy spreads) to absorb some of that wine. I have lots of photos and notes and great memories of this fun bunch of Divas. Let’s see what’s ahead when we next meet to sniff that evening’s first cork!   ~ Sandy

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Demystifying Long Term Care Insurance
Wednesday, Sept. 1 @ Noon via Zoom

If you’re not already signed up for this SIG and would like to join us, please email Cecelia Anderson at At our next meeting on October 6, WPF’s very own Paula McMillan will present “Financial Planning Nuances of Working with Women.”  Zoom information will be emailed closer to meeting dates. The purpose of the Financial Divas SIG is to provide the opportunity for education and discussion of financial matters.


Call for WPF Volunteers!
Friday, September 10 from 5-8pm @ Lawn Stage
Saturday, September 11 from 5-8pm @ Lawn Stage
Or anytime between Friday 5pm to Sunday 6pm

NC Folk Festival is ON… as it’s outside and many have been vaccinated, you’re invited to connect with each other at the Festival, either as spectators or as volunteers.  WPF member Denny Kelly is very involved in the event. She is asking for our help to keep the NC Folk Festival Free:

WPF members have had a great presence at the NC Folk Festival since it started as the National Folk Festival in 2015.  As volunteers on the Bucket Brigade, the Information Booth, back stage, beverage outlets and hosting artists, we have helped keep the Festival free for our community.  We are thrilled to have the event back in person this year – with all the necessary COVID safety protocols – so that everyone can enjoy a weekend of extraordinary music and fun.

While some of you have already signed up, there is still a need for more volunteers.  In fact, if everyone who wants to signs up for the same job and time slot, we could be working together.   Click here to sign up – job descriptions and available time slots are easy to see.  Pick whatever suits your schedule – but here’s an idea: Let’s all sign up for Saturday beer sales at the Lawn Stage from 5-8pm. If that fills up, go for Friday night at the same time and place. It would really be fun to work together as a WPF group. Thank you for considering this – and for all the ways that WPF makes our community better!


Downsizing & Decluttering Impact on Finances with Katrina Solomon and Irene Apgar
Thur, Sept 16 @ 6pm via Zoom

Certainly a topic we can all learn more about!  Members will be sent a link to attend the meeting. Contact Peggy Ward at with questions.


Pan Asian Voices & Experiences in NC
Tues, Sept 21 @ 6:3opm via Zoom

We’re back from summer break with a presentation from member Christie Soper and her co-producer Tina Firesheets on PAVE NC, an all-volunteer initiative designed to create more awareness and understanding of our local Asian American/Pacific Islander community.  Click here for the Zoom link to this month’s meeting.

Email us questions or ideas: Nicole Hayes, Terri Harris, Rebecca BenGideon.


Lunch at Print Works Bistro
Tuesday, September 21 @ 12:15pm

Happy Back to School for all the Mama’s out there! I know you have been planning and preparing for this moment. We know all our working Mama’s are having a tough transition from summer to school and with the state of the world – this is no easy task. Leaning on each other will be so helpful during this time.  Please RSVP to Marlee Foster- If something should change due to COVID, Marlee will reach out to everyone who RSVP’d.


Earth Wind & Fire Night!
Tuesday, September 21 @ 6pm, Home of Dede Potter

Come join Sippin’ Sisters for an evening of 70s disco and relive the good old days!!!  Wear your favorite outfit from the 70’s and enjoy fondue and time capsule specialty cocktails as we celebrate “Earth, Wind and Fire” night!  Dede Potter and Jody Susong will be our hostesses. $15 cover and 15-member limit.

Please rsvp to Kim Trone ASAP 336 707-2136.  You will receive confirmation if space is available.  AND mark your calendar now for next month’s HALLOWEEN PARTY: Tuesday, October 26 at 6PM at Kim Trone’s house.


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Tuesday, October 5 @ 7pm

Amy Meinecke will host with a discussion led by Paula Wells. The #1 New York Times bestselling author, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. Please RSVP to Amy at 336-848-4198 or


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.   Want to walk as a group? Meet at the Lewis Recreation parking lot entrance to Country Park on Oct. 2nd,  9am to walk the Country Park / Guilford Courthouse loops together in our race t-shirts.  Register for the race then email Ashley Madden at to be included in WPF Team communications leading up to the event.  Here’s the link to register!


Wednesday, September 29 @ 6:30pm
Print Works Bistro

Join host Laura Burton for a fun evening of dining out! Please RSVP at