Special Interest Groups (SIGS)

A message from WPF President, Amy Baradell

Happy Spring WPF sisters. It is an exciting time! WPF is an amazing organization that brings women together and encourages them in their professional pursuits. It also provides opportunities to learn and grow in other areas. This is seen in our special interest groups, or SIGS. Currently we have twelve active SIGS that are based on twelve different interests. This month I would like to take a look at each SIG, with the hope to spark maybe a new interest or rekindle an old interest you may have.

• Anything Goes has the broadest interes. They plan the “Wild Women in the Mountains,” trip that usually takes place in March as well as other events during the year as ideas arise.

Books and Arts organizes events all year including concerts and art exhibitions. I was able to attend the organizational meeting in February for this group. I was amazed at the planning and knowledge for the many events around Greensboro and the area.

Book Club is a sub-group of Books and Arts. Six books are chosen for the year. One is discussed every other month. The books are on a variety of topics and the discussions are very insightful.

Devoted to Diversity was formed to provide information and understanding of inclusion and diversity enabling WPF to be a start for change in our workplaces and our city. They are looking for additional leadership.

Dining Out brings WPF sisters together for dinner at local restaurants once per month. It’ a great way to try a new restaurant and be with your WPF sisters.

• Financial Divas aims to provide education about personal finances, including taxes, investments, and insurance options. They meet on zoom about once a month and are looking for additional leadership.

Health and Fitness organizes events throughout the year, including the WPF Team for the Women’s Only 5k.

• Service to Others, our newest SIG, provides an opportunity once per month for WPF sisters to sign up and serve at a different non-profit organization. So far, they’ve volunteered at The Family Room, Backpack Beginnings and Cone Health MedCenter for Women.

• Sippin’ Sisters meets monthly for themed gatherings at homes and restaurants that include various libations with well-paired culinary delights.

Whine Divas began to educate WPF sisters about the various aspects of wine. Two new chairs are working hard to sustain the original intent of this group.

Women of Wall Street provides investment and educational opportunities where members learn hands on about investing by managing their collective shares. The group also hosts an annual trip to New York City.

Working Moms meet monthly to support each other, share ideas, and discuss a variety of topics.

These groups provide so many opportunities for you to learn about new topics, participate in events around the City, and to be together. We are so grateful for our group Chairs that plan and organize events.  Our monthly luncheons are very important for our group, but these smaller groups are where deeper friendships and connections can happen.

I encourage you to look at our SIGS and attend a new one this month. And, if you have an idea for a new group, we encourage you to jump in and get it going. Tamieka Howell, our second vice president for 2022, is our SIG coordinator. If you have an idea for a new SIG just let her know. If you are interested in being a chair or co-chair for Devoted to Diversity or Financial Divas, please let her know that as well.

April Meeting – Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Welcome Eileen Collins & Jonathan Ward

Eileen Collins is a retired Air Force colonel and NASA astronaut, earning a place in history as the first woman to pilot, and later, command a U.S. space shuttle. Collins’s love of airplanes and flying began as a child. She graduated with a BA in math and economics from Syracuse University, and then became one of the first four women admitted to Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base.  She became the first female flight instructor, participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada, taught at the US Air Force Academy, and graduated from the US Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. She also earned an MS from Stanford and an MA in space systems management.

Selected as an astronaut in 1990, Collins became the first woman pilot of a U.S. space shuttle in 1995, serving on the orbiter Discovery for a rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir. Collins became the first woman to command an American space mission in July 1999, taking shuttle Columbia into Earth orbit to deploy the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Two years after Columbia was destroyed and the shuttle fleet grounded in 2003, Collins commanded NASA’s critical return-to-flight mission, flying Discovery to resupply the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to docking, Collins guided the spacecraft through a full 360° pitch (nose-over-tail) maneuver—the first person to do so with an orbiter—which allowed ISS crew members to photograph the spacecraft’s belly for possible damage.

Collins retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2005 and from NASA in 2006. Since then she has served on the boards of USAA and many not-for-profit organizations, and on the White House’s National Space Council.

Greensboro resident Jonathan H. Ward is the author of space history books, speaker on space-related and leadership topics, an avid astrophotographer, and an executive coach at the Center for Creative Leadership. While he would not call himself a “thrill-seeker,” Jonathan does like to explore, re-invent himself, and push himself out of his comfort zone to broaden his personal knowledge in his areas of interest. This has led to such diverse experiences as taking a zero-G flight, skydiving, performing as a baritone soloist on stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, playing banjo in a bluegrass band, riding a camel, and running in half-marathons. His latest adventure is as a cruise ship lecturer, serving as a Resident Astronomer for Viking Ocean Cruises. Jonathan is president of the Greensboro Astronomy Club and Hamilton Lakes and Parks, Inc. He was named Greensboro’s “Muse of Astronomy” by O.Henry Magazine in June 2021.

Jonathan has written several books about NASA including “Rocket Ranch”, “Bringing Columbia Home” and most recently, “Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars”. Jonathan was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2018. He also holds accreditation as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by the International Coach Federation.

If you are interested in an autographed hard cover book about the program, please contact Ronnie Grabon at rsgrabon@gmail.com



Small Group Dinners Coming Soon! Announcement from Directors at Large Christie Soper & Lorri Yaskiewicz

This year we are organizing two rounds of Small Group Dinners, once in the spring and again in the fall. The spring dinners will span May through early June and fall dinners in the October/November timeframe. Those who wish to attend a spring dinner will pick a date and register via Sign-Up Genius soon in April.

We plan for the spring dinners to be more informal and social in nature, e.g. no formal questions for discussion. The fall dinners will be more traditional with formalized questions and discussion facilitated by a WPF Board member. Now you’ll have two opportunities to socialize and engage over dinner this year!


WPF Engagement Survey: We want to hear from YOU

As a result of your feedback last year, the WPF Board is exploring methods to improve connection and engagement among WPF members. Your suggestions to improve communication, foster relationships, and create opportunities for more social and spontaneous engagement are our priorities.  We would like to gather input from you on two proposed action items and ensure there is collective interest before we move forward:

A) WPF Member Profile Expansion –

Currently on the WPF website (wpforum.org), you can search a basic amount of information about your fellow members like name, title, and business name. We propose to expand member profiles and include more personal information that can serve as building blocks for establishing rapport and connection, such as your hobbies, travel experiences, pets, favorite local businesses and activities, books, SIG membership, etc.

B) Private Communication Platform –

Within our organization, we rely on email mostly as a means of outreach to other members when a communication need arises. We are proposing that we explore a communication platform that would be open to WPF members only, where we all can connect with each other in a direct and spontaneous manner. This may be a discussion forum, a private messaging tool, or some combination of both.

When you receive the email containing a survey link, please provide your feedback about engagement in WPF. Your responses will help increase awareness and retention as well as strengthen the bonds in the WPF member community.

Contact Lorri Yaskiewicz or Christie Soper with any questions about Small Group Dinners or Engagement.Thanks!



Spring is here and we are getting ready for the new class of WPF members!

Membership applications are due June 1st.

Be sure that your prospective new members have attended a WPF luncheon meeting with each of her sponsors, a total of three meetings, within the twelve months prior to the application.

We have updated our Membership Application Form which can be found on the website along with the Sponsor Form.


Contact JodySusong at jsusong@triad.rr.com



June Program

Robin Davis, founder and owner of Maxie B’s Bakery, will be speaking to us about Homegrown National Park – a garden revolution to incorporate native plants into your lawn. She is an active member of the Native Plant Society and has developed a Certified Wildlife Plant Habitat right outside her store. In celebration of this idea, the Kathleen Clay Edwards Branch of the Greensboro Library is offering seed packets in April – get yours!

August Program: Calling all WPF writers!

We are putting together an interactive program for August and would like to use WPF published authors as table facilitators. Whether you published a novel, memoir, non-fiction or children’s book, please contact rsgrabon@gmail.com  We promise to make it fun. Thanks so much.


A Message from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President Jean Pudlo

As I write this, the WPF Foundation board is considering five grantees for the 2022 grants.  We look forward to presenting these awards and introducing the grantees at the May WPF meeting.  I thought you might want to hear from some of last year’s grantees and what they have done thanks to your support:

Imagine that you are new to a country, don’t speak much of the language and have never used a computer. How do you manage to help your children navigate remote learning?  How do you do access remote healthcare? UMOJA. Umoja is a Swahili word that means Unity or togetherness and the group has 35 members.  The Center for New North Carolinians, with WPFF’s support, provided each member a tablet and workshops focusing on communication, language, education system and leadership skills. The ladies are able to attend parents/teachers’ conferences and telehealth services. They are more independent to navigate the new way of service provision.

The members are all mothers and were expected to help their kids navigate remote learning and connect with medical providers remotely during COVID. This technology-based way of connecting with teachers and service providers was not only culturally new to them; they were also not equipped with the language and technical skills needed to navigate these tools and systems. Thank you, Women’s Professional Forum Foundation, for the grant you provided for the Congolese women support group.

Last year one of our larger grants went to Communities in Schools of Greensboro for their program for high school girls who had experienced trauma in their childhood, and helping them deal with that and look forward in their lives. The program is not over, but here is an update from Jimmi Williams, Executive Director: “The group of 7-13 girls at Dudley have met for seventeen sessions and covered topics around cognitive based strategies such as deep breathing, grounding, and guided imagery — all supportive strategies towards decreasing the impact of trauma and anxiety.  Participants have shared anecdotally the benefits of a safe space to address trauma among peer supports.  In a number of ways, this group has morphed into a weekly support group and a source of trusted peers.  We administered the ACE inventory (Adverse Childhood Experiences) so participants have a knowledge and self-awareness of the impact of their trauma. They also completed a pre assessment tool to determine a baseline for coping strategies for handling stress and anxiety.  We had hoped also to have a group at Smith, but was unable to begin due to the unexpected resignation of the CIS site coordinator and the District’s inability to hire. We will conduct the Smith part in the fall, and will more than likely continue the group at Dudley next year at our own expense. Thank you and the WPF so very much!”

The Nussbaum Center is helping women entrepreneurs. Here’s one example from Lisa Hazlett:  “Shafna Shamsudden owns Elaka Treats. We used part of the money to pay for a food production consultant to work with Shafna regarding some pasteurization issues. She makes specialty ice cream. https://www.elakatreats.com She’s working to get her ice cream into retail stores. She attended the Flavors of Carolina food conference in Concord last week. Deep Roots is interested in her ice cream as are a number of other large specialty retailers. Shafna’s challenge is production. With no kitchen space in GSO, Shafna makes her ice cream in Hillsboro and then transports it to the Nussbaum Center where she stores it and does distribution. In order to sell to retail, she’ll need to upgrade her packaging to meet retail requirements which will require an investment of cash.”

Thank you to the many donors who have made these grants possible.

Look for the Foundation to share more stories at the May membership meeting, May 11, 2022!

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Tuesday, April 5 @ 7:00 pm – Pat Price’s Home

Dr. Jen Thomas will lead us in discussion of Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century by Jessica Bruder.  A New York Times Bestseller and award- winning movie. “From the North Dakota beet fields to California’s National Forest campgrounds to Amazon’s Texas CamperForce program, employers have discovered a new low-cost labor pool: transient older Americans. With Social security coming up short, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands, forming a growing community of migrant laborers dubbed “workampers.”  Reserve your spot, email patprice4639@gmail.com


Wednesday, April 6 @ 12 pm via Zoom

WPF’s very own Nancy Radtke will be our speaker. Join us for her presentation, “Building Wealth and Real Estate.” Topics will include real estate market trends and a discussion of real estate investment strategies. Please RSVP to Cecelia Anderson (canderson@investdavenport.com) and she’ll send you the Zoom info.

Financial Divas meet to discuss all things financial with a different topic/speaker each meeting. Join us to expand your fiscal knowledge and to discuss your money and invested related questions. All are welcome and we are always looking for speakers. Please contact Cecelia Anderson (canderson@investdavenport.com) if you’re not already on the email list or if you are interested in being a speaker.


Tuesday, April 19 @ 12:00 pm – Undercurrent – 327 Battleground Ave.

Join the Working Moms for lunch as we gather to support each other.  Please RSVP to Marlee at marleegfoster@gmail.com or 336-235-1596.


Tuesday, April 19, 6:00 pm @ Dee Blake’s house

Hello Sippin sisters!!! For our April gathering-It’s time for margaritas at Dee Blakes home again!  RSVP to Kim Trone at Kimberlyt0011@gmail.com or Dee Blake at uhmanoa1@gmail.com.  Cost is $25 paid by check or Venmo to Dee.  Please contact her directly to get information: uhmanoa1@gmail.com


Thursday, April 21 @ 7:30 pm – Location TBD

For April’s topic meeting we’ll be discussing “Navigating Long Term Care.”  The place will be announced later by email and at the WPF luncheon in April.  The meeting will cover the basics of long-term care as well as the way to navigate the process of relocating if it is required when one starts the benefits of long term care.  It will be an interesting and informative meeting.  Please contact Katrina Solomon at katrinak.solomon@gmail.com. if you plan to attend.  The meeting will have some openings for members of WPF in addition to the Investment Club.

The trip to NYC will be May 13-15th and should be lots of fun!  Please contact Peggy Ward at peggy.ward8@icloud.com if you would like to go.  All members of WPF are welcome as well.


Saturday, April 23 9:00 am- 12:00 pm at the Healing Gardens

Join us in the Healing Gardens on the Wesley Long Hospital campus.  The gardens provide peace and respite for cancer patients and their families as well as hospital staff and visitors.  The Healing Gardens were a gift from the community to the Cancer Center with our own Mary Magrinat and Sally Pagliai being instrumental in making the healing gardens come to life.

Close toed shoes and long pants are recommended and you should come prepared to get a little dirty.  Mary reports there is lots to do and our help is appreciated!    

Lunch afterwards to better get to know our WPF sisters. RSVP to Jody Susong at jsusong@triad.rr.com.


Tuesday, April 26 @ 6:30 pm at Amy Meinecke’s home

Join Whine Divas to celebrate Celebrity Wines! Amy Meinecke has graciously offered to host at her home. Please pay $25 in advance by Venmo or check to Amy.  RSVP to Lorri Yaskiewicz at Lorriyaskiewicz@gmail.com.


Wednesday, April 27 @ 6:30 pm at Osteria, 1310 Westover Terrace

This month’s gathering will be hosted by Lorri Yaskiewicz. RSVP to Amy Meinecke at diningout@wpforum.org.

BOOKS & ARTS Save the Date!

Greensboro Bound Literary Festival – May 19-22, 2022

Contact Nancy Radtke at  nancy.radtke@allentate.com or Micheline Chalhoub-Deville at mbchalho@uncg.edu and 336-338-9800 for more information.