Is this Life-Giving?

A message from WPF President, Amy Baradell

As I am working on this article, the year is coming to an end very quickly, and one of my dearest friends, Astrid, is in the hospital recovering from brain surgery.  She has known her need for this surgery to repair two aneurysms since the middle of August. I have witnessed her many emotions faith in God. She was told of the urgency of having the surgery and then waited several weeks for it to be scheduled. It was suddenly scheduled, then canceled and put out 6 more weeks. As we were setting up for the Holiday Bazaar, she received a call informing her that the surgery could be scheduled in two days. Her surgery was on November 11th in Raleigh.  It has been a rollercoaster! As she processed through it I saw her come to a decision. She would do those things that mattered, that were life-giving. She declared if someone called and wanted to meet for coffee, she would go.  She was all in for life!

I enjoy a podcast called, “The Next Right Thing.” Emily P. Freeman is the host. She uses lists to reflect regularly on her life. One she calls “A Life Energy List.”  She believes it is helpful to reflect back on the week, the months, the year and consider what was life-draining and what was life-giving. It seems simple, but it takes time and a hard, truthful look at our choices.

 Why would we ever continue something that isn’t life giving?  Why would I continue in a job that drains me? Why would I keep saying yes to more things than I can possibly do, ending each day exhausted?  Why would I stay in a boundaryless relationship, seeing my efforts used and abused?  The main reason is that change is just hard. How do we do it?

Slow down and look over the past month. Make a list of things that were life-draining. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes we think, this “should” be life giving, but in reality, it isn’t.  Did this activity give life in a season that has now passed? How do you let it go?  Is there something that is life-giving to others, but not to you?  Can you allow yourself to say no? You will not be able to opt out of every life-draining thing, but there certainly are some you can eliminate. 

Now, think back on the things that were life-giving. Some of them may surprise you. They can be very simple, like sitting on your porch on a quiet fall evening.  They can be hard, like having an uncomfortable conversation.  They can be repeated as you create a rhythm for your days.  They can change with the seasons of your life. Making a list may help you fill your days with things that give you life and let go of things that don’t. 

Here’s a list of some of the things that are life-giving to me:

• Daily space to be with God, reflect, and be still.

• Being with children.

• Running.

• Music.

• Remembering with thankfulness.

• Mercy, receiving it and giving it.

• Smiling.

• Celebrating everyday things.

• Meaningful relationships.

Many of these meaningful relationships are in WPF. They are meaningful because we are, as my husband likes to say, “Doing life together.”  

As 2022 is coming to an end, I want to thank you all for the support and encouragement I have received as WPF President.  I have cherished all that we have done and am excited to see what 2023 will bring. I am hopeful that as we all continue to grow, we will choose that cup of coffee with a friend. 

As I am finishing this article, Astrid is home. She is so thankful as she is healing and getting stronger every day. 

Four Minute Special


My mother, Annie Ruth Ayers, was born in 1911, on a farm in middle Tennessee. The youngest of eight children, she worked in the fields and grew up wanting to be a doctor. She graduated from high school, and her 58-year-old father told his daughter she had only two choices: nursing or teaching. She chose teaching and she graduated from Teachers College (which became Middle Tennessee State University). For 35 years, she taught high school, first grade, and third grade. At night, she drove to a disenfranchised urban neighborhood to teach adult men and women to read and write.

Five years before my mother was born, and 14 years before women could vote, three female public-school teachers asked the Chattanooga school board to provide a fourth year of high school studies that included modern language and lab science so that young girls, as well as boys, would have the skills to apply to college. The school board said no. Undeterred, the three teachers pooled their money and converted an old home into a four-room schoolhouse with second-hand desks, an alcove library, and a cloakroom. Thus did Girls Preparatory School (GPS) open its doors on September 12, 1906, to enroll 45 girls, each of whom paid $80 for a year’s tuition.

When I was a baby, my then 36-year-old mother and 39-year-old father enrolled me to sit for the GPS 7th grade entrance exam, thirteen years away. They believed that six years of private school tuition was an investment in providing me with opportunities my mother never had. With top-of-the-class math grades and nearly perfect SAT scores, my teachers (and my mother) pointed me toward computer science and away from teaching. I graduated from Auburn University in 1969 with a degree in Mathematics and Industrial Engineering. That was precisely what Bell Labs was looking for – women with math and engineering degrees. I devoted nearly fifteen years to Bell Labs on a research and design team which developed and implemented software and hardware to automate repair service for Bell Telephone Companies nationwide. It was a great working environment where the men treated women team-mates with the utmost respect.

In 1971 I met the love of my life, Jonathan Wilds Smith, and we married. Seven years later, which coincided with the height of my Bell Labs career, I gave birth to our daughter, Alison, believing I would return to work within a week. To my incredible surprise, my interest in returning to my work fell to zero. My department head, who never considered I wouldn’t return to work, was equally surprised. He hustled to work out a part-time position for me with full benefits after a six-month leave. At the same time, I negotiated a place for Alison in the UNCG infant care center and continued to work half-time for the next eight years. I took maternity leave again in 1980 when I gave birth to our second child, Justin. By 1984, Bell Labs asked me to return full-time, and I turned in my resignation.

By 1987, our kids were seven and ten, and I missed work. Jonathan was starting up an investment advisory firm and asked if I might be interested in joining him. I agreed, and we became equal partners in Jonathan Smith & Co., which we renamed Smith Partners Wealth Management. With my love for solving problems, great pattern recognition, and a passion for helping people successfully navigate their financial lives, I found the perfect job.

Maintaining a full-time position in the firm, I’ve found the time to stay engaged in our community, serving on the boards of The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Greensboro Young Life, the Pi Beta Phi alumnae club, WPF, and the WPFF.  Still, my favorite work in the community has been in my front yard.

On her way home for Christmas break from NC State, daughter Ali saw a lighted chicken wire ball, stepped out of her car, and drew a sketch on her art pad. As soon as she said, “I’m home,” she asked her dad to help her make one. That was 1996, twenty-three years ago. On November 20, 2022, our neighborhood hosted its 20th annual ball-making party. The effort has become much more than some pretty lights. This winter, we expect that the neighbors of Sunset Hills and the Lighted Christmas Balls will have provided six million meals for hungry persons in our region. What continues to make this successful is the generous people in Greensboro and beyond who donate food and dollars. Thanks for making this idea a million times better than we ever thought it would be when we put the little red trailer out in the front yard for the first time to collect food! Shine the Light on Hunger


Annual Business Meeting

Wednesday, DECEMBER 14, 2022

12:30-1:30 @ Starmount Forest Country Club

Our Annual Business meeting will include highlights of the year, elections, and special recognitions.  A short program will follow.

2023 WPF Proposed Slate of Officers

The WPF Nominating Committee is pleased to present the following slate of nominees. Voting will be held at our Annual Business Meeting; new Board and Committee members will begin service in January. Additional committee members will be appointed according to the Bylaws by the incoming President and Committee chairs.

President … Cecelia Anderson

President-Elect… Dede Potter

1st Vice President… Erica Parker

2nd Vice President… Lorri Yaskiewicz

Treasurer… Kris Landrum

Secretary… Leigh Ann Klee

Director at Large … Jennifer Mencarini

Director at Large… Nicole Hayes

Membership Committee Chair… Meryl Mullane

Membership Committee Chair Elect… Laura Burton

Membership Committee Member… Treana Bowling

Programs Committee Chair… Ronnie Grabon

Programs Committee Chair Elect… Lisa Dames Hazlett

Programs Committee Member… Paula Wells

Nominating Committee Member… Jody Susong

Nominating Committee Member… Sue Hunt

Past President & Nominating Committee Chair… Amy Baradell (Designated Board Position not elected)

Many thanks to this year’s nominating committee:  Ashley Madden (Immediate Past President and Chair), Pam Barrett, Janice Lanier, Nancy Radtke, and Adrienne Jandler.  

2023 Proposed Slate of WPF FOUNDATION Officers

We are pleased to present the following slate for terms beginning in January.

Leslie Isakoff… 1st Term: 2023-2025

Kimberly Marriott… 1st Term: 2023-2025

Martha Peddrick… 1st Term: 2023-2025

Andy Bunn… 2nd Term: 2023-2025

Laura Burton… Filling Vacancy: 2023

The WPF Foundation Board of Directors will meet immediately after the WPF Business meeting (look for Jean Pudlo for where to gather) to elect Board officers.

WPF Special News



From Jody Susong, Membership Committee Chair

Wow – this has been a great year!  I have enjoyed my role as Membership Chair.  It has allowed me to better get to know so many of you!  I am often asked about our membership categories and the requirements for each.  To recap for you:

Active Membership – Be employed full-time, be a resident and/or employee in Guilford County, be an experienced executive, licensed or degreed professional or business owner, have five years professional experience and be sponsored by three members.  In this category, you are required to attend 50% of scheduled regular monthly meetings each year.  Active members may vote and sponsor new members.

Active Retired – Be an Active member for three full years prior to applying for this status, be 55 years of age or older, or be under 55 years with at least 25 years of professional service and no longer employed full-time.  This category is not required to satisfy any attendance requirements and may sponsor new members.

Supporting – Be an Active member for two full years prior to applying for this status and unable to meet Active membership requirements.  This category is meant for Active members encountering special circumstances expected to last no more than one year and does not renew automatically.  Supporting members may not vote or sponsor new members.

Emeritus – Be an active and/or Active Retired member for ten full years prior to applying for Emeritus status, be 55 years of age or older and no longer employed full-time.  This category may not vote but may co-sponsor a new member.

All categories are approved by the Membership Committee and the Board of Directors.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at


Change for January Meeting Date

Mark your calendars!

 Starmount Forest Country Clubwill be undergoing renovations to its kitchen January 2-20 and we will not be able to meet there on our usual second Wednesday of the month.

January WPF meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 12:30-1:30pm


A Message from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President Jean Pudlo


I am thankful for the work of the Foundation over these past two years serving as President. First, I thank our board for being women who care about our community and our foundation, and who show up and say Yes! when asked to help. Special thanks to women who are finishing their board service this year:  Robin Hager (8 years), Kate Panzer (6 years), Altina Layman (5 years), Dee Blake (1.5 years).

I am thankful for the opportunities for women and girls we make available in the community. See our list of grantees and programs supported below.

I am thankful for the support of hundreds of gifts from WPF members who have built this foundation for continuing impact in the community.

At this writing, 80% of the matching fund sponsored by our full board has been matched!  You can still make a donation of $50 or more and it will be matched by a board gift through the end of December or until the fund is depleted. To make a gift online, visit  or you can mail your donation to WPF Foundation,

PO Box 38594, Greensboro, NC 27438

Thank YOU!



American Association of University Women to help many women attend a Leadership Conference;

Action Greensboro to support young women interns with paid stipends working in women owned businesses;

Beloved Community Center for community leadership development and mentoring for women of color;

Nussbaum Center to  support women building self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship;

YWCA High Point for running two groups of the Girls Leadership Edge program developed by the Foundation in partnership with Center for Creative Leadership.

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Tuesday, December 6 @ 7 PM

Jane Hewitt’s home

Jean Pudlo will lead the group in discussion of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.  RSVP to Jane by text at 336-312-0200 or email at by December 4th.


Friday, December 9 @ 11:45 am
Café Europa
200 N. Davie Street

Join us for a merry holiday lunch at Cafe Europa located downtown next to LeBauer Park. Afterward, we will walk next door to the Greensboro Cultural Center for a free stroll through Tinsel Town. In the atrium of the Center, we will view 50 uniquely decorated trees purchased and adorned by a local corporation, group, non-profit or family. Then we each vote for our favorite tree. The top five vote-getters will have a $500 donation made in their name to the non-profit of their choice. Click this link for more information. Please RSVP at


LOL Planning Meeting

Wednesday, January 18
@ 12:30 PM
Undercurrent Restaurant
327 Battleground Ave

We will gather for a planning meeting to lay out the LOL 2023 calendar of events, so please be thinking about your ideas for next year.

Please RSVP to either or both events at


Monday, December 12, 7:30 PM
First Baptist Church
1000 W. Friendly Avenue

Celebrate the holiday season with beautiful music at the holiday concert presented by Bel Canto Company, Gate City Voices, and the Greensboro Youth Chorus.  Tickets are available at Bel Canto Company for $30 adult, $25 senior (65+).  If there is sufficient interest, we will plan dinner together at Embur Fire Fusion on Friendly Avenue.  Purchase your ticket online and contact Kris Landrum to confirm your plans and be added to the dining list (


Tuesday, December 13 @ 12 PM
Green Valley Grill – 622 Green Valley Road

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


Thursday, December 15 @ 6PM
Lise Cooke’s house

It’s our Holiday Party!! Join co-hosts Susan Russell and Sue Kennedy and celebrate the season with us.  RSVP to Susan Russell at 336-601-6557 and Venmo her $25 to hold your spot. Limited to 18. Cheers!


Friday December 16, 7 PM
(doors open 6:30 pm)
Magnolia House
442 Gorrell Street

Join your friends for the “Soulful Holiday Jam Concert with Ronda Thomas” at the historic Magnolia House. Tickets are available online for $30 (AT or are $35 at the door.  Those interested in dining together prior to the concert will meet at Mellow Mushroom at 5 pm for dinner and carpool to the event.  If you plan to attend, please email Kris Landrum ( to be included in gathering plans.


Service to Others has completed one year of serving our community!  We have worked hard, learned a lot about different organizations and enjoyed the company of our sisterhood.  It has been a rewarding experience and great to learn so much about our community.

For 2023, to help us find new experiences, we would like to ask members to sign up for one month during the year.  This will be the same as how Dining Out operates.  You will introduce us to an organization or activity that you are passionate about by identifying the volunteer opportunity, scheduling the date and coordinating.

Thank you for your participation this year and we look forward to 2023!  Please contact Jody Susong at or Amy Baradell at to volunteer for a month.


Thursday, January 19 @ 6PM
Holiday Party
at the home of Cathy Nosek

There will be no December meeting for the WOW Investment Club, as it is a busy time for members!

Entry into the Investment Club for new members will take place in January after the portfolio is priced on 12/31/2022.  Please contact Peggy Ward in January at if you wish to join or need additional information.  We welcome all new members who want to learn about the financial markets.

For existing members, if your email has changed, please contact Katrina Solomon at  All tax information will be sent via email.


July 27-30, 2023
Blowing Rock Summer Trip

The Blowing Rock summer trip is scheduled to coincide with the Blowing Rock Home Tour. Activity options include hiking, shopping, spa treatments (when available), dining out, and the home tour, plus, of course, a great opportunity for gathering with friends. Unfortunately, the Chetola Symphony By The Lake is scheduled for an earlier weekend this year, so we’ll be looking for other entertainment options. This is always a fun trip but housing arrangements have to be made substantially in advance. Housing cost is estimated to be $200 to $250/person for the three nights. A deposit of $100 is required to hold your spot. If you want to go, contact Kris Landrum at as soon as possible so that housing needs can be determined. We’ve currently nearly filled two houses and need to move quickly if we need more housing.