Sisterhood Through Social Distancing
A message from WPF President, Adrienne Jandler
Eight short weeks ago, I was enjoying WPF’s book club discussion at Ronnie Grabon’s house. The first selection of the year was The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia, which was set in Mexico during the influenza pandemic of 1918 (The Spanish Flu). The descriptions of living through that were startling, vividly detailed, and one of the topics of conversation. We never could have imagined that just a few weeks later, we would be experiencing a pandemic ourselves, along with the rest of the world.
I’ve thought back to that night many times in the past few weeks, especially as I’ve tried to make sense of our unfolding situation. As the characters in the book described, we’re also making adjustments and isolating ourselves with our families. Like them, we’re not sure how long this will last and wonder what we may lose. But that is where the similarities end.
Unlike the characters in the book, we have the benefit of technology to keep us connected; it provides many the ability to continue working from home. We have a much better understanding of epidemiology, and greater knowledge of how viruses spread. Our supply chain and the logistics behind it are far more refined; while we have shortages, stores’ supplies are continuing to be replenished. Sanitation standards and awareness are far greater, and the public has numerous resources for educating themselves on how to help prevent the spread.
I’m encouraged by this, as well as by what I see around me. The people of our nation who were so severely divided just weeks ago have quickly joined together. Citizens from every walk of life are stepping up to do what they can with what they have to help others. I see the ingenuity of fellow business owners devising solutions to keep things going with the quick shift to curbside service, mobile ordering and apps, and delivery services. I am inspired by the courageous efforts of our healthcare workers on the front lines as well as the continuing work of those in critical essential infrastructure roles.
I see just how contagious generosity is through examples every day in the news and on social media: teenagers helping their older neighbors get groceries, mobilized efforts to provide meals to children (and their families) who need them but are no longer receiving meals at school, outside “window” visits to nursing home residents, people continuing to pay for services like house cleaners, massage therapists, dog walkers, and others who are unable to continue service due to mandates but who can’t work from home. And yes, there is fear and uncertainty, but more than that I see the resilience and determination to get through this together.
As leaders in our businesses, community, and families, we have an added responsibility which I see as an opportunity. We’re tasked with devising strategies for the health of our stakeholders, the continuation of our businesses, and lending support and assistance to others where we are able. A role we can and will fulfill.
WPF is here for you, and we are adjusting on a month-to-month basis. The Board is continuing to meet as scheduled via Zoom; we have canceled the April meeting and all physical events this month. We will continue to observe CDC guidelines and local mandates; meetings will resume once cleared to do so. Until then, we will use email, the WPF website, and the WPF Facebook group page to communicate news and virtual events with the membership. In addition, we are providing SIG chairs with access to a WPF Zoom account so that those who want to coordinate online meet-ups can do so. We’re also doing what we can to support the community, which this past month included a donation to Backpack Beginnings. You can read more about this on the next page.
As we go through this together, I hope you will turn to your WPF sisters for advice, support, an ear, some inspiration—and yes, maybe a shared glass or two of wine via Zoom. I also encourage you to send me your stories, your ideas, your struggles, and inspiration. We’ll come up with a way to share them with the group.
I look forward to seeing all of you again in person, at Starmount, once this is behind us. Until then, stay safe, in faith, and in good health.
Helping Where We Can: WPF Donates $2,226 to Backpack Beginnings
In mid-March, the WPF Board met via Zoom and decided to cancel the April meeting. (At the time, the Shelter-In-Place mandate had not yet been made, but was expected.) Schools had just been closed, and the Board members had expressed concern about food-insecure students who received meals at school. Among other things, the board considered ways we (as an organization) might be able to help our neighbors. The very next day, we received a plea for help from Backpack Beginnings. Many of you are familiar with this organization, which provides food and clothing to 9,000+ Guilford County School children in need. They are now (in response to COVID-19) supporting 23 of GCS’s 35 ‘Grab and Go’ sites. Their staff and volunteers are working around the clock – 3 shifts per day – and state that they are in dire need of food. We spoke with Parker White, the organization’s Executive Director, who stated that they will be placing a bulk food order every Friday, as long as they are able. While their website lists specific food items needed, she said funds are even more helpful and enable them to order bulk quantities as well as prepare for upcoming weeks’ food orders.
In response to their plea, and since we will not be billed by Starmount for April’s (canceled) meeting, the Board decided to donate the funds we had allocated for the meeting. We sent a check in the amount of $2,226 to help provide food for distribution. We were so happy we could help, and will be looking at other ways we might be able to make an impact (as an organization) at this time.
Backpack Beginnings is continuing to provide essential food distribution. If you would like to make a personal contribution of funds, food or assistance, please visit their website (https://backpackbeginnings.org) for regularly updated information on how you can help.
“BackPack Beginnings is so thankful for the Women’s Professional Forum’s support. Your donation will help us provide basic needs to local families/children during this difficult time. To learn more about ways to help, please visit www.backpackbeginnings.org/Covid-19-response.” ~ Parker White,Executive Director of Backpack Beginnings
A message from Foundation President, Susan Russell
Hello from the WPF Foundation! In these uncertain times, one thing that stays firm is the mission of our WPF Foundation: we are dedicated to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve their leadership and professional dreams. Planning is still taking place, although now it is via conference and video calls.
We held our WPFF Board Retreat on February 22, 2020 to confirm planning ideas for the coming year. We had a lot of discussion around who we are as a group and our plans for the Girls Leadership Edge for 2020 and beyond. Three very basic potential strategies were discussed:
1. To Continue our Direct Leadership of the GLE program
2. To Partner with another organization
3. To end our direct management of GLE.
After much discussion, it was overwhelmingly decided to retain management of GLE for the foreseeable future. We feel strongly about this program and the good work being done.
That being said, the Foundation has typically been the focus of our May Luncheon. Who knows where we will land next month in terms of being able to gather, but please keep thoughts of the Foundation in the forefront of your mind. We will discuss GLE and the grants we are able to give at our May meeting (or a very near future meeting should we not be able to meet).
These programs would not be possible without your monetary donations, love, and support! While we recognize this is such an unusual time we are in, we also feel that once we are on the other side of this, our programs will continue stronger than ever. We need your help. Please consider what you can give to WPFF this year so our work can continue. You can even donate securely online at WPForum.org/donate. We look forward to seeing you in May (or at our next meeting)!
Special Interest Groups
Tuesday,May 5, 7:00pm, Hosted by Laura Burton at 4005 Whitford Ct. Browns Summit
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is the debut novel by Vietnamese-American poet Ocean Vuong, published on June 4, 2019 by Penguin Press. An epistolary novel, it is written in the form of a letter from a Vietnamese American son to his illiterate mother. RSVP to Laura Burton 336-337-1942
Wednesday, May 27, 6:30pm at Mark’s Restaurant, 616 Dolley Madison Rd, Greensboro
Join us for Dining Out at Mark’s, a white-tablecloth American standby with thoughtfully sourced ingredients, a bar & patio seating.. Dee Blake will be our host. RSVP to Amy Meinecke at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, May 25.
DEVOTED to DIVERSITY
Our purpose is to promote inclusion and to wrestle with issues of diversity in order to engage WPF as a force for change in our communities.
Proposed Events include: Just Mercy watch party with wine and dessert, followed by discussion…Magnolia House Jazz Brunch and chat with the owner 2 pm on a Sunday…Underground Railroad Tour with Max Carter…Book Discussion on Waking Up White, by Debby Irving…and more!
Committee Chairs: Nicole Hayes, Terri Harris, Rebecca Ben-Gideon
How do you explain transgender to your kids?
Our topic for April is back to “SEX” and talking about this with our kids. Though we can’t get together in person, here are some helpful links on the subject of “how do you explain transgender” and navigating this new age with an open mind and healthy respect for every person. Read up, watch up, and we’ll see you in May, virus willing! PS… Marlee is working on an option for a virtual gathering so keep an eye on your inbox, Working Mamas!
NEXT LUNCH MEETING
Tuesday, May 26, 12:30pm @ Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd, Greensboro
This lunch topic is “how and when do you get involved in the friends situation?” Do you want to weigh in? What if you don’t think a friend is a good influence. At what age do you start helping your kids make good friend decisions? RSVP to Marlee Foster by noon Monday, May 25 at email@example.com.
WOMEN OF WALL STREET
Thursday, May 21, 6:00pm @ First Lutheran Church, 3600 W. Friendly Avenue, Greensboro
Please plan to attend our Business Meeting next month. Send May RSVP to Peggy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, here are some links to information you may find interesting related to COVID19 and investing:
WILD WOMEN in the MOUNTAINS
New Date To Be Determined
It’s not quite that time again! We haven’t forgotten about the fun and relaxation of 3 memorable days in the mountains with your WPF sisters! We are working to reschedule our annual Wild Women in the Mountains trip and will have information available as soon as we get it figured out. We will need this time to completely decompress! Questions or comments? Contact email@example.com
BOOKS & ARTS
Until We Meet Again A message from Kris Landrum
Books and Arts, like the rest of the world, is on temporary hiatus until we get beyond COVID-19. Reach out to your WPF friends (remotely, of course) and share any book or cultural item of interest that you have been able to enjoy online. We’ll eventually get beyond this and back on schedule. Being without each other is hard, but we’ll make up for it as soon life returns to normal!
BOOKS & ARTS
8th Annual TEDX Greensboro Info
For members who purchased tickets to TEDx2020, they will be refunding all registrations. It is their hope to reschedule sometime this year when the time is right. The speakers, who are also volunteers, have such great ideas to share and they have worked hard to hone their TALKS for the TEDx audience. We all want to make it happen so stay tuned. Contact Denny Kelly if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Limited Number of Openings for New 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. WPF currently has a limited number of openings for new members. Applications must be submitted by June 1 for consideration this year. The Member Application and WPF Sponsor Packet can be found under “Forms & Bylaws” on our website. They each provide further information about membership and the application process.
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 further information about membership or the application process, contact our Membership Chair Melanie Tuttle.