Writing: Medicine for the Soul

A message from WPF President, Amy Baradell

It’s August and let’s face it, this can be a bittersweet month. Summer is still here, but winding down. Fall is just around the corner. We are sad to see summer go, but excited for cooler days and what’s ahead. Even though I no longer have children in school, I still love the excitement of seeing the stacks of fresh school supplies spilling out in the aisles. Fall offers the promise of starting again. It can be a time to stop, reflect, and take stock in where we are and where are we going? 

I am very excited about our August program for our WPF luncheon. We will be given the opportunity to reflect, on paper, with our WPF sisters. As I started 2022 in this position, previous WPF presidents told me the hardest thing would be writing the monthly newsletter. They were absolutely correct! With the writing of this article, I am over half way there. It has been one of the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever done. It takes me a long time to put these thoughts down.  I have a husband who is wonderful with words and helps me make things clearer and more concise. I want to thank you, my WPF sisters, for your many encouraging words about this year’s articles. I am so thankful that they have been an encouragement to you! 

But why is writing so hard and why is it so helpful?  I began journaling faithfully about fifteen years ago during a difficult time in my life.  I found journaling enabled me to capture and order the thoughts that seemed to be on replay in my head. Once I put it on paper, I have the satisfying feeling of “there, I’ve said it.” This is the hard part, but it is also the helpful part. We see ourselves more clearly, what’s underneath our thoughts and our actions. Writing helps us put pieces together to form our story.  On August 10 our program is called “Everyone has a story to tell.” We will be given the time, tools and guidance to start the process of writing about the person we know the most and the least, ourselves. This will be hard and helpful. So glad we can do it together!



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

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

At our August meeting, table facilitators (some professional writers and members of our board) who will give us the tools and guidance to start the process of writing about the person we know the most and the least: ourselves. 

Here are the descriptions that each of them wrote when thinking about the idea of ‘telling your story’. They might give you some ideas as you are thinking about sharing your ideas in August.



Amy Baradell: Learner, creator, relationship builder. My path began as a 7 year old girl making a pillow for her bedridden grandfather. That path of creativity led to a degree in clothing and textiles from UNC-Greensboro, a home based business, and now a thriving window treatment business. It is about the journey of a woman who knew how to sew, but knew nothing about running a business. I have found joy in being willing to learn new things and the way God has connected me to people and the meaning that has given to my life in all that I do.

Ellen Bryant Lloyd: author, freelance writer, editor, memoir ghostwriter. I made an important discovery when I was eight years old: I am a writer. In the third grade, I was given an assignment to write a story, illustrate it, make a cover and then bind all into a book. The process was exhilarating. I felt true joy when I held my “published book” in my hands. I felt, to my core, that being a writer was my calling. I tucked this calling away and pursued a more “practical” path of sales and marketing, which was rewarding. I continued to dabble in writing for my eyes only, until the day I woke up and realized it was time to fully embrace being a writer. I now write all day, every day. I have published two children’s books and written hundreds of articles, lifestyle features and blog posts. I also ghostwrite memoirs and am close to finishing several fiction projects. My passion is uncovering story wherever I go and with everyone I meet. Story connects us, defines us, motivates us, makes us think, makes us feel, helps us understand, encourages us to grow, enlightens us, inspires us and brings us joy. It is through the gift of story that we weave the beautiful tapestry of life.

Nicole Hayes: freelance writer, editor. I am a retired Naval officer having served 24 years in uniform. My background has been joyously eclectic: I’ve served as a behavioral health addictions counselor; taught leadership and behavior at the university level; taught leadership theory to young pilots; served as the director of a military counseling facility during 9-11; and I’ve served as a Russian threat analyst at the National Security Agency—all before writing as a profession. During my time as a Naval officer, I fostered a beautiful toddler who changed my life and inspired my first book. My passion is finding links and themes that connect stories and helping people “perfect their message, deliver their thoughts, and realize their dreams” through writing. The name of my first book is “When You’re Called “Mommy”: The Joys and Heartbreak of Being a Foster Parent”.

Kimberly Kesterson Trone: Artist and children’s book writer and illustrator. After many years of developing a unique creative style and recognizability of my paintings, I am constantly seeking new ways to satiate my creative appetite. I became a children’s book author years ago and published two books. “Chicks Chat and Change – The Money Tree” and “Nelson Dreams in Color, about a frog who learns his color wheel.

Of course , firstly I am an artist hopefully giving back beauty to this world.

Dede Potter: Business Owner. I grew up in a rural area near Wichita Kansas, the oldest of three girls. I left my hometown 35 years ago; spending 15 years in the Kansas City area before making my way to North Carolina for a job. I am an entrepreneur, a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, friend and Christian. I had the good fortune of a long corporate career in marketing which took me all over the world and exposed me to people, places and cultures that broadened my knowledge and changed my perspectives. My path to entrepreneurship began 8 ½ years ago with the purchase of a commercial property, followed by starting MI-BOX Mobile Storage. The journey is quenching my desire to build something, grow something, help people and give back. I’m learning along the way to be curious, not judgmental (heard it quoted), to be patient, to be present in the moment and mostly to enjoy the journey.

Ronnie Grabon: Executive Coach. My ‘short story’ focuses on my energy and passion for exploring new ideas. It might be ideas that help people find that ever elusive balance in their work and personal lives, or the ideas that have me exploring and drawing connections with people and history when I travel. Or helping people create balance in their lives by seeing how physical activity connects to our work or how gardening can affect climate change. I love seeing and developing the, not always obvious, connections.

Sue Kennedy: “Helping Leaders Lead Change” that’s my tag line for my leadership development and executive coaching business and perfectly describes my passion to help people learn, grow and evolve in an ever changing world.  From a very early age my father demonstrated adaptability and flexibility when he lost two fingers in the machine he was working on at his job.  I was only 3 when it happened, but I truly believe that observing his “never give up” attitude and behavior set the course for my life and career.

Christie Soper: Entrepreneur, innovator, and advocate. The surface answer to “my story” is: mom and stepmom to four grown children and Cici to two fabulous grandsons, my soulmate’s wife: and from a career standpoint, MBA with 20 years in a Fortune 200 financial services company: and founder of businesses, groups, and programs. The deeper answer to “my story” is that my mother raised a Survivor, from being a child of an unpleasant divorce, to being bullied for how I looked, to working 3-4 jobs to self-fund my college education while graduating #6 in my college class, to my own divorce, to losing my baby-business due to COVID. In my career and life, I’ve heard I was too driven, too Asian, too White, too female, too young, too emotional, too fat, too poor, whatever. I’m just me, and I am undaunted when chasing my passions, challenging the status quo, and loving the people who matter most.

Dawn Kane: long-time staff writer for the News & Record. I currently covers arts and entertainment and have covered a myriad of topics over the years – courts, police, women’s issues, education – everything, except sports and business. So when it comes to writing, I have done quite a bit! (I also spent several years working with community organizations to establish websites hosted by the News & Record).

Jean Pudlo: Grounded in the wilderness, working for change in the world.  As an almost college graduate, the one thing that was clear about my life is that I would do many different things, and I have.  But almost always it’s been about enjoying and improving the world.  I don’t know exactly why that is my focus, but it’s clear it’s in my bones. I am most at home in the woods or in a river (or other body of water).  My work has been to help people improve the world in one way or another. Now, with more knowledge on how to that, I enjoy coaching others. There are always more ways to explore, more ways to work for a better world. I will never be bored!

Catena Bergevin: Artist and Arts Advocate. I come from a very creative family – designers, painters, writers, musicians, and singers. My “short story” would share how art was first introduced in my life and the importance it has held for me personally and professionally. I would encourage others to discuss how they see art and creativity in their own lives. What inspires you?

Ashley Madden: Financial guru meets free-spirit. Born in June, I am a Gemini and the twin sign runs deep in me.  One twin side is my work as a financial planner and a tax accountant.  I feel passionate about helping my clients find direction and strategy for their finances and how this helps them achieve their life goals.  This twin side tends to be outgoing, entrepreneurial, focused and confident.  My other twin side is more introspective, introverted, laid back and creative.  I balance out the client meetings, wearing pearls and numbers swirling in my head with the side of me that relishes downtime, loves to play music, create art, read books, hike and travel.  I have reconciled that I need both twin sides for me to truly be the best person that I can be for myself and those around me.



Katie Klod

Hello WPF!  So glad to share a bit about me! Here’s the basics: I’m a first-born, left-handed Gemini hailing from Arizona/Illinois/eastern Europe/Africa (per my genetic results!).  I’m a big sister to Carrie, an Aunt to Alec, and a Mommy to Melody, the unruly 65 pound furry toddler with teeth who is my angel. 

My sister and I are adjusting to life without Mom, who passed away in early 2021.  I am constantly amazed and grateful for how much closer we have become in the wake of that loss.  We think Mom would be very happy!

Aside from the never-ending game of fetch, I also enjoy singing with my church choir (alto) and attending many performing arts events (symphony, plays, concerts) on both the professional and college circuit. My board terms on the Greensboro Symphony and WFDD radio both ended right at the beginning of Covid, so for now I’m just a trustee on the board of my church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro.  We are tackling the timeless questions of ultimacy and intimacy while also facing the urgent need to reinvent before we become obsolete.  I’m sure many can relate!  


Let’s see – oh yes, I also work!  I work at Lincoln Financial from my guest bedroom (previously from the downtown building with the clock on the top).  I am a Director with IT where I manage a department of website developers creating new and interesting website solutions for life insurance customers and advisors.  I am very lucky to have a role serving a terrific group of people.  I really enjoy being a people leader and feel it is my highest responsibility to help them to be successful.


I’ve been in Greensboro for 17 years and definitely call it home.  My previous employer moved me from Phoenix to New York before bringing me here to help run one of the call centers.  I have an undergraduate in elementary education from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Arizona State.  Although I could never have predicted it, these two degrees were perfect to prepare me for a life in leadership.  I’ve been a teacher ever since my first-grade-self held school in the dining room for my sister and is a big part of my leadership style now!  

My sister, my nephew, my dog and I are all ready to tackle this post-covid, post-Mom phase of life.  They inspire me everyday.


A Message from Jean Pudlo, WPFF President Jean Pudlo

Still a quiet time for the WPF Foundation, we look forward to the fall and sharing more with all of you about what a difference WPFF makes in women and children’s lives.  Now, we’re dealing with the mundane of appointing our nominating committee, preparing a Conflict of Interest statement and updating bylaws!  One of the best things about serving as this board’s chair is that when asked, people say yes!  It’s been a great group to work with.

You’ll hear more from us this fall.    Enjoy your summer!


August 11, 6-8pm


RSVP now as this event is limited to 70 guests! 1618 will be catering the event, and as a special treat, music will be provided by our WPF sister, Frenesa Hall, and singer/songwriter, Lyn Koonce. 


Questions? Conact Lori Yaskiewicz or Christie Soper. See you soon!

New Member Social!

Thursday, September 29 from 6-8pm

Law Offices of Tuggle Duggins … 400 Bellemeade Street, Suite 800

Parking will be in the Parking Deck directly across the street from their offices.  

Please RSVP to Jody Susong at jsusong@triad.rr.com if you plan to attend.  

We are excited to welcome and get to know the new class of members for 2022! 

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Wednesday, August 3
@ 6 PM – Gia
1941 New Garden Rd, Suite 208

We have a special Whine Divas planned for August! We are celebrating Dee Blake’s exciting new opportunity as the first Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Zoo Foundation in Louisiana! Come to Gia on Wednesday, August 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. and wish her well in her new endeavor! We have reserved a private room, therefore space is limited. RSVP to Lorriyaskiewicz@gmail.com.



Tuesday, August 9 @ 7:00 PM
Ashley Madden’s house

Jennifer Mencarini will lead us in discussion of Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, has conjured an entirely new definition of brilliant literary magic with Cloud Cuckoo Land. Spanning hundreds of years, several continents, and partially taking place on a spaceship, Doerr traces the lives of multiple characters and explores how their lives intertwine over the fate of a single story. It’s expansive, transporting, and supremely gratifying—there’s the thrill of adventure, the nitty-gritty of relationships; there’s love and loss, and hope. 

Reminiscent of the mind-bending worlds of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks, Doerr steps into his own imagination with zeal, compassion, and a knack for conveying the strength of connection between people, generations, the earth, and the written word.


Date: TBD

We are in the process of scheduling our next meeting- stay tuned! 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 investment – 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.


Thursday, August 18 @ 11:45
Melt Kitchen and Bar
1941 New Garden Rd, Suite 116

Join us for lunch with our very own Dr. Corinne Auman who will be speaking with the group about Choice Care Navigators and helping families navigate the complex senior care world to make well-informed decisions. She’s a wealth of information, and we are very fortunate to have her as a WPF sister! Please RSVP by Aug. 11 to retired@wpforum.org.

Corinne is a Nationally Certified Guardian and an Advanced Professional member of the Aging LifeCare Association. She received her Ph.D. from NC State University, where she studied developmental psychology with a specialty in adulthood and aging. She is an experienced educator and researcher, having worked at the Durham VA Medical Center, the Center for Aging at Duke University Medical Center, Presbyterian College, Elon University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also the author of the blog Rocking Chair Secrets.


Tuesday, August 16 @ 6pm
Brenda Madden’s House 

Hey mon! Sippin sisters Caribbean nights!

Brenda Madden and Ashley Madden will host. Cost $25. 

Venmo code for pre-pays (@Ashley-MaddenNC).  

Caribbean Nights Cocktails, Saint Lucia Rum Punch, and Caribbean Margaritas

RSVP to Ashley.MaddenNC@gmail.com





Saturday, August 20 @ 7:30 PM
Music at Big Purple
812 Olive Street

Join us for a concert featuring Michele Malone, a singer-songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia.  The concert begins at 7:30 and there is a $20 per person recommended donation.  Bring a snack to share on the community table or pack your own picnic.  BYOB, Bring a chair.

There will also be a pre-concert fundraiser wine tasting for MS provided by Susan’s cycling team, Perpetual Motion. It is $20 per person for the wine tasting which includes light snacks. There will also be a raffle for exceptional bottles of wine. The wine tasting event is 6:30-7:30. Click here to buy tickets and pay for the raffle tickets in advance. (1-$15, 2-$25, 3-$30) The wine tasting is provided by Jake with Rioja.  Please RSVP to Sue Hunt at sue@susanhuntlaw.com.


Tuesday, August 16 @ 4:00pm
Kau Greensboro, 2003 Yanceyville Street

Join us! RSVP to Marlee Foster marleegfoster@gmail.com





Sunday, August 21
6-7:30 PM
The Knights of Soul at MUSEP
Barber Park
1500 Barber Park Drive

You’re invited to join your WPF sisters for Sunday Evening in the Park to chill to the soul, jazz, funk and classic R&B music of The Knights of Soul.  Bring a chair or a blanket, your beverage of choice, and snacks to eat and/or share.  In addition, concessions will be available from Scoop Zone (Ice Cream) and Sweet Turkey’s BBQ.  RSVP to Michele Smith at msmith@hillevans.com to let us know you’ll be there so we can try to hold a space for you.  Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.


3rd Quarter Business Meeting
Thursday, August 25 @ 6 pm
Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church

We will discuss the portfolio and make any necessary changes.  Members – please plan to attend. You’ll also want to mark your calendars now for our September 8 Topic Meeting at 6 p.m. at the Greensboro Country Club.  A female UBS Financial Services executive will be presenting on “Own Your Worth.”  We are opening this meeting to WPF members as well.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Peggy Ward at peggy.ward8@icloud.com.  Wine and food will be served prior to the presentation.


Wednesday, Aug. 31 @ 6:30 pm
Blue Denim, 217 S. Elm Street

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



We are excited to revive the Devoted to Diversity SIG! We are aiming to schedule activities every other month. Some of our ideas include: a trip to the National Museum of African American History & Culture; a discussion with the mayoral candidates (following the July primary) to discuss their commitment to equity and inclusion; a speaker from Elon University to discuss inclusive excellence in higher education; a presentation on gender inclusive language; and a book club discussion of Demystifying Disability by Emily Ladau. 

If you have any ideas for activities in which you would like to participate, please reach out to SIG co-chairs Jennifer Mencarini and Judge Teresa Vincent.


Saturday, Sept. 17
9 AM – 12 PM
Healing Gardens
Cone Health Cancer Center
2400 West Friendly Avenue

Service to Others will be working in the Healing Gardens at the Cone Health Cancer Center 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.  

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

Women’s Health & Wellness

Save the Date!  Women’s Only 5K

Women’s Only 5k is back and for its 30th year!! Let’s get a team of 30 women to walk/ run!! Wear our T-shirts from years past and maybe new one to order

When: Saturday, October 1, 2022 9:30 AM

Where: Cone Hospital Med Center for Women, 930 Third Street, Greensboro

Registration: https://runsignup.com/Race/NC/Greensboro/WomensOnly5K

Team: WPF Sisters   No password needed     $30.00 registration

Entry fees for the Women’s Only provides screening mammograms to women who are uninsured or lack the financial means to pay for the screening through the Mammography Scholarship Fund. Entry fees also support the Cone Health Alight Program that provides financial assistance with the everyday needs of breast cancer patients in treatment who qualify, as well as educational materials, peer mentoring and support groups.

For more information, contact Co-chairs: Polly Sizemore/ Ashley Madden

pollysizemore@triad.rr.com 336-202-6188

ashley.maddennc@gmail.com 336-314-9857