Tag Archives: BoardofDirectors

President’s Message

President’s Message By Angela Scarlett

As you all know, the nominating committee could not find a replacement for me last year, resulting in my serving a third year as branch president. We also tried to find a replacement for our programs director. We will hold an official election during the April Authors Luncheon that we share with CHAR.

For this upcoming year, Nancy McCabe, who previously served as president six years ago, has agreed to step back in as president. After her presidency, she took over as the Sunshine coordinator from Jane Cooley. Since Nancy just had knee replacement surgery, this is a brave move on her part. She knows the branch is in need, and we are very grateful for her presence. If you have received a birthday card or condolence card this year, Nancy sent it.

For the newly renamed vice-president of programs, Hedda Smithson and Barbara Smith have both agreed to serve in this position. This position is critical for having meaningful and engaging mission-critical AAUW Sacramento branch meetings and building community and friendship.

Hedda and Barbara are also former branch presidents who have diligently volunteered for years. They will seek to expand the pool of volunteers who can help plan events for our monthly programs.

Thank you, Nancy, Hedda, and Barbara, for your service!

President’s Message

President’s Message, By Angela Scarlett

As I enter my third year as president of our AAUW branch, I have been reflecting on the fact that I didn’t think I would be here. Many of you know that we have struggled to find replacement board members and officers in the past year.

This lack of volunteers is a likely consequence of our branch aging. We have had many dedicated members who served in leadership for multiple years. It is only natural that folks would want to step back and allow others to step forward.

Our Nominating Committee recruited Susana Mullen and Carole Cline to serve as our financial director and secretary but could not find a president. We held a branch meeting to address our volunteer gap with our members. After this meeting, Lori Franz and Mary Miller stepped forward to helm our Tech Trek program.

We also convened a Strategic Planning Committee to address long-term branch needs. Marty McKnew, Gloria Yost, Liz Jordan, Tiffany Ardisana, Hedda Smithson, and I serve on the committee. Nancy Lawrence, a long-time dedicated member and former president of AAUW Sacramento, was originally going to help but recently passed away after a bout with cancer. We will greatly miss her and will memorialize her in next month’s newsletter.

We have had some productive sessions and have come up with excellent suggestions for restructuring the board. We will review this first piece of committee work at the September 17 meeting for feedback. To give you an idea of “Regroup, Renew, Refresh,” here are some bullet points.

  • The board will consist of nine members.
  • Four elected officers: president, vice-president of programming, financial officer, and secretary
  • Five appointed directors-at-large.
  • Officers shall serve a two-year term.
  • The board officers shall appoint directors for an initial one year.

Please share your ideas and suggestions with us! We are in the directory. But most importantly, come to the September meeting!

Strategic Planning Committee Working Hard to Redesign our Branch

Strategic Planning Committee Working Hard to Redesign our Branch By Liz Jordan

On Sunday, May 1, eight members of the branch met to begin the process of planning how to help our branch through the latest leadership crises.  Many members may remember that the branch has gone through this process twice before in the last 30 years.  Each time, a committee met, figured out what were the problems in finding members willing to lead, and designing solutions that were imaginative and created with enthusiasm.  But the last two times, we have not actually followed through with enacting many of those solutions.  This time, we must succeed.

The committee went through long discussions on such questions as:

– Why does AAUW Sacramento Exist?
– What is important to us?
– What do we want to do as a branch?
– What do we need to do better?
– Why external trends could lead to increased success and engagement?

Finally, we came to the hard part: How do we achieve our goals? Ideas discussed were:

  • streamline our activities and our board of directors,
  • become more nimble in our responses to change,
  • restructure our programs, identify a yearly theme,
  • engage Interest Groups in branch activity and action

We broke into subcommittees for improving our outreach, restructuring the board and governance, restructuring programs and improving communications.  We plan to meet and share what we have developed in our subcommittees on June 1, 2022.

Any member with ideas or energy to offer should contact Marty McKnew.  See her contact information in the directory.

Leadership Slate Approved

Leadership Slate Approved by Branch By Liz Jordan

At the April 9, 2022, branch meeting, members unanimously approved the partial slate of officers provided by the Nominating Committee.  The attending members voted for Susana Mullen as finance director and for Carole Cline as secretary.  These members will assume their roles on July 1, 2022 and will serve for a two-year term.

The Nominating Committee was unable to find anyone to serve as president or as program director for the next two years.  In addition, the Nominating Committee chair, Liz Jordan, admitted that the committee was distracted with the crises of a leadership deficit, so they overlooked their responsibility to name three new members to the 2023 Nominating Committee.  Three members will be named at date to be determined.

Nominating Committee – Slate and Vote

Nominating Committee Report By Liz Jordan
With Two Positions for Membership Vote

The Nominating Committee, Linda Sparks, Vicki Nicholson, Nancy Lawrence, Cherril Peabody, and Liz Jordan, present an incomplete slate of candidates for the Branch vote on April 9, Branch meeting and Author’s Event.


The slate is:

Secretary for a two-year term: Carole Cline. 

Carole has just served one year as secretary, completing the previous term left vacant.

Finance Director for a two-year-term:  Susana Mullen

            Susana has an MBA in accounting and is retiring from an accountant position.

Open and Unfilled:  President or Co-Presidents

            This position is necessary for branch function.  Leads the board action and in decision-making.

Open and partially filled: Co-Directors of Program

One member volunteered with qualification for this position; she needs a co-director.  She is very experienced but will not serve as the sole director.

The Branch is slated to vote on April 9 at our branch meeting designated as the Author’s Event.  Every member can vote. 

Job descriptions for open positions are available on the sacramento-ca.aauw.net website under the Membership tab, Members Only link. Anyone interested in serving in either of the two open positions, please contact Liz Jordan, Vicki Nicholson, Angela Scarlett, or Nancy Lawrence.  Phone and email available in the Directory.

What Happened at the Leadership Crisis Meeting?

What Happened at the Branch Leadership Crisis Meeting? By Liz Jordan

On Wednesday evening, March 16, more than 35 members signed into a branch meeting, open to the entire membership.  The goal of the meeting was to help solve a leadership crisis: to find members willing to serve the branch.

Who Will Lead?  The annual Nominating Committee has not been able to find a volunteer[s] to serve as President or Co-Presidents or as Program Director or Co-Directors.

Other branch leadership needs discussed were for volunteers to lead our Tech Trek Program and one to lead our Public Policy activities.

Job Descriptions are available from Nominating Committee Chair Liz Jordan and/or by clicking on the Membership tab through to the Members Only link of the AAUW Sacramento website sacramento-ca.aauw.net.

Survey: The membership was alerted to this meeting by eblast and each eblast contained a link to a survey about branch activities.  The survey gleaned responses from about a quarter of the membership and then comprised the focus for the meeting discussion. (See article by Gloria Yost about what members responded).  The members attending this meeting were able to see some of the members responses, and then members were randomly assigned to one of five break-out rooms where they discussed one of the questions, as well.

The five questions from the survey, then discussed by the break-out groups, were:

  1. What are your reasons for being a member of AAUW Sacramento?
  2. Our mission is to empower women and girls. How do you think we can motivate our members to participate in mission-based activities?
  3. What reasons do you have for serving or not serving on a committee or as a board leader?
  4. Do you ordinarily participate in Branch meetings and programs? Why or why not?
  5. If we reduced the number of our branch outreach activities, which ones would you eliminate?  Or change and in what way? These four activities were discussed:
    • Scholarship – women 25 years or older, returning to college
    • Speech Trek – high school kids speak to a question about gender equity
    • Tech Trek – six middle school girls who have talent but may lack motivation go to STEM Camp on a college campus for a week.
    • NCCWSL – National Conference of College Women Student Leaders – conference once a year over Memorial Weekend at University Maryland.

Discussion: Volunteer recorders in each of the five breakout rooms kept notes and reported back to the larger meeting during the last half hour.  The discussion was wide-ranging, and all possible ways to restructure branch activity were on the table.  A strong possibility of a Strategic Planning Committee to work on streamlining branch activities and leadership positions is under discussion.

Please:  Anyone willing to serve in either of the open board positions or on the Strategic Planning Committee is strongly encouraged to call or write Liz Jordan, Nancy Lawrence, Cherril Peabody, Linda Sparks or Vicki Nicholson.  Please see the directory for contact information.

Membership Response to Recent Survey

Membership Response to Recent Survey By Gloria Yost

AAUW Sacramento branch leaders put out a plea to members for help in dealing with a leadership gap and just under one fourth (42) of our membership responded with their ideas.  In addition, these questions were discussed by the 35 members who participated in a robust exchange of ideas about the future of AAUW Sacramento.  Below is a summary of responses.

We are members because:

We enjoy the friendship of other educated women and support AAUW’s mission.  We enjoy our interest groups and want to continue promoting education by helping women and girls.

We can motivate participation in mission-based activities with:

We want improved communication and sharing within our branch and more opportunities for more gratifying personal interactions.  Our interest groups are important to us and could also incorporate some mission-based activities.  We’d like stronger interpersonal links with those we empower through our outreach efforts.   We also think we need to do more to broadcast our accomplishments

Our reasons for serving, or not, on committees or as board leaders are:

We serve because we think it’s important and to share some responsibility for branch operations, and we like to be in the know and help with planning.  We also appreciate learning new skills from fellow board members.

However, some of us have been there and done that, and though we might help on committees, we don’t want to be in charge.  Time commitment, health issues and concern about technical proficiency are reasons for no participation.  Some of us also find other organizations providing us with more focus and new input.

We do, or do not, participate in branch meetings and programs because:

Participation provides us an opportunity to keep up with the work of the branch and branch members, visit with friends and make new ones.  We also get inspired by what we learn from women who are working to improve our community and the world.

Some of us don’t find program topics to be engaging.  We want business and announcements to be as brief as possible.  Transportation and meeting times are difficult for some and Zoom is not a welcome alternative.  Zoom can also be hard for those with young children.

We want to keep participating in all of our outreach programs, but if that isn’t possible, eliminate NCCWSL.  (National Conference of College Women Student Leaders)

Some of our ideas about other ways to change branch activities are:

Reduce the size of the board and streamline its activities to increase member willingness to serve.  Embrace the fact that interest groups are a vital part of Sacramento Branch and the board should strengthen ties with them.

Eliminate some branch meetings and focus on doing the others well, perhaps getting out of a rut of doing the same thing again and again. Bring back WOW (Women of the World) or something similar, as we all need to be connected with the whole community.  Do things more collaboratively with other groups and agencies to learn about problems and solutions.

“I’m so proud of all that we have done and will do to empower people to have better lives. These outreach programs make me feel like I’m part of the solution, especially as a retired person who no longer contributes in a paid position.”

Saying Yes!

Saying Yes Won’t Kill You! By Donna Holmes

As we approach nominating committee time, are you afraid you will be called upon?  Don’t be.  We are an organization with a common goal, and we all have a place.

Our branch is the perfect place to say “yes”.  My first “yes” was to become the treasurer, now titled finance officer.  Mary Schneider asked me in the street in front of Cherril Peabody’s house after a foster youth committee meeting.  I was surprised and asked why and was told that when she heard I taught algebra, she figured I could handle the math!  I was nominated from the floor at the April 2009 branch meeting and the rest is history.

So, the job was much more than I thought, but what a wonderful experience!  The outgoing treasurer, Dee Brookshire, held my hand every step of the way.  Our then presidents, Marty McKnew and Wendy Hayden, recommended we convert to a 501c3.  I took that on with a ton of help from Gloria Yost.  Sharon Anderson had become the membership treasurer, and we learned BDRs and ADRs together.

My second year, I was still working on the 501c3 with the IRS — it took 18 months.  My new presidents were Lisa Beauchamp and Gail Reed.  I was car pooling to board meetings with Barbara Smith, Gloria Yost and Sandi Schoenman.  Molly Dugan was our secretary, trying to keep everything recorded.  Cherril Peabody was chairing scholarships and I joined her committee.  When the 501c3 was approved, our branch went from awarding two $750 scholarships to awarding $2,000 scholarships – three, then four, then five and this past year, up to $3,000!

See all the names in the previous paragraphs?  All have become friends, some besties for life! That was 12 years ago, and there are so many more names/friends.  And it was all due to that first “yes”.  Not only the friends — I have learned so much, I even can update a website.  My life is so much richer, and I am still saying “yes” whenever I am able.  Say “yes” to something and reap the rewards!  I said “yes”, again, am doing Membership and Membership Treasurer this year and next with bestie Marty McKnew. The saga continues.

AAUW Sacramento: Take me to your leader!

Take me to your leader! By Hedda Smithson

Our governing body consists of elected and appointed positions (Membership Directory p. 8.) In April of 2020, Article X of our Bylaws, (Officers) was modified by defining the term of service (two years or until successors are found) and who is elected when.

Secretary and Finance Director are elected in even-numbered years while President-Elect, and the Directors of Membership, Program and Funds are elected in odd-numbered years. To help find candidates as needed, three branch members are elected to a Nominating Committee and two members are appointed by the President.

The nominating committee for the 2020-2021 membership year consisted of Molly Dugan, Donna Holmes and Liz Jordan (elected in April of 2020), plus Hedda Smithson and Linda Sparks, appointed by President Angela Scarlett. They met via Zoom and presented a slate that was announced and elected in April.

Newly elected and continuing officers are listed below. See if you can match the name with a description. For the answers (and all the scoop) , continue to Part 2.

  1. Carole Cline, Secretary                                    A. Testified before Board of Supervisors
  2. Charmen Goehring, Funds Director             B. Wanted to be an actress
  3. Donna Holmes, Membership Co-Director   C. Wrote the skit for the Anniversary Celebration
  4. Liz Jordan, Finance Director                           D. Plays Scrabble virtually
  5. Nancy Lawrence, Nominating Committee   E. Worked as a newspaper copy editor
  6. Marty McKnew, Membership Co-Director    F. Attended AAUW meetings with her mom.
  7. Cherril Peabody, Nominating Committee    G. Her grandfather was a state senator
  8. Kim Rutledge, Program Director                    H. Started an Oral History Project
  9. Angela Scarlett, President                               I. Was a CA State officer
  10. Linda Sparks, Nominating Committee          J. Needed to talk to educated women

AAUW Sacramento is fortunate to have such talented and dedicated members who are willing to accept these very important leadership positions. We ask you to think about this question: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Think about it!! Our branch is your branch! How will you lead?

To meet our new and continuing leaders, click here.

Slate of Officers for 2021-2022 By Donna Holmes

Officer Slate for 2021-2022

The following slate of officers has been submitted by the 2021-2022 Nominating Committee (Molly Dugan, Donna Holmes, Elizabeth Jordan, Hedda Smithson & Linda Sparks):

  • President Elect                     Vacant
  • Membership-co # 1             Donna Holmes
  • Membership-co # 2             Marty McKnew
  • Secretary                               Carol Cline
  • Nominating Committee 1   Linda Sparks
  • Nominating Committee 2   Cherril Peabody
  • Nominating Committee 3   Nancy Lawrence

Continuing Officers:

  • President                               Angela Scarlett
  • Programs                              Kim Rutledge
  • AAUW Fund Director           Charmen Goehring
  • Financial Director                Elizabeth Jordan