President’s Message – January 2018

Welcome to 2018! I’m hoping every member enjoyed this holiday season with family and friends. I was sorry to miss the party at Cama Beach but I’ve heard nothing but positive comments: good food, fun activities, great raffle, and many guests. Thanks to all who worked to make this so enjoyable. On the agenda this month is the program on dementia. This important topic addresses a condition affecting many in our community, and I am sure we will all increase our knowledge and awareness. Make your plans to attend the general meeting on January 11.
At the December Board meeting we discussed implementation of the strategic plan which we worked on as an organization last year and this past fall. It was interesting to me that the most recent Outlook from national AAUW focused on their strategic planning process. Here are a few takeaways from that article which might remind us of our connection to a larger AAUW. The aim of this process is “solidifying the organization’s position as a global leader on equity. With a focus on meaningful impact, AAUW will raise awareness of what ‘equity’ means in the 21st century, shaping debates, designing policies, and implementing programs and solutions for systemic change.” This process has at its center the need to “buttress” AAUW’s core issues: pay equity, education, STEM, leadership and Title IX. The questions asked in this process are the same as those put our own branch: Where are we? Where do we want to be? How will we get there?
Kimberly Churches, the new chief executive officer of AAUW, is conducting a listening tour to find out what is working, what is not and to gather feedback. The Strategic Planning Task Force will draft a plan by March and will post this to an open forum for comments by members before being approved by the Board next summer. According to Churches, clarity is needed at AAUW. She feels that despite the amazing work historically done by AAUW, some members are “disheartened we’re not better known for what we do.” She feels this is because AAUW is a “Jill-of-all-trades” and our focus needs to be refined so that real progress can be made in real time. Goals will need to be broken down into what is measurable. AAUW has a long history of landmark achievements, but the organization can be positioned to do more. Churches feels that this strategic planning process will move us toward the future of equity. It is heartening to know that as Stanwood/Camano looks to our own plan and issues, National is embarking on a similar path.
So, off to 2018! Let us enjoy all that our local organization offers us and also be mindful of our national focus.

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