Are you ready to seek what inspires you?

// Hello members and friends of The Women’s Roundtable // 

The 2014-2015 programming year for The Women’s Roundtable is underway and I’m encouraged by the here and now and what is on the horizon for this one-of-a-kind networking organization in Northwest Pennsylvania.  Make no mistake; we are one-of-a-kind.

It was 23 years ago this month that I saw an announcement in the Erie Times News to attend a networking meeting of The Women’s Roundtable. It said this organization not only supports other women but that this is one of the networking group’s primary goals. It was unique then. It is unique today. Wrap that purpose around women from all backgrounds and disciplines, coming together in a genuine sisterhood; the result is an extraordinary camaraderie that is ONLY found in The Women’s Roundtable.

The other primary purpose of The Women’s Roundtable is to develop the leadership skills of all women in Northwest Pennsylvania. This year’s leadership theme is: “Seek What Inspires You.” Using this theme as a guide, we’ll pursue the goals of the WRT, those goals we set for ourselves, and find inspiration along the way.

I’d like all of you to consider the source of your inspiration. What inspires and motivates you can play an important role in achieving your goals on this year’s leadership journey.

// Some Inspiring Insights //

New Look for The Women’s Roundtable at www.wrterie.org:  WRT Communications Director Lesley Ridge has created a robust and inspiring website for all of us to use and appreciate. Thank you, Lesley, for all your efforts in crafting an advanced-use website and expanding our marketing and communications reach. WRT is also going social! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. More to come soon.

WRT Past President Linda Austin: What an inspiration to us all! Her story is incredible. Linda shared with us her home and her transformational journey from successful, local business owner to global missionary on September 17th. After the unexpected death of her husband, she closed Linda Austin’s Cakes and Gourmet Bakery and took a Sabbatical of Undetermined Length (her S.O.U.L. search) covering 12, 000 miles by car in 131 days across the United States. She found her passion and after some training in 2012, she has devoted her time to rescuing children and families from slavery. Linda is now a missionary for the Maasai Orphanage in Olasiti, Kenya. We were honored she shared her story with us last month. 

Successful 1st Annual Summer School Supplies Drive: The Women’s Roundtable partnered with the Woman’s Club of Erie and the American Association of University Women (A.A.UW) to conduct the first Summer School Supplies Drive to benefit Erie’s Edison Elementary School. The inspiration for this charitable drive came from two incredible teachers I met at Edison, Mrs. McGradnor and Mrs. Phetsavahn. The Summer School Supplies Drive is now an annual event as the WRT continues to expand its charitable mission. In addition, expect WRT to partner again in the future with those organizations that share our goals. Thank you to our partners, WRT members, and guests who attended the August 2014 picnic and those who donated school supplies.

// A Few Reminders //

Bring your business cards to all Women’s Roundtable events and make an effort to seek out someone you would like to know a little bit better. You’ll both benefit.

Remember your friends! Part of WRT’s success lies in expanding our network. Bring a friend to upcoming WRT events. You never know where those connections might lead you.

// Save the Dates //

Friday, March 6th, 2015: The Women’s Roundtable G.E.M.S. Leadership Day and Fundraiser for the Gerry B. Wallerstein Fund

Wednesday, April 15, 2015: The 2015 Woman of the Year Celebration to Announce the Finalists

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015: The 2015 Woman of the Year Banquet

You can view these events on our Events Page, or by “RSVP”ing on WRT’s Facebook page.

// Final Thoughts //

As a 22 year member of The Women’s Roundtable, I’ve had the privilege to serve on the board in various capacities including public relations director for six terms and as president for three terms.  Since 1992, I have also served as a standing member of Woman of the Year Committee. As producer of the annual banquet video that showcases each of our finalists, it’s been an honor to profile all the nominees.

I can honestly tell you that I joined The Women’s Roundtable 22 years ago because I could instantly feel genuine connectivity with the women in this networking organization. There is a unique camaraderie among members who believe wholeheartedly in the WRT mission of supporting other women to achieve their full potential and to further develop leadership skills for area women.

I’m looking forward to another great year for The Women’s Roundtable. You can thank our dedicated WRT board members when you see them because this group is fabulous! The 2014-2015 WRT Board includes: Anita Kuchcinski – Treasurer, Lindsay Moore – Secretary, Lesley Ridge – Communications Director, Maryanne Thornton – President-Elect and Wallerstein Event Director, Cindy Heintz – Programs Director, Mary Macie – Membership Director, April Blum – Woman of the Year Chairwoman, and Marilyn Walker – WRT Historian.

I’m looking forward to taking this year’s leadership journey with all of you.

Marsha MacKinnon

President of The Women’s Roundtable