A Message From The President

June 2024

This month you’ll be looking at an Athena Society Presidential graduate! [Cue the music.]

This time of year is always reflective for me as June is when I review both my personal and professional goals for the calendar year (Am I on track? Do I still need/want to do this? Do I need a do over?). So it’s timely that my “graduation” occurs during this time of year.

As my term as President comes to an end, I’m not excited because it’s over or that I survived (bless!) but I have all of the feelings that happens during a graduation i.e. joy, pride, relief, disappointment at what didn’t get to happen (recovering A student), enthusiasm for what’s next, and more ~ as I recall various moments from my year that were challenging but also memorable and rewarding.

The work is the work, but during times of reflection, I remember the people. You. Those who were willing to experiment with me and others, showed up, spoke up when it was unpopular, co-signed, and dissented. Thank you for the messages of encouragement and the whispered one-liners with advice. (Those one-liners carry a lot of weight, gotta tell you!)

I often talk of the earth shifting and moving when Athena women are in the room. I now know that sometimes this is because some of you are stomping your feet. And guess what? I’m grateful for all of it. ALL. OF. IT. Why? Because the reiteration of “all voices essential” is so valuable and true. Each and every one of you makes a difference to the success of Athena Society.

As President-elect, I rode the rollercoaster of the Long Range planning initiative and heard/read all of the feedback. My takeaway was that this organization is valued, appreciated and relevant to members. There were opportunities for growth and change, and we had people willing to get on board ~ while maintaining their jobs, family obligations and community activities. And I remember the parable that Denise Jordan shared last year during this time, and that reality of perspectives during different seasons will likely be true for awhile as we all navigate growing and aging in a society that often discards women as we “grow through life” ~ along with women’s rights as a whole in our country and our democracy. The world is very different these days and, in some ways, absolutely the same.

Extra special thanks goes out to the 2023-2024 Board members: Ruth Bell, Starr Brookins, Mary Gamble*, Amy Haile, Kathleen Heide, Denise Jordan, Jessica Muroff, Carlye Morgan, Candy Olson, Marsha Rydberg, Linda Saul-Sena, Bemetra Simmons, Mimi Stamps, and Genet Stewart; and Committee Chairs: Gail Auerbach & Barbara Twine Thomas (Bonus), Jessica Muroff (Bylaws), Carolyn Kurtz & Belinda Wilson (Career Assistance Grants), Linda Goldstein & Marketa Wills (Communications), Marsha Rydberg (Community Action), Isabel Dominicis Dewey Nikki Stokes (Hospitality), Carlye Morgan (Membership), Patti Breckenridge & Ya La’Ford (Mentoring), Denise Jordan (Nominating), Maureen Butler & Karla Hartley (Philanthropy), Genet Stewart (Programs), Molly James & Stacy Yates (Retreat), and Starr Brookins & Amy Solomon (Young Women of Promise). Thank you all for being a part of future-proofing Athena Society; and for being a part of my life’s journey and for allowing me to play a small part in yours as an Athena member.

Athena Sisters, I’m grateful for the time I’ve had to serve as President of this prestigious organization, and the chance to explore, experiment, lead and follow with you. I look forward to my role as Past President (Insert cap throw!) and continuing to explore, experiment, lead and follow with you as a member of Athena Society.

And last but not least, Johanne ~ thank you so much for your hard work, dedication and non-stop “we can do it” spirit. You’re truly a gift to Athena Society in so many ways.

I’m signing off with one of my favorite quotes ~ it’s from Zora Neale Hurston’s book “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and it says: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

For me, this year did both.

Peace and blessings,

Nancy Vaughn