On July 21 members of AAUW Maryland convened at Harford Community College and enjoyed the theme AAUW-MD in Paradise. Nora Putt and Tracy Lantz, AAUW MD’s Program Vice Presidents, organized an agenda packed with Hawaiian culture and sprinkled with leadership training. Since we couldn’t all go to Hawaii—they brought Hawaii to us. As they walked through the door, each attendee was personally greeted in typical Hawaiian E Komo Mai (Welcome) with a presentation of a Hawaiian Lei.
Tracy began by leading a discussion of two TED talks: Suzanne Simard on “How Trees Talk to Each Other” and Richard Preston on “The Mysterious Lives of Giant Trees.” . These inspiring presentations encourage getting out in the world and learning from what we can observe, recognizing opportunities for new growth, saving the “mother trees”—those who nurture others—and regenerating with diversity.
Past-President of AAUW Maryland and member of AAUW’s national Board of Directors, Eileen Menton briefly reviewed the new strategic plan for AAUW. Four areas of focus in the plan include Education & Training, Economic Security, Leadership, and AAUW Governance & Sustainability. Eileen encouraged branch leaders to discuss how their branch can contribute to the goals included in the overall plan.
Kate Campbell Stevenson and Susan Wierman, Co-Presidents of AAUW MD, then led the group in a discussion of what we value in AAUW, the challenges faced by Maryland branches, and how leaders with a variety of skills can contribute to meeting the challenges—there is no one right way, and branches can take different paths. Branches were encouraged to reach out to State officers and other branches for assistance with branch challenges. Sharing events with other branches or partnering on specific programs are encouraged. Your state officers are there to help you—please do not hesitate to contact them.
The day included breakout sessions Defining our Ohana-Maryland Women, Present and Future-designed to help new and seasoned branch leaders share and learn from each other. Topics included membership, communication, branch presidents, and action planning.
Finally, the AAUW MD Board of Directors met to approve continued support for legislative priorities that didn’t get approved in 2018’s General Assembly session, set a goal to raise funds for a Maryland Woman of Distinction to be recognized at the 2019 National Conference for Collegiate Women Student Leaders, and discuss plans for the 2019 AAUW MD Convention.