Welcome from the President
Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit - Jawaharlal Nehru
I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve as your IWI President for 2021-2022.
I would like to thank our past president Thuy Schelkopf and her board for an outstanding 2020-2021 year in spite of dealing with the challenges of the pandemic. Thuy led us with her positive enthusiasm, warmth, and commitment.
Thank you to the wonderful ladies who have agreed to be members and assistants on this year’s IWI Board. It truly takes a team and I thank you for your willingness to serve.
A little about myself – I am a Hoosier, having been born and raised in Wabash County, a county that is rich in agriculture, and some industry. A bit of Indiana trivia –the city of Wabash is noted to be the first electrically lighted city in the world, which was inaugurated on March 31, 1880.
In the fall of 1984, when I married my husband, I became an Army Spouse which resulted in my leaving the comforts of the small town, agriculture life that I grew up with. Being an Army Spouse opened a whole new world for me to learn about life living in three other states – Kansas, North and South Carolina, and living in Germany for thirteen and half years. Germany is very near and dear to my heart yet today. Our move back to the states in 2006 resulted in reverse culture shock for me. When my dear friend, Jeanne Lugo, introduced me to this group, I knew that I had found a place where women from all parts of the world come together to share their stories, their cultures, and all the while building long lasting friendships.
I’ve chosen this year’s theme to be “Embracing the Uniqueness of our Cultures” – to continue to build on understanding and embracing the uniqueness of our different cultures. IWI is a wonderful organization to bring new friends to experience our group; we have so much to share with each other.
Twenty-four members attended the Education Committee’s interactive zoom seminar conducted by IWI members Ansuyah Naiken and Dr. Kate Price on “Recognizing and Understanding Implicit Bias to Build Stronger Communities on July 27th. The session was informative and enlightening learning about the neurosciences of bias, the impact of bias, and reflections upon actions we can take in our communities. We are so fortunate there will be a follow-up session on Wednesday, September 29th. It will include a short refresher from the past seminar, as well as a discussion of the results of our own personal results from the Harvard Implicit Association Assessment.
I hope you’ll join me at our September luncheon to be held on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at the Woodstock Club. Our Luncheon Co-Chairs, Milissa Wasserman and Dina Vaught are hard at work planning the event for us.
Our Interest Groups offer options to meet socially-distanced and safely in-person and meeting virtually. A complete listing of our valued interest groups and our interest group leaders is listed in this newsletter.
In our bi-monthly newsletter, we will feature a member to profile so we all can get to know more about our members. For September, I’d like to welcome Bonnie Sweeney as our first member to profile for this new term. Bonnie is serving as the Member Relations chair this board year and she is no stranger to an international women’s group, as she shares in her story with us.
September and October in Indiana are two of my favorite months. As the air becomes cooler and the leaves begin to change, don’t forget the wonderful opportunities that our beautiful city and state offer for fall festivals and activities. I know we are dealing with the ongoing effects of the pandemic; however, most festivals are held outdoors. I hope that we will venture out to a festival or take a drive to experience the color of fall. Go to https://visitindiana.com or https://www.visitindy.com/ to plan your outings
We are fortunate in that we can renew our membership online so I hope you’ll join me in taking a few moments to log in, update your profile, and renew your membership – your membership is important to us. I would like to thank our technology and website team for their continued hard work in bringing us continued access: Cherissa Castellino, Olga Belyaeva, Sarah Gray, Motoko Kataoka, and Tishina Subrahmanyam.
I look forward to seeing you, or meeting those I have not already met, at one of our events soon – either in person or virtually! Please stay healthy and safe.
IWI President 2021-2022