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2016 Fall Conference Wrap-up

During the beautiful weekend of October 7-9th, 109 District 6 Zontians from 23 clubs attended the 2016 District Fall Conference in Oak Brook Illinois. We were privileged to have a guest from ZI Headquarters, Alicia Borsa, Membership Coordinator. With Alicia and the Awards recipients and young women of the Z/Golden Z clubs as Saturday guests, there were almost 115 attendees.

zontasaysno-conf16-2It was a weekend filled with high energy and enthusiasm. It was jump started Friday evening by a great keynote speaker, Denise Barreto, who urged Zontians to tell our story every chance we get. The unexpectedly passionate and mission supportive welcome from Oak Brook President, Dr. Lalmalani, was also well received.

An Open Forum session to discuss the state of our District Conference Friday afternoon, led to a smooth business session Saturday morning where we accepted the proposed 2016-18 District Goals and raised the Conference Assessment to $12.

The conference energy was boosted as our Awards recipients were presented. Kaitlin Raineri received her District JMK scholarship certificate. She is attending Loyola University in Chicago in Accounting. Heather Wiest, an Amelia Earhart Fellowship recipient received her ZI AE certificate and her AE wings. She is attending Purdue University. Both young women are amazing and very thankful for Zonta’s support.

Youthful energy continued with the Z/Golden Z presentation and panel discussion lead by Susan Harmon, Z/Golden Z Club Chair. While Kankakee’s Z Club representatives couldn’t attend, they sent their self produced anti-bullying video for our review. The Lebanon Z Club representatives, Kiersten McCoy and Teresa Perez were nervous but did a great job reviewing their projects and connection to the Lebanon club. The Lincoln sponsored Golden Z Club representative, Allison Hollatz of the University of Illinois spoke on their projects. They then participated in a panel discussion.

Past D6 Governors in attendance

Past D6 Governors in attendance

Over lunch we had two keynote speakers dealing with Human Trafficking. Dr Cassandra Ma, from Reclaim 13, & Cherish House, discussed their program for rescuing and recovering children trafficked in the sex trades. This was followed by a presentation by Special Agent Donald Suchy, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on the definition of trafficking and his role in enforcing the laws dealing with trafficking.

Saturday’s afternoon was devoted to “sharing our stories”. Three breakout sessions presented projects on trafficking by the Zonta Clubs of Kankakee (Truck Wrapping project), Madison (SlaveFree Madison), and Milwaukee (ARTREACH). All three breakouts were designed to share not only the project but also how the clubs went about developing and administering the projects with community partners.

hospitaliy-activity-conf16Hospitality included Saturday’s entertainment by Evening Edition, an a cappella group singing crowd favorites and a hands on competition to decorate Halloween pumpkins, all over coffee and dessert.

Sunday wrapped up with a joint presentation by Advocacy Chair Gail Zalewski, Service Chair Laura Baker, and PR Chair Konni Rodegheir. Using a fun, interactive game format, they presented Zonta Says No projects from around the world. With this energizing activity and our orange Zonta Says No tee shirts well displayed, the attendees swarmed the hotel escalators for our District Zonta Says No photo.

Thank you all for attending and Adding Your Voices to our Conference. I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2017 Fall Conference hosted by Area 2 Clubs in Madison Wisconsin on October 13-15th.

JMK Scholarship Winner

District 6 announces it’s 2016 JMK Scholarship winner Kaitlin Raineri.

JMK Scholarship winner Kaitlin Raineri

JMK Scholarship winner Kaitlin Raineri

Kaitlin, whose application was submitted by the Zonta Club of LaSalle Peru, and is a sophomore at Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) and plans to transfer to Loyola University in Chicago to study International Business. She has consistently earned Presidential Honors and has been accepted into IVCC’s Honor’s Program. She has studied abroad in Netherlands via Rotary Youth Exchange Student program and taught English in Romania. She volunteers with the American Red Cross. She currently is an intern for a non-profit, Another Child Foundation and wants to work for an international non-profit after obtaining her Master’s degree

Zonta International Convention

District 6 was well represented by 32 members at the 63rd Zonta International Convention held 2 July – 7 July, 2016 in Nice France. At the pre-convention District meeting on Friday, Governor Donna Conant inducted incoming Governor Tammy Hagen, Treasurer Cheryl Trudeau, Area Directors Michelle Miller & Carol Braford, and Nominating Committee Members Linda Hiltabrand & Donna Conant.

District 6 Convention attendeesThe Convention opened with the impressive Flag Ceremony and closed with a lavish Closing banquet and installation of officers. It was filled with inspirational keynote addresses and presentations by our International award winners. We heard representatives from the United Nations give project reviews and proposals for new projects. Our delegates approved continuing the Delaying Early Marriage in Niger and Liberia Fistula projects for another biennium. They also approved two new projects: Addressing Human Trafficking in Nepal and Let Us Learn Madagascar. After much discussion, a resolution creating a new membership category for Young Professionals was approved for a two year trial.

Lastly, the Big News. The 2020 International Convention will be held in Chicago! That gives us four years to prepare to host our 100 Year Centennial Convention.

District Leaders elected for 2016-2018


Elected by club delegates at the District 6 Conference were the following leaders for 2016-2018: (Pictured from left to right) Dorothy Suther – Area 4 Director (Indianapolis); Carol Braford Area 5 Director (Kankakee); Cheryl Trudeau – Treasurer (Kankakee); Pam Duane – Area 2 Director (Madison); Michelle Miller – Area 3 Director (Mascoutah); Anna Weselak – Area 1 Director (Oak Brook); Elaine Rynders – Lt Governor (Alton-Wood River); Governor – Tamara Hagen (Madison). Terms start July, 2016.

Zonta International & District Awards Presented

As Zontians, we strongly believe in the power of education. At our conference we recognized 2015 Zonta award winners from District 6.

Sivaranjani Seetharaman (University of Notre Dame) is presented her Amelia Earhart “wings” by Zonta International (ZI) Director Catherine McEwan (on right); Donna Conant (left) and Dorothy Suther (second from right) extended congratulations on behalf of  District. ZI awarded 35 Amelia Earhart fellowships in 2015 for post graduate studies in the aero-sciences.  (read more:  Amelia Earhart Fellowship )


Ananya Murali (center) is presented with the ZI Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award Certificate by ZI Director Catherine McEwan (right). Donna Conant (left) presented her with the District YWPA Certificate. Ananya spoke on her activities with leadership and anti-bullying. She has held anti-bullying camps in Wisconsin and India. She was one of 12 girl scouts in the country that were chosen to speak on a panel at the United Nations. (read more:  Young Women in Public Affairs Award )

Pictured are Sandra Anderson, 1993 AE Fellow and member of Zonta Club of Madison (left); Leslie Goddard portraying Amelia Earhart (center); Sivaranjani Seetharaman 2015 AE Fellow (right).


Unable to attend the conference were:

  • Natasha Bosanac from Purdue University – awarded her second Amelia Earhart Fellowship.
  • Kosovka Spreca from Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI. is the recipient of the District’s Jane M. Klausman award. (Read more: Jane M. Klausman Women In Business Scholarship )