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Notes from the Governor
Communication – a means of connection between people to impart or exchange information or news. Seems straight forward and in this day and age of electronic devices should be easy. Right? Well, as it turns out, that has been the biggest frustration for the Board members this biennium. The reasons vary from inaccurate contact information to blatant avoidance with non-returned emails and phone calls. This leads to vital information not being shared in a timely fashion and individuals being frustrated by “nagging”, both giving and receiving. Everyone is busy but please try to enhance the communications across our District. We need to help ourselves help each other. Share updated contact information, send newsletters to the Board and the District Presidents, post your events on your social media, and respond to emails or phone calls in a timely fashion even if it’s just to say, “I got this but am really busy right now and will get back to you later”.
While reviewing our District Goals, the Board found that the lack of sharing has made it hard to track our progress. Take for example the goal to interact with more like-minded men’s organizations to promote our mission. We know it happens but tracking the extent and with whom is hard. Our general sense is that it happens mostly in unstructured ways such as participating in a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events. The one shining example we can point to is the Kankakee Truck Wrapping project.
We do not have to re-invent the wheel or go this alone. I suggest you investigate the UN Women’s HeForShe project at www.HeForShe.org. This project was launched in 2014 with the intent to actively bring men in to the conversation on how to build gender equality.
It’s mission statement reads: “The World is at a turning point. People everywhere understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. And when these powerful voices are heard, they will change the world. The time for change is now.”
“HeForShe is uniting people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. And, it starts by taking action right now to create a gender equal world.”
The HeForShe campaign is mobilizing individuals ranging form CEO’s and Heads of State to the person on the street to take steps to make gender equality happen. Zonta International encourages us to use this campaign to build more bridges with traditionally male dominated business and organization.
The HeForShe website has Action Tool Kits for your next steps. These include activities you can take in your daily life or your Club can develop as projects. Please consider this resource in our efforts to empower women.
As April showers were encouraging spring flowers, your Area Directors with the help from the host Clubs were busy hosting fun and informational Area Spring Workshops. Over 160 Zontians participated in Zonta networking, receiving information from District officers on Membership, ZISVAW projects, Zonta Leadership, and ZI updates. They heard about human trafficking and agencies offering help to individuals who have suffered from that awful activity. Area 1 members mixed shopping with service by purchasing $700 worth of items made by women recovering from trafficking.
Each Workshop focused on PR and the media. Many notes were scribbled and questions explored on interacting with print, broadcast, and social media. Hopefully, several new ideas and resources will arise from this education. Be prepared to share any successes in this area at District Conference.
As I attended each Workshop, I was impressed by the energy and sharing amongst participants. Thank you’s go out to the Host Clubs: Chicago Loop, Beloit, Lincoln, Indianapolis, and Belvidere. You did a great Job! You displayed flexibility (think venue flooding in Indianapolis), enthusiasm (think all new Lincoln Club members in attendance), and hospitality. I even learned about Horseshoe and Pony shoe sandwiches at a Friday night social gathering in Lincoln (think heart attach on a plate).
For those of you who couldn’t attend this year, you missed a great opportunity to learn more about Zonta and network with fellow Zontians. Please make attending next year’s Workshops (renamed “fun”shops in Lincoln) a priority!
Gov. Tammy Hagen AD Michelle Miller Lt. Gov. Elaine Rynders Found. Amb. Donna Neal
Thank you to all who attended Fall Conference. By “Adding Your Voice”, you helped to make it a successful event. Please carry your enthusiasm and knowledge home to your Clubs. Remember the “Call to Action”; every Zonta member needs to be actively engaged for us to have healthy, vital clubs.
To those who did not attend, my challenge was to encourage active engagement by every member. I defined “actively engaged” as being a passionate supporter of our mission and willing to give of your time, talent, and energy to support Zonta.
I offered the following checklist of important considerations in achieving and maintaining an actively engaged member:
- “Right Fit” – vetting process for prospective members
- Orientation/Training/Refresher Courses – Knowledge equals Comfort
- Evaluation – How does the member want to contribute
- Challenge Members – Get out of a rut and refresh
- Be Flexible – Offer options for involvement
- Show Your Impact – “Meet” the women you serve.
- Show Appreciation – Say “Thank you”
- BE RESPECTFUL!
I look forward to seeing you at Spring Workshop and invite you to the 2017 Fall Conference October 13-15th in Madison Wisconsin. Note: It’s Badger Homecoming Weekend so book early!
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Governor for the next biennium. I am part of a leadership team, which has a good mix of individuals with prior District Board experience and fresh new faces with new ideas and energy. I’m sure I speak for them when I say we are looking forward to these next two years.
However, before we look forward, I’d like us to look back to the last biennium. We can be proud of many achievements and should use the momentum gain from them to propel us into the future.
We developed a District Strategy, the Virtuous Zonta Circle, to emphasize the inter-connection and synergistic energy of coupling Service, Advocacy, community awareness, and membership. We saw increased cross-club and strategic partner collaborations such as the Area 4 Zonta Says No Advocacy march and St Charles, Geneva, Batavia’s LunaFest. We surveyed and trained members on Advocacy skills and found; 1) we do more advocacy then we realize and 2) Telling Your Story is powerful and easier than you think. We added to our ‘Next Generation of Zonta’ pool with new Z and Golden Z Clubs. While official biennial Membership statistics revealed no growth, we also had no loss in overall membership. Therefore, the initial 5% growth did buffer our end of the year losses.
Now let’s look forward. “What do we want to look like in the next 100 years?” To keep our Clubs and District vital, we need to build on these achievements to meet our challenges.
We have an aging membership with several Clubs not only small but feeling old and tired. The Evanston Club recently disbanded for just that reason. Insular clubs are at risk also since they miss out on re-vitalization through networking and Zonta education at workshop and conference. Leadership “burn-out” and hesitancy by Club members to step up to Leadership roles is prevalent in many of our Clubs. Club projects and fundraisers also have a tendency to get old, tired and no longer relevant to our members or the community. And, the age-old “What is Zonta?” still is a problem.
Again, let’s look back and not be discouraged. We have our past achievements to build on as we deal with these challenges. Network, share, collaborate, and step up to these challenges and our Clubs and District will be stronger and better ready for the next 100 years. Your new leadership team is eager to address these challenges, but remember it is the responsibility of every member to “Add Your Voice” to the effort. For “If not now, then when?” and “If not you, then who?”
It was wonderful to see so many District 6 Zontians at our District 6 conference in Normal Illinois! It was full of energy, purpose and passion for Zonta and our mission. We learned from experts and each other to become more effective as leaders, clubs and areas, creating a stronger Zonta community. I am inspired by such dedicated professionals in District 6 working together to empower women and girls through service and advocacy. Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference, and big thanks again to the conference committee for their outstanding work.