By Emily Ledet '07, '12 MSA
Meet, Emily Ledet '07, '12 MSA -- our NDWC Regional Director for the South who also oversees NDWC Nashville. She encourages you to join the Shared Read, talks about the challenges of succession planning, and shares details of the Nashville Galetine's Day event (why not try a Sunday afternoon get-together?)...
Why did you get involved with ND Women Connect?
My best friends are still the women I met and lived with at Notre Dame. When I first moved back home to Nashville 5 years ago, the ND Women Connect coordinator was hosting some really incredible, fun, and well-attended events that reminded me so much of that bonding that takes place in the dorms at ND. When the Nashville alumni club had a ‘re-launch’ of sorts two years ago, I asked to get involved to hopefully recreate some of that magic I experienced with those prior events.
What are some of the best events you've planned with the Nashville group?
Our ‘pour your own candle’ event at a local candle company was really popular – everyone got to make their own designer candle with a scent and vessel of their choice, plus there was wine and snacks! We usually participate in the national Shared Read, which tends to be a more intimate event but I love the opportunity to get to know a few women more closely. This year we hosted a “Galentine’s Day” social as an excuse to just have casual conversation on a Sunday afternoon -- that event brought out a lot of new faces across year groups and backgrounds and it was really great to see that participation!
Have you faced any challenges? If so, how have you managed them?
I don’t think these are specific to Nashville, but our two biggest challenges are event attendance & succession planning. Nashville is a pretty spread out city so it can be difficult to choose an area where women can get to easily, and it’s impossible to find a day and time that works for everyone, but I just try to mix it up and remember that any attendance is good attendance! Additionally, I think it’s always good to get new volunteers with fresh ideas so our group can continue to generate interest and host fun events, and it can be a challenge to find someone to help carry that torch once my term is up.
What is your favorite thing about your NDWC group?
I really just love getting to know the other women. Our group has been blessed by women across all class years and all sorts of professional and personal backgrounds attending our events; I love to see that diversity and hear their stories. Also, selfishly, I just really enjoy finding different events in town that I maybe wouldn’t do on my own but that I think might interest the group - it pushes me out of my comfort zone!
What advice would you give to those who are looking to start a local NDWC group?
Just do it! I know you might be concerned that you might have low attendance or it’s a large time commitment, but some of the best events where strong bonds are built are the more intimate ones, and you can really keep it very simple. Participate in the Shared Read where the national board provides a template and questions to help host a book club, have a simple happy hour, or piggyback on a free event already happening in your town. You can accomplish a lot with a really small time commitment!
Many thanks to the ladies of NDWC Nashville for sharing their advice and experiences for this piece. Let us know if you would like your group to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.
Want to find your nearest local group? Visit the Local Groups page on the NDWC website.