Meet Anna Weber '09 from NDWC of Greater Dupage County, IL. This brand new group, with members ranging from empty nesters to moms of toddlers, hosts a thriving book club and hopes to expand its community service in 2020. Weber encourages us to kick off the New Year by stretching our minds, trying new things, and connecting with other alumnae...
Why did you get involved with ND Women Connect?
When I first moved to the Chicago suburbs, I did not have many friends in the area, so I reached out to the local alumni club. After touching base with them and seeing the lack of alumnae involvement, I decided to just dive in and sent out an email to all the registered alumnae in the area. Several amazing women replied, and we tagged on to the NDWC Shared read for our first event and have kept rolling since then. That’s the how. The why is completely selfish - craving other fabulous women to do things with.
What are some of the best events you've planned with the DuPage County group?
Although our group is still very new (our first official event was just in April 2019), our book club is going strong. We meet every 4-6 weeks and have approximately 12-15 ladies at each event. We have also had several Ladies' Nights Out at local bar/restaurants that have been great. We are trying to kick start our volunteering element, and we recently made dinner for the families of our local Ronald McDonald House. We are also looking at partnering with a local children’s home for ongoing volunteering in 2020.
Have you faced any challenges? If so, how have you managed them?
Like any group of active and busy women, we find our biggest challenges being finding dates/times that work for the majority, enticing new faces to join activities, and finding new activities to do. We try to vary the days and times of our activities. In emails and other communications, we often use Facebook, we always note that new faces are welcome and encouraged. As far as new activities, we send out surveys to gauge interest and ask for new ideas. We also follow some other great NDWC groups to see what they are up to.
What is your favorite thing about your NDWC group?
One of my favorite things about the group is the age range and the varying seasons of life that are represented in our group. We have some ladies in the first graduating class of women at ND, some brand new grads, empty nesters, and moms of toddlers. It is great to know that there is support if you need it. I also love our book club meetings. I know I often fall into the rut of daily life and my mind is not always stretched as far as it could be, but sitting with all these intelligent women and having amazing discussions about books and overarching themes is very refreshing.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to start a local NDWC group?
You can do it! We were in the exact same position less than a year ago and now we are up and running and looking to grow. The first meeting awkwardness will dissipate quickly and then you can move on to the good stuff. Also remember, you are not the only lady out there thinking you need another friend, so just take a shot and do it.
Many thanks to Anna Weber of NDWC Greater DuPage County, IL for sharing her 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.