Get to Know Our Local Groups: 5 Questions with Flint, Michigan

NDWC Flint celebrating St. Patrick's DayEmily de Araujo Snider '13, ‘14 of the new - and award winning! - Flint NDWC group shares her secrets for building a robust communications database, encourages you to host a Project Mom baby shower, and extols the benefits of being a small group.

Why did you get involved with ND Women Connect?

The women associated with Notre Dame, whether alumnae, mothers of students, or friends of the University, have always inspired me when I get to connect with them and experience life alongside of them. This was true on campus and even more true after graduation at NDWC Detroit! 

When I moved to Flint, I found myself missing these connections and the ND Club of Flint had never had a NDWC group. Through requesting to attend a ND Club of Flint board meeting, I was able to ask for the board's blessing to start a NDWC group for Flint. With the board's approval and support from the Alumni Association, I learned how to email our local Flint women, planned our first events, and eventually built connections and friendships with the awesome ND women in Flint!  It has been so rewarding to see the group start and grow, and I look forward to the rest of 2019 for us.

What are some of the best events you've planned with the Flint group?

Service events have a way of bringing together ND women unlike most other events; Notre Dame Women are truly a Force for Good.  NDWC Flint hosted a Project Mom Baby Shower in December 2018 for a young Flint mother and her 1 month old baby.  Both mother and baby attended the shower and together we played a couple of group games and opened the shower gifts. The gifts ranged from pacifiers to onesies to pack-n-plays to a homemade blanket by one of our ND Flint women!  

Have you faced any challenges? If so, how have you managed them?

Definitely!  Moving to Flint, there was a lot of hesitation that there would be no interest in a Women Connect group and not enough women in the area, but I remained optimistic and willing to put in a little bit of elbow grease. Through the ND database, I saw that there were a number of women listed in our area with no email address.  Over the next few weeks, I called over 70 local women to introduce myself, explain about NDWC Flint, and ask if they'd be interested in receiving our communication emails that come out once a month. From there, we were able to form a robust communication database for the women in our club area which helped me feel confident that the communication about our events was landing with the right people.

What is your favorite thing about your NDWC group?

I love that Notre Dame brings together women of all ages and backgrounds in our area.  One of our women received her PhD in Psychology at Notre Dame in 1980 and attended when the Psychology Department was first formed. She worked in gerontology research at Notre Dame and her contribution to our Spring Shared Read book discussion on Being Mortal was so appreciated by the group. We had a UM alumna attend our Project Mom Baby Shower because she heard about the event through a friend and wanted to be a part!

What advice would you give to those who are looking to start a local NDWC group?

In spite of what I hear a lot about small clubs, I truly do believe there are women in your local club area that want to connect!  The first plunge in connecting with your local women may take a little bit of effort and creativity but once you build momentum, it's easy to keep the group going.  Remember that personal connections make all the difference, especially in smaller club areas, so don't feel like you need to make it all happen yourself.  Be sure to welcome your St. Mary's sisters, mothers of current and past students, and alumni wives.  I have a banner on every newsletter that explains that our events are not just for ND alumnae, as you would be surprised how many readers assume that to be the case.  Our group is rich in our diversity of backgrounds and I wouldn't have it any other way!  Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Many thanks to Emily de Araujo Snider '13, '14 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.

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