Patricia Forshee of the Greater Sarasota NDWC group talks about how word of mouth is the best advertising, shares an array of programming and event ideas, and reminds us of the power of enthusiasm.
Why did you get involved with ND Women Connect?
The previous NDWC coordinator was promoted, which created a vacancy in the Club's position. The Board president approached me to fill the vacancy and as an avid friend/supporter of ND, I gladly accepted. I have enjoyed the experience ever since because Sarasota NDWC women bring a wealth of experiences and ideas to our group.
What are some of the best events you've planned with the Sarasota group?
On the Hesburgh Day of Service, we joined the ND Club of Greater Sarasota's Board of Director's members and friends to continue its project of cleaning the Friendship Center's landscape beds, weeding, trimming bushes, and spreading mulch.
The NDWC group continued to support and assist Board Member Chris Kernan's Warm Wishes Blanket Drive. During Christmas season, new and gently-used donated blankets are distributed to the homeless, migrant workers and the working poor in our local counties. 511 blankets were distributed at two locations in 2018.
Additional Events include: the Shared Book Read, rum and wine tasting socials, football game watches, and a T-Shirt Purchase Project Celebrating the ND Women's Basketball Team 2018 National Championship. Most recently, we initiated a Catholic Schools' Project to support local Catholic schools' libraries for supplemental learning materials.
Have you faced any challenges? If so, how have you managed them?
Our biggest challenge has been increasing participation in our NDWC events. Our club has an email list of ND women which includes alumnae, recent graduates, parents, grandparents and friends of ND. We realize our members live quite active lives, and face-to-face feedback tells us that email communications of upcoming NDWC events work for them as they mark their calendars to attend.
What is your favorite thing about your NDWC group?
I love the social interactions among ND members and friends. Sharing the variety of experiences our members and friends have had in their lives - beginning with their original home-town life, college years, raising families, developing careers, their travels, and retirement living - is quite exhilarating to hear.
What advice would you give to those who are looking to start a local NDWC group?
Talk to ND club members and friends and ask what their interests are and what past activities they have enjoyed that could be added to your program.
Just start a NDWC group, even if you only have two or three committed women for an event or a book discussion. Once you have a couple of events/opportunities for women to gather, then more women will hear about it and participate. Word of Mouth is the best advertising.
Be open to new ideas. Your positive enthusiasm and energy will be the attraction for women to join your NDWC group. Simply give it a try.
Many thanks to Pat Forshee for sharing her advice and experiences for this piece. Want to find your nearest local group? Visit the Local Groups page on the NDWC website.