For the past 15 months, as we’ve navigated the pandemic, health and vitality has been front and center for each of us.
No doubt, during this past year our chapter has risen to the challenge to stay healthy and vital as well. We quickly pivoted to virtual meetings, mastering the art of Zoom, which allowed us to stay in touch. Though, it was challenging to keep the personal relationships and, especially, to build new relationships with our new members.
We’ve had great programs this year – I am amazed by our Professional Development Committee’s ability to find all the speakers. Here the pandemic appears to be a blessing in disguise as doing virtual meetings gave us the opportunity to hear great women from all over the States share insights on topics that the membership is interested in! And having, on average, about 60% of the membership attend our virtual meetings, just confirms how well chosen the speakers and topics were!
A group like Maia Chapter always sees some people leave and others join. Over the last 12 months we lost roughly one quarter of the membership. But we also gained several new members, actually more than we lost! In fact, we are only 1 member short of qualifying for Best Practices Level 3, a national honor measuring a chapter’s health and vitality.
From my perspective, it’s unfortunate that people often don’t renew their membership after their first year. In my experience, it helps to develop a deeper connection with a new group when you are willing to engage with that group and the people in the group.
I am very glad that 2 years ago I was asked if I would be interested in joining Maia Chapter’s Board. Being the chapter’s Secretary has given me valuable insights into both our local and the national organization. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know the other Board members and to form closer relationships. I am happy to continue on the Board as the 2021-2022 Treasurer – thank you all for your confidence in me!
Aside from being on the Board I have also gladly been involved in some aspects of the chapter’s Public Relations activities. This is an area where I see both opportunity and need to increase our level of activity, and to extend the number of people involved! We have a social media presence, but we could do more. We have this great new webpage and all the tools coming with the website service, but we don’t fully utilize it! And then there is the Maia Messenger, our chapter newsletter, where it would be to our advantage to actually have team working on it.
Publicity is a critical function in the operation of our chapter. Through our publicity activities we let others know about us, pique their interest to attend our meetings and hopefully join our group. New members, with their skills, interests and diversity, add to our chapter’s vitality and attractiveness.
Yes, this summer will be different. Thanks to the broad availability of vaccines, this summer will be the time for many of us to meet people in-person again and to re-connect – with far-away living family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. For me personally, this summer also means going to Europe and after more than 1½ years, finally seeing and hugging my family over there again!
For the chapter this ability to be together again means that we will start discussing how to meet in the future. Right now, I am looking forward to seeing all of you at our July picnic. It will be so good to finally meet in person – to re-connect with those whom I haven’t seen in person for a long time, and to meet our new members for the first time!
Happy summer, everybody! Enjoy, stay safe and well!
Secretary Maia Chapter