President's Message, June, 2022

The Spark!

I’m on a high. A natural high (smile). We just celebrated and honored our 2022 Woman of the Year, Karen Fitting, with a small in-person celebration!

It was everything I wanted it to be for her. We were all full of laughter and good conversation, and I personally loved getting to know our new Woman of the Year and in-coming Board Member a little better, as she glowed with an ear-to-ear smile. It was the best warm and fuzzy afternoon gathering of ABWA sisters, and a reminder of how precious and uplifting an in-person gathering can be.

But it was even more than that for me. On the inside, I was silently glowing as I recalled my own personal Woman of the Year journey. I recalled clearly, how receiving the award literally sparked the flame I needed in my life.

It was in 2007-2008 when we had huge gatherings of 50+ women; I believe it was the former Bay Area Council hosting an event to honor all the local chapter’s Women of the Year!

I loved attending these events, and was so excited to attend, until I was advised that I would have to speak to the crowd about my experience as WOY. Immediately upon hearing that, I turned stone cold. As you may remember, I was mortified to even speak – much less speak to a crowd!

But, as usual, I had a message. And somehow, I got that message on paper. And somehow, I stood in front of a gzillion women. And somehow, I gave my first speech, ever!

I will never forget the sea of eyes upon me. There were so many smiles, and even some tears, and the applause is still music to my ears. I did an internal happy dance and said with a silent scream, “Oh my goodness! I really did it!” It was an unforgettable milestone moment for me.

But it didn’t end there. As I was walking to my seat, a woman came up to me to tell me how much she loved my speech. We started chatting, and have grown from acquaintances to now dear friends. That woman was the then Executive Director of the organization I now work for. It still astonishes me that through this ABWA WOY moment, I made a connection that led me to a place where I have found more career fulfillment than I ever thought possible for myself!

But it’s even more than that. Being WOY didn’t open the doors for me, it led me on a path for me to open them myself. It was during those days that I discovered all that was beautiful about ABWA outside of Pathfinder—through my first National Leadership Conference!

Woman of the Year isn’t just an award that you hold. It isn’t only an honor bestowed upon you for a period of time. It is something bigger than that. It’s a journey and a lifetime honor and recognition of outstanding achievements in excellence that have a ripple effect – an imprint on the recipients and our chapter.

Barbara Jenkins and Jackie Welch: it has been a pleasure honoring you as WOY this past year. Thank you for all your time, talent, and heart! You are role models for all of us! Thank you for your contributions to our chapter that not only led us to honor you, but for the imprint you continue to leave upon our chapter to enhance the membership experience for all our current members and the new members to come.

Karen Fitting - our new and dear Woman of the Year! Congratulations to you for your outstanding achievements in excellence: your career, education, Pathfinder involvement/contributions and community connections! While we know each WOY journey is different, my greatest wish for you is that you enjoy and benefit from the spark, the fruition of your contributions and achievements. May the spark create a flame that lights your ABWA journey for years and years to come! 

In Gratitude and ABWA Friendship,

Rebecca Lalwani
2021-2022 Pathfinder President

June 2022 Newsletter

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We meet the Third Wednesday every month
for the time being, we will meet live online.

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Meeting begins at 7pm
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