Dear WCL Members,
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as President of the Women’s Community League (WCL) for the 2018-2020 term. I would like to thank each of you strong, intelligent, and caring women for your support and friendship. Thank you to our amazing Board for their tireless work.
The coronavirus pandemic may have abruptly ended our WCL schedule, but it has not completely shut us down. Board meetings have continued virtually and the slate for 2020-2022, as proposed by the Nominating Committee, was approved by the Board at our April Zoom meeting. I am happy to announce the general membership, in an online vote, has approved the new Board of Officers and the two proposed By-Law changes. Thank you for participating!
As I reflect back, there were many changes that impacted WCL during my tenure. Highlights:
- JST & the Clothing Exchange - WCL vacated the Barn/Clothing Exchange in 2019 as the result of the successful bid by the Friends of JST for a renovated complex, which will include a restaurant. Closing the Clothing Exchange was a laborious and emotional process. The Clothing Exchange and Cafe represented a tangible home for the WCL, as well as a primary source for scholarship funding. Years of WCL history were in the Barn. The transition could not have happened without the hard work of Adrian Proll, Judy Gaughan, and Mary Ann Riordan. Countless hours were spent taking inventory, slashing prices, purging and donating clothing, reviewing records, and ultimately moving all important documents to storage. The good news is that WCL negotiated a contract between the Selectmen and Friends of JST to secure three rooms in the new complex when it is completed.
- Financial - Thanks to Treasurer Mary Ann Riordan and an ad hoc Financial Strategy Committee led by Claire Callewaert, more than thirteen accounts were consolidated, and a plan implemented, to invest and diversify funds.
- Communication/Website - During the summer of 2018, through the leadership, knowledge, and guidance of WCL Webmaster Elizabeth Kim, a new WCL website was designed. WCLweston.org is interactive and can be utilized for forums, events, access to the membership directory, event calendar, volunteering opportunities, and - as we now know - even voting. In addition, WCL increased publicity, with multi-page articles published in Wellesley-Weston Magazine, Weston Neighbors, and the Town Crier. Social media coverage came courtesy of the talented duo of Lisa Curlett and Susie Shortsleeve.
- Standing Events – The absence of the Barn meant other venues were necessary for events. Judy Gaughan and Jan Feldman secured the Recreation Center for Friendsgiving and Speaker Series events were held in members’ homes. The Council on Aging allowed the WCL to host luncheons on the first Thursday of each month in their Community Room. All in all, WCL maintained a robust social calendar.
- Centennial Events - One hundred years of WCL was commemorated at several key events. Colleen Kettle and Leslye Fligor hosted a wonderful Centennial Gala celebration at the Weston Golf Club. Additionally, the Centennial Scholarship Fund was established to supplement scholarships. Special thanks to all members who supported this fund, helping WCL maintain its strong levels of scholarship funding.
- Winter Festival – As founding chair of the Winter Festival Committee, I am especially proud of this capstone event. A new tradition was created as we began celebrating WCL’s Centennial Year that gave credence to our motto “Building Community Since 1919”. The Winter Festival and Tree Lighting is an example of WCL’S history of altruism in the Weston community. As a result of the ideation and hard work of our WCL volunteer workforce, and in conjunction with town management and other volunteer groups, the WCL established Winter Festival as one of this community’s signature events. Over 1500 participants of all ages participated in what was a resounding success in the first two years of its existence – even in the face of a 6” snowstorm preceding last year’s activities. The Winter Festival and Tree Lighting is a tradition we hope to continue for years to come.
Despite the many changes over my term, WCL has stayed true to its social, philanthropic, and educational mission. Even during these tumultuous times, our organization is strong and relevant. I look forward to the leadership of Kelly and Claire and the incoming 2020-2022 WCL Board.
Thank you, once again, to the membership and to my many friends, for your generous support during my tenure! I want to emphasize my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to serve as your President. It has been a rewarding and enriching experience.
WCL President 2018-2020
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” -John F. Kennedy