Hola…Oi…Ni hao ma…Kon nichiwa…Ahn-yang Haseo…Hello!
I arrived in Orlando a day early so Diana & I could take in the Epcot Center….what a wonderful adventure that turned out to be. Here we are at the beginning of our journey!
Despite the humidity which I am no longer used to, the SIA Convention in Orlando was fantastic! The theme was Celebrating Our Story and each general session told one chapter. Over 800 women gathered to listen to our SIA leadership and board tell our story, participate in workshops, hear how our Live Your Dreams award has made a life-changing impact on one of our federation winners, learn from our keynote speakers, Dan Pallotta, Emilia Reyes, Yvonne Simpson and Dayna Steele, meet new friends, re-connect with old ones, let loose and have fun! We even learned how to say some common words and phrases in 5 other languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Korean. There were many photo ops…especially since my roommate, Diana Orlando (ok…no jokes) had a selfie stick she loved using.
From Dayna Steele, we learned how to find our inner rock star….From SI President Yvonne Simpson, we heard about how “Soroptimist offers unique possibilities through advocacy and project work for women to be change agents to accomplish human rights for all,” and we had an opportunity to support the SI Project in Nepal (which of course, I did!)…and from Dan Pallotta, we discovered a different, better way to think about how charitable organizations spend more to make more for their programs. He completely changed my way of thinking. You can see Dan on youtube.com. He has several TED Talks which I recommend listening to.
The Convention kicked off with a Friendship Dinner on Wednesday night. You are encouraged to come in an outfit that depicts where you are from. Once again, the women from Korea went all out. If Susan looks funny to you, it’s because she was born and still is a Canadian citizen but has lived for many years in the US. Notice Diana is red, white & blue, complete with custom mouse ears!
Susan & Diana with our Korean Soropti-sisters
Our Soropti-sisters from Brazil, South America
2015-2016 SIA President, Sam (from our very own Desert Coast Region) began our “Story”.
Our incoming SIA President, Rosemary Reid, gave us “Lessons From Geese” (transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network and is based on the work of Milton Olsen). We all “honked”.
We were encouraged at lunches to sit with others we did not know. One time, I sat next to Dolly O’Neill-Mejia, the woman who started the first and only club in Ecuador, who gave me a standing invitation to come and visit. Another time, I sat with two women from New Jersey and another, I actually met a new friend from SI Laguna Beach, MJ.
New friends from New Jersey, Vickie & Arlene
The challenge was to make a new friend, take a selfie and post it on the SIA FB page
Because we were the Desert Coast Region winners of the Public Awareness Award, we had a display at the Conference. I am excited to say that all of the handouts I created were taken!
Our Celebrating Success display at the Convention.
And, although she was unable to attend at the last minute, we also celebrated our very own Cathy Standiford, who is a member of the Laurel Society Inner Circle.
We listened to the stories of the three Live Your Dream Federation winners, one of who was there to tell us about her life in person.
One of three federation winners, Terriea Wadud from Western Canada.
Our Fundraising Council adapted “It’s A Small World” and educated us in a very entertaining way.
SIA CEO, Liz Lucas talked about shifting our focus to a “glocal” mindset and discussed our barriers to reaching our goal of increasing our collective impact:
- public awareness/recognition
And, in an unprecedented first, in April of this year the first Soroptimist club in Jerusalem was chartered with members from the Muslim, Jewish & Christian faiths. (Author’s comment: Maybe it will be Soroptimist women who change the world!)
I attended several breakout workshops: Taking Care of Yourself in a Crazy World; Dream It, Be It – a Panel Discussion with members from four clubs who have successful programs and one on Fundraising: Beyond Events: Creative Ways to Raise Money for Your Clubs Programs (like smile.amazon.com, cardsforcauses.com, etc.). There were so many….it was hard to choose.
And, we participated in a Convention Project: creating reusable sanitary pads for women who have to stay home from school 5 days a month if they do not have protection.
The next SIA Convention will be in July, 2018 in Yokohama, Japan and one of my newer friends (we met at the DCR Spring Conference), President Elect, Yoko Ichigatani, is looking forward to welcoming all of us!
Yoko and I at the “hat-themed” Laurel Society Party
I could go on and on and post more pictures too but, I am anxious to get this posted so, I hope this will entice you to want to join in the fun in Yokohama (I know I am starting to save my pennies now)!
But, before I sign off, I thought you might be interested in knowing that our federation has 1290 clubs with the US having the most with Japan running a close second and Korea growing the fastest.
So…until I blog again…Adios..Adeus…Zai jian…Sayonara…Ahn-yangi-Kaseo…Goodbye 😎