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spring open house Showcases Members' thoughts about AAWGT

AAWGT's annual Spring Open House on April 6 started with social time, lovely food, and conversation at the Loews Annapolis Hotel on West Street.

Mary Grace Folwell welcomed everyone with her natural humor and enthusiasm.  She acknowledged the new members and guests attending and offered each the opportunity to introduce themselves.  The evening's seven speakers shared thoughts about why they joined and their feelings about AAWGT.  Three common threads quickly emerged:  giving back, getting involved, and wanting to know local like-minded women.  It was agreed, "We aspire to seek and support initiatives that help women and children in Anne Arundel County."

Sarah Morse, Chair of AAWGT's Membership Committee, spoke first.  Although she has only been a member for a year, she has taken a leadership role and has found help and support from past leaders.  Sarah embraces the mission to serve vulnerable women and children in Anne Arundel County, ad discussed the different ways to be a member, finding the level that is right for you. She loves the breadth and depth of the women in the organization.  To enrich this, she started a new initiative called Anne Arundel Women Getting Together, monthly gatherings with no agenda other than building friendships.  She encouraged everyone to come to a "Getting Together" event just to have fun and meet others.  

Lynne Davidson joined in 2006.  She has a long line of community service in her family.  She was one of the founding members of AAWGT, working on the vision and mission.  AAWGT has been a successful venture -- the future of philanthropy is female, focused, fearless, friendly and fun.  It is a pleasure to be a part of the group.  

Martha Schwieters came to AAWGT with an ulterior motive of having powerful women help her theater group.  The theater group has since dissolved but she greatly enjoys her involvement with AAWGT.  She believes in the mission and feels that if we are asking people to give money, the organization needs to be transparent.  By belonging to the group you are a part of the solution. 

Lynn Buhl, who joined in 2006, knew no one and was working in DC and unable to attend events.  Once she joined a committee she felt at ease and got to know many people.  She believes in women helping women and AAWGT's mission.  Lynn has learned a lot from the educational programs and met fantastic women whom she respects. 

Kate Fritz, the newest member to speak, joined because she is one of the only women in her professional role as Director of the South River Federation and because she believes in synergy.  Her goal is the greatest good for the longest time.  She commented that women leaders are good at building social networks.  She looks forward to working with everyone and meeting them. 

Molly Knipe, CEO of YWCA, applied for a grant and found how careful, thoughtful , and strategic the organization wanted to be before they gave money.  She loves her job and believes in working with women and children and for a non-profit.  She was welcomed quickly and felt embraced by the group, being involved in strategic planning.  It feels like a family, is meaningful and has helped her further embrace this community.  

Sharon Stewart was a founding member and at the beginning wondered how much the organization would grow.  By the end of the first year, AAWGT had 60 members.  She had moved from DC and loves what you can do in a community with philanthropy and the ability to be connected with others.  So many people have stepped up to make things happen and AAWGT is run better than many of the places she has worked.  Sharon shared that she is moving to Wilmington, NC soon. 

Linda Eggbeer who joined in 2013 acknowledged Sharon's vision and strong leadership in the formation of AAWGT.  She also pointed to the leadership role that many women in the room have assumed over the years to make it the organization it is today. 

As a token of AAWGT's thanks to Sharon, a memory book is being created for her to have in her new home. 

Submitted by Cori Dykman

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