You Go, Girls!

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You Go, Girls!

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

“Chick trips” and girlfriend getaways are a booming trend in travel


they spent $125 billion on travel, demonstrating not only the collective power of their pocketbooks, but also their independence. Other statistics are equally compelling: • 75 percent of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women. • Women make 70 percent of all travel decisions. • In the past six years, there has been a staggering 230 percent increase in the number of womenonly travel companies. In addition to freedom and adventure, women seek a specific type of experience when they travel—one that often includes opportunities for learning and giving back, and situations that provide self-nurturing. So, they may study haute cuisine in Southern France, bathe in natural hot springs (onsen) in Japan, or make a meaningful contribution through a volunteer vacation in Brazil, China, Peru or Costa Rica.

Wanderlust and lipstick Until recently, women rarely traveled alone—or even with girlfriends. Traditionally, they planned family vacations to make sure everyone else was happy, safe and entertained. Now, women—who have gained financial independence and garnered greater self-confidence—are saying, “It’s my turn.” “Twenty years ago it would have been unacceptable for a woman to say to her husband or her 10year-old child, ‘I’m going to take off on my own and travel with a girlfriend

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009


velyn Hannon of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, loved traveling with her husband, staying in the most elegant of hotels. Then they divorced. Devastated, she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to go anywhere on her own. Instead of wallowing, Hannon gave herself a challenge: if she could go away for five weeks and thrive, the trip would be a metaphor for the rest of her life. Without much money she asked a travel agency to find her the cheapest ticket to Europe. At age 42 and toting a backpack, Hannon headed off for Belgium. “I have to admit I probably cried for most of those 35 days,” she says. “I would see a sunset in the park and cry. I would eat alone and cry. But I also smiled a lot because I began to sense my strength. I was able to make connections along the way. And because of the people I met, I had dinner alone for only five nights. When I came back, I was bitten by the travel bug.” Since then, Hannon, who at 68 calls herself the “grandmother of travel,” has traveled across the world, from enrolling at a floating semester at sea worldwide to indulging at a thermal spa in Tuscany to experiencing the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Her globe-trotting evoked a desire to help other women connect internationally, and help them travel safely and well by founding Journeywoman , a free online travel resource offering networking tools and an online newsletter chock full of women’s insider travel tips. Today, Journeywoman is one of hundreds of services throughout the world that includes online sites, books and women-only travel agencies tapping into the phenomenal growth of women and travel. More than ever before, women are traveling the world alone or with gal pals, or signing up for allwomen tours. Taking trips with names such as girlfriend getaways, women’s wanderings or flying solo, women of all kinds—young, old, single, married, divorced and widowed—are taking to the highways and byways in record numbers. According to the Travel Channel, in 2007 32 million American women traveled independently and in 2008


Women and Travel continued from page 13

Safety First It may sound boring and cliché, says Marybeth Bond, but better safe than sorry when traveling alone as a woman. “If you wouldn’t walk in an unknown neighborhood after dark at home, don’t do it overseas,” advises Bond of Northern California, an international travel expert and author. A desk clerk or hotel concierge is a woman’s best friend, she adds, because they know what areas to avoid. SIA President-elect Cathy Standiford pays close attention to safety and security, especially if she’s traveling alone. “I try not to put myself in unsafe situations, while still trying to retain a sense of adventure,” she says. Bond also advises that women avoid wearing jewelry, even jewelry that is cheap but looks expensive, as to prevent looking like a target. “Dress moderately when you travel,” she adds. “Dress as women do in the culture you’re visiting. It may be great to dress in a tank top and shorts in Hawaii, but very inappropriate in a small village in Mexico.”

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Fear of the unknown looms large for women when they travel, so travelers should make sure to do research before they hit the road, says Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, a San Francisco, California, based-travel writer. “Find out what the culture is like, what their belief system is and find out what’s going on in that country’s government,” she says. “Check government websites to make sure, for example, there wasn’t a recent bombing or military unrest.”


The most important safety tip? “Don’t leave your intuition at home,” Bond says. “Listen to that little inner voice. If something feels wrong or is off, listen to it, get out and move on quickly.”—M.Z.

or take a group tour.’ It would’ve been an odd thing,” says Beth Whitman, author of “Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo” . “Now, for our own personal growth, we’re getting out there, traveling more on our own. We have a little discretionary income to take off, have that mental health time, and leave the family behind.” Whitman, a self-described “travel addict” and solo traveler for 20 years, has been teaching travel classes in the Seattle, Washington, area for 16 years. Providing a wealth of information to participants, she has backpacked through Nepal’s Himalayas, trekked the remote highlands of Vietnam, and maneuvered the back roads of France’s Dijon region in a rental car. While not all women may want to be as adventurous as Whitman, many do reach a point in their lives where they’re ready to take some type of trip on their own. Travel expert Teresa Rodriguez Williamson calls these occasions “travel triggers,” which occur during times of transition—both positive and negative—such as when a woman gets a promotion or hits a significant birthday; when she is newly divorced or widowed; or when she has recovered from a serious illness. Rodriguez Williamson’s own travel trigger was a divorce. Whitman adds, “Most of the women who come to my workshops are divorced, newly divorced or widowed,” she says. “They have some money and they don’t have the confidence to get out there. If they’ve been in a relationship for a really long time and they’re used to someone else making the decisions—or at least bounce decisions off of—and they’re suddenly on their own, they’re looking for support. That’s what they come to me for. They just need a little boost of confidence.” Whitman offers an example of a friend who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate her 80th birthday. “She’s an amazing woman and I look at her and I’m inspired by her,” she says. “That inspiration helps build my confidence and helps build the confidence of other women.”

Learning to fly solo The number one reason women don’t travel alone is fear, says Rodriguez Williamson. Fear for their safety, but also fear that they won’t know what to do when they got off the plane. “That sounds more like insecurity than fear,” says the San Francisco-based author of “Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” Rodriguez Williamson believes most of their concerns are based on lack of knowledge, which was the reason she founded Tango Diva , a woman-oriented online community that dispenses travel advice and encourages women to take solo journeys. Pushing past their fears, women are traveling today because it’s become more socially acceptable. “It’s OK that you’re not married yet … it doesn’t matter. It’s OK not to be in a coupled relationship,” she says. “And as more women are divorced they ask, ‘Now what am I going to do? I don’t have my husband to go with and my kids are grown up.’”

Travel as transformation Rhonda,* a woman featured on the Journeywoman website, faced a difficult transition after the death of her husband of 41 years. Quitting her job, she sold her house and car, and trekked off to a farmhouse

Taking Action “As women we use travel to get to know ourselves better. When you have gone away, you get some distance on your life, career and relationships. You come back stronger with more clarity, knowing who you are, what you love to do, what you’re good at and what you want to change in your life.” in Montepulciano, Italy. She spoke little Italian and drove a stick shift Fiat all over the hills and valleys of Tuscany. “Getting lost countless times didn’t seem to worry me,” she shared. “I was alone and free to find my way as long as it took. Each day I faced new challenges knowing that some unknown treasure was waiting for me—a monastery at the top of a winding hill; walled villages hundreds of years old; wine vineyards as far as the eye could see … creating this physical space where I alone existed allowed me to open myself to the healing power of my experience. I returned home after two months feeling strengthened and better able to take the next steps.” Rhonda’s story points to a fact Marybeth Bond knows well: Women use travel “as a chrysalis from which to jump start change.” If anything, travel helps women get through those rough life passages says the travel guru and author of 11 books, including “Gutsy Women” and “Best Girlfriends Getaways

Worldwide.” Not only is the travel industry just waking up the economic power of women, Bond says, but women are discovering who they are when they travel. “As women we use travel to get to know ourselves better. When you have gone away, you get some distance on your life, career and relationships. You come back stronger with more clarity, knowing who you are, what you love to do, what you’re good at and what you want to change in your life,” says Bond. “We use travel as a way to come back and make changes. We also travel to deepen the relationships we have, whether we go with our girlfriends, by ourselves or with our partners.” Jill,* for example, had been trying to overcome a fear of voyaging solo, feeling unable to handle the “existential angst” that gripped her on occasion. While traveling in Southern Chile, however, she was chatting with a woman next to her on a bus to the port city of Puerto Montt. “When I told her I was traveling alone she smiled and hugged me

Club members can empower themselves, while improving the lives of others through volunteer vacations. Participate in trips such as Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, which trains women to make a difference by building homes and communities. Visit for more information on where to build and how to get involved. Check out websites, such as for other volunteer vacation options and destinations. Soroptimist Friendship Links connect clubs worldwide and allow them to share projects and offer support and friendship to each other. By forming a Friendship Link with a Soroptimist club in another country, members can enjoy the opportunity of exchanging hospitality, meeting Soroptimists from around the world, and experiencing foreign cultures. To establish a Friendship Link, visit the program resources section of the members area at Women don’t need to journey far to feel the empowering benefits of travel. Clubs can coordinate womenonly travel groups to local destinations and attractions. Survey club members and other women in the community to gauge areas of interest, and research the findings to see if discounted group rates are available. Visit local tourism bureaus and websites for ideas on where to go and what to do. Clubs can encourage members to travel to interesting destinations by attending SI and SIA conventions, opportunities that are member benefits. Promote safe travel by offering members tips such as traveling in groups, taking off name badges before leaving meeting areas, and staying alert of their surroundings. For more safety tips visit .

Leigh Wintz has traveled to countries all over the world, where she has participated in many “volunteer vacations.” She also travels frequently in her capacity as SIA’s executive director, and enjoys the opportunity to experience different cultures. (Left) Leigh volunteers on a medical mission with Operation Smile. (Right) Leigh performs a ceremonial purification before entering a tea house in Japan.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Women and Travel continued on page 16


Places to go, people to meet Women and Travel continued from page 15

The world is a big place, so how does one begin her travel adventures? The experts advise taking baby steps, first going with a group of women and then going it alone. Women should do a little bit of research to discover their passion, be it gardening, theater, or music. Theme-oriented travel is a good way to deepen experiences on the road and connect travel to passions. Today, pampering escapes, such as a spa resort or cruise, are the most popular types of travel among women. A must-do in Japan, according to , a free online travel resource, is to visit an onsen, a natural hot springs bath. Many are located outdoors and are chock full of minerals that have various healing and beautifying properties. Many women’s travel companies also offer niche trips catering to the adventurous spirit, such as scuba diving or snorkeling in the Caribbean, horseback riding through Yellowstone Park, or hiking the Inca trail in Peru.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Another way to see the world is to belong to an international volunteer organization. SIA President Alice Wells travels as part of her board responsibilities and loves to learn as much as she can about a new city when she arrives. “I usually take a bus tour and get an overview of the city and its culture. Then I get an idea of what I might want to see in more detail,” she says. Her favorite cities are in Japan—Kyoto and Himeji. “I love Kyoto because we had our [Soroptimist] convention there and I got to spend some time sightseeing and Himeji is our club’s Friendship Link and also the ‘sister city’ of Phoenix.”—M.Z.


and called me brave,” she shared on Journeywoman. “I’ll never forget that.”

Volunteer vacations Another way women use travel as a transformational exercise is by taking “volunteer” vacations, Journeywoman’s Hannon says. “Today, many women have been to England, Paris and Rome and they’re looking further afield,” she says. “Now women are starting to say, ‘OK. I’ve done the other, now I can try Africa and while I’m there, let’s see if I can make a difference.’” SIA Executive Director Leigh Wintz, who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has done exactly that—many times. Earning a master’s degree in nursing administration, she worked as a hospital administrator and then became an executive of another women’s organization before accepting a position with Soroptimist. She enjoyed her newfound work in association management, but missed the hands-on patient care. So she volunteered for a two-week medical mission as a nurse with Operation Smile, working with international team members and local professionals to perform surgical repair of cleft lips and palates in Accra, Ghana. Wintz found it so energizing to give of her time and talent that she spent many more two-week “vacations” helping others—twice in the Philippines, three times in Kenya, and in Honduras and China. In eight missions, the team brought life-changing surgery to more than 1,500 children and adults. “I carry with me today the grateful smiles of the families we helped, as well as the team’s tears about those who were told to come back next year because we lacked the resources to care for all who sought our help,” she says. “I also was able to stretch myself professionally, get to know people who were very different than me, and learn firsthand the value of international team building.” Traveling to Rwanda in 2006, SIA President-elect Cathy Standiford, a Cypress, California, resident, also had a “life-changing experience” that “reinforced the importance of the Soroptimist mission” and how it is achieved. With 10 other Soroptimists she went to Rwanda as part of a study tour to visit “Project Independence: Women Survivors of War.” The Soroptimist International quadrennial project in partnership with Women for Women International targeted women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda, providing subsistence, life skills and vocational training to launch women survivors of war into income-generating activities. “I connected directly with the women being helped by the project we were funding,” she says, “and was able to experience the classes they were taking, the significance of the stipends they were receiving, and hear firsthand how the project was transforming their lives for the better.”

As a Soroptimist for almost 30 years, President Alice Wells has traveled to many different destinations, where she enjoys learning about new countries and traditions. (Above Left) Alice dresses in traditional Taiwanese attire at SIA’s 2008 Convention in Taipei, Taiwan. (Above Right) Alice takes a guided tour in Columbia.

Travel Books for Women

SIA President-elect Cathy Standiford traveled to Rwanda, where she was proud to serve as the connecting bridge between Soroptimists back home and the women they were helping through Project Independence. (Left) Cathy meets Francesca, a Project Independence participant. (Right) Women taking a sewing class make Cathy a dress—one of her most-prized travel momentos.

Whether traveling to help others, relax on a beach or learn more about a new culture, women from all parts of the world—including some traditionally patriarchal countries—are on the go. According to one study, four in every 10 trips are by Asian women, up significantly from one in 10 in the mid-1970s. In Asia, the most active female travelers are from developed wealthier cities and countries such as Tokyo, Singapore, Taiwan, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Jakarta. These cosmopolitan trekkers tend to have higher education levels, high disposable income, are tech-savvy and are becoming increasingly adventurous. Women in India are also becoming passionate about travel, prompting Sumitra Senapaty to found the Women on Wanderlust (WOW) Club . To date, WOW members have journeyed to Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Italy and South Africa, as well as to various parts of their homeland. “Indian women are traveling because of economic empowerment brought about by significant raises in income levels and confidence that job security provides,” she says. “Once we had four sisters who traveled together with WOW, coming from four different parts of India, between the ages of 65 and 79. Then

there was the lady who gave up the idea of buying a car so she could afford two WOW trips to Europe.” Trends in women and travel are sure to grow as social norms change and women become self-reliant and financially strong. Traveling provides women with unique opportunities to spread their wings. When a woman takes that special trip, says Rodriguez Williamson, she gets a chance to exercise her “yes” muscles. “Through my ‘yes’ muscles I’ve sipped cocktails with the king of Sweden and I’ve had Icelanders sing me lull-a-byes,” she states. “It’s when you open yourself to the magic of travel and say ‘yes’ that the Universe always says ‘yes’ back.” * Full names and locations of women travelers have not been used at request of Journeywoman.

• Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over Fifty Author: Joan Rattner Heilman A bestselling guide that includes information about trips, clubs, programs and special deals for travelers 50 and over. • Food Lovers Guide to Paris Author: Patricia Well A complete list of the best bakeries, cafes and specialty food shops in Paris. • Bugs, Bites and Bowels Author: Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth Aimed at travelers to the tropics, subtropics, mountainous regions and other remote areas where standards of medical care are often poor, this book gives advice on what to expect, what to take, and which vaccinations may be necessary before traveling. • Safety and Security for Women Who Travel Author: Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer A compilation of stories, tips and anecdotes of traveling women.

Marielena Zuniga is SIA’s staff writer. An award-winning writer, she is a long-time contributor to Best for Women magazine. Email: [email protected]

In the next issue: Teen dating violence. Please email Editor Jessica Levinson with relevant information.

• Travelers' Tales—Women in the Wild Editor: Lucy McCauley A collection of articles and tips, this book highlights stories of the outdoor adventuress. Source:

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Women everywhere on the go

There are many considerations when planning a trip. Before booking a getaway, read up on places to see and things to do. suggests checking out the following books, all of which are written or edited by women.



By Leigh Wintz, CAE Executive Director

Periodically, this column is devoted to questions received from members. Our topic this time is “branding,” an idea that is central to SIA’s success as an organization. For more information about SIA and its brand, please read “Reviving the Soroptimist Brand: Branding Checklist for Clubs,” available in the public awareness section of the members area of

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Q: Why does the Renaissance Campaign put so much emphasis on branding? Aren’t brands just for corporations or products? A: No, all organizations—for- and non-


profit alike—must have a strong brand in order to be successful. The easier we make it for different constituents to identify us, the more likely they will be to remember us, take action on our behalf, donate money, and/or join. A strong brand is critical to successful programs, member recruitment and retention, fundraising and public awareness. So what, exactly, is a brand? It’s the singular idea or concept that an organization “owns” inside the minds of the public. A brand is the sum total of what an organization does and what value it brings to the public served (which includes its members). This value is communicated in many ways: mainly through programs/activities, and visually through logos, colors, taglines and mission statements. Even an organization’s name is part of the branding puzzle. Organizations with the most successful brands are those that occupy a unique niche, because when an organization tries to be all things to all people, they generally end up being nothing to many. It is important to understand that a brand comes from the inside out. That is, an organization cannot declare its brand. A brand (which is really an organization’s reputation) must be earned. After the membership/market research SIA did in 2003 it was obvious to the board that SIA’s brand was not as strong as it needed to be, which is why the Renaissance Campaign was created. As part of the

campaign, SIA developed a new visual identity, which included a logo and new tagline (Best for Women), which helped explain both our mission, and an unusual and sometimes difficult name.

Q: Why don’t clubs in SIA use the Soroptimist International emblem? Shouldn’t all Soroptimist clubs be using the same logo and tagline? A: Logo designs originated in the 19th century when the style was detailed and ornate. Logos today are usually simple yet stylish designs that are eye-catching and easier for the brain to memorize. Logos, including their colors, are very powerful and communicate a great deal about an organization. The “lady” in the SI emblem evokes an emotional response from members who associate their good feelings about Soroptimist with that familiar and traditional image from 1928. Unfortunately, based on market research, the SI emblem does not evoke a positive response from our external audience and is culturally offensive to some of our own members who do not think a white woman with bare arms is representative of our diverse organization or their part of the Soroptimist world. SI made a commitment several years ago to change the emblem, but until a suitable new emblem is adopted (which could include our S logo, which half the clubs in SI are already using), SIA will continue using the S logo, which is a positive representation of our mission, programs and public awareness efforts. Use of the S logo also clearly identifies SIA products and services for our members and the public.

Q: Once we have an attractive logo and catchy tagline, we have our brand, right? A: Many organizations spend an enormous amount of time, energy and money developing logos and taglines, believing that they are their brands. In fact, a logo and tagline are simply the banners for the brand. A brand drills much deeper into the core of the organization: it is the organization’s reputation and its ability to fulfill the explicit and tacit promises it makes. If all we have is an attractive logo and tagline without the commitment and ability to fulfill the promises our brand conveys, then all we have is “sizzle and no steak!” Soroptimist clubs have to be who we say we are in everything we do. The Soroptimist International board of directors wisely delayed trying to update the SI emblem and tagline until there was consensus about mission, core purpose, values and goals through a strategic plan. We have to be clear about who we are and what we do before we can develop the appropriate representations of the brand. Headquarters Highlights continued on page 27

Visit the Soroptimist website and watch Executive Director Leigh’s latest video blog today! Follow the path! Leigh_vlog.html

“I’ve always been extremely interested in helping others, and I like the idea of microfinance because you are giving people the ability to start their own businesses and be in control of their lives.”

Violet Richardson Award indy Berman, 18, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, was touched by the poverty of women in Guatemala, like Francisca Ortiz. Supporting four children on less than $2 a day, the young, frail mother couldn’t provide food for her family, much less health care or education. Cindy decided to do something about it—in a unique way. While a junior at La Jolla Country Day School, she introduced students to an online viral fundraising strategy, focusing on microloans. “I admire the power of microloans because they are very small loans, typically $50 to $100,” Cindy says. “Yet, instead of being temporary support ‘band-aids,’ they promote the development of businesses to provide a substantial income for individuals, such as Francisca, and break the cycle of poverty.” After gaining the support of school administration, Cindy formed a partnership between La Jolla Country Day School and Project Concern International (a non-profit health and humanitarian aid organization), creating the microloan project, Amigos Para Siempre (Friends for Life) . As a result of her ongoing dedication and commitment to helping Guatemalan women and their families out of poverty, Cindy is the 2008 Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award winner, which honors young girls, ages 14-17, who work to make the world a better place. Nominated by SI/La Jolla for her exceptional volunteer efforts, she received $500 for herself and $250 for her organization at the club level, and was honored with $500 for herself and $500 for her organization from the Desert Coast Region. In addition, SIA awarded her $2,500 for Amigos Para Siempre as federation finalist. Cindy came on board with Project Concern when she learned that the organization had to stop providing loans to Guatemalan women due to a shortage of funds. The organization had already proven the success of its microloan and training program with 1,300 women coffee growers in Olopa, Guatemala. With an astounding 100 percent repayment rate on their loans, the women were so successful that buyers from Honduras started to purchase coffee from Olopa. “So, because of the immense poverty in Guatemala, I decided to develop the Amigos Para Siempre campaign to continue to give these women adequate economic opportunity,” Cindy says. “In that area, 75,000 children are undernourished and 37 percent of women are illiterate.” Devoting numerous hours to developing an online fundraising website for Amigos Para Siempre, Cindy eventually launched the


Photo Credit: Don Tracy

microloan fundraising site, showing students at her school the effectiveness of online fundraising. “I taught students how to develop their own fundraising websites and send out e-mails linking back to their sites.” Getting started is easy, Cindy adds. Visitors to the website can create a personal web page in support of Amigos Para Siempre and then conduct their own online campaign to spread awareness among friends and family. In addition, she also has organized traditional offline fundraisers, such as bake sales. To date, Cindy’s project has raised almost $9,000. Education is also part of Cindy’s work, speaking to students, teachers and the community about Amigos Para Siempre. In one instance, she demonstrated the process of microloans by giving Monopoly money to 5th and 6th graders. “I told students with this money they could start a business in a developing country. Then, they passed the money to other students, giving them a similar opportunity,” she says. “After hearing my presentations, two 11-year-old girls dropped off a jar with $14.35 for microloans, and a few weeks later, gave an additional $55.” Cindy is especially grateful that Amigos Para Siempre continues to give women economic opportunities—women like Maria Perez, a Guatemalan coffee grower. With a microloan from money raised through the program, she bought fertilizer for her crops and received agricultural training. “She reaped a successful harvest and sold her crops for a fair price,” Cindy says. “After paying back her loan, she had enough money to buy a sewing machine. Now, she makes dresses for her community and earns enough money to sufficiently support her children with education, health care and food.” Even though she recently graduated and is now a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, majoring in international relations, Cindy plans for the project to continue and grow. “They have a microfinance club at Penn and I’m a part of it so the project can continue,” she says. “I’ve always been extremely interested in helping others, and I like the idea of microfinance because you are giving people the ability to start their own businesses and be in control of their lives.” 

By Marielena Zuniga Staff Writer Email: [email protected]

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

2008 Recipient: Cindy Berman


“At the heart of our work is a simple belief—that public testimony can change the world, making it a more fair, just and safe place for women.”

Making a Difference for Women 2008 Finalist: Anne K. Ream hen Anne Ream was raped 18 years ago, she had no examples of how to survive the brutal assault—no one to tell her how to begin rebuilding her shattered life. Not until she became involved as a non-violence activist did Anne, a longtime Chicagoan, realize how many other women had lived her nightmare and gone on to reclaim their lives. Knowing them gave her hope. “I thought, ‘If they can do this, I can do this, too,’” she says. Today, Anne, 43, has not only reclaimed her life, but is trying to eradicate that sense of isolation for other victims of sexual violence through The Voices and Faces Project (TVFP) , a non-profit national (U.S.) survivors network she founded in 2003. Because of her work, Anne is SIA’s 2008 recipient of the Making a Difference for Women Award, honoring women who, through personal or professional activities, work to improve the lives of women and girls. As the federation finalist, Anne received $5,000 from Soroptimist to donate to the charitable organization of her choice, which is TVFP. Nominated by SI/Chicago, Anne received $500 at the club level for her project and as the Midwestern Region winner, she was awarded $500 for her organization. She also spoke at the Midwestern Region Spring Conference about the issue of violence against women. After her attack, Anne read a lot about sexual assault and was bothered by the “absence of names and faces” of victims. While this absence protects privacy, says Anne, today a Chicago-based writer and creative director, and president of TVFP, “it also renders us faceless and reinforces a powerful stigma.” The project shares names, faces and stories in order to shift the national and international discourse on rape and abuse, one in which victims are too often blamed and perpetrators too infrequently held accountable. “The Voices and Faces Project was created for and is largely funded and staffed by survivors who have rejected This spring, Soroptimist will the shame, invisibility and announce the Making a silence thrust upon them by Difference for Women Award’s the broader culture,” Anne new name, as determined by says. “We know that being the recent online poll. In April, public is not the right choice be sure to visit for every survivor and we to vote online for the first time honor those who choose not ever and decide the finalist of to do so. But by speaking out, the 2008-2009 international we hope to reverse the attiaward.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009



Photo Credit: Don Tracy

tudes that make it difficult for all survivors to rebuild their lives.” A former senior vice president and group creative director at Leo Burnett USA, one of the country’s largest advertising and communications companies, Anne also created a compilation CD featuring many of today’s hottest female recording artists . All 17 featured artists/bands are selling the CD at their concerts, further raising awareness, especially among 18-25 year-old girls who are most vulnerable to sexual assault. All proceeds benefit TVFP. Anne is also co-founder and chief creative officer for , a webzine and book series targeted to teen girls that tell the stories of history’s amazing women. In addition, Anne is writing a book based on selected stories from survivors. At the core of her work, however, is TVFP, with the site featuring an interactive online “safe zone” with actual survivor stories, a reading room with downloadable literature on rape and abuse, plus links to additional resources. The site has had more than 20 million visits and has empowered 300 women to share their personal stories of sexual violence. Civic and political engagement is also a critical component of TFVP, which includes a speakers bureau and community outreach program. In the last year, project participants have shared their stories with the United Nations Global Report on Violence Against Children and consulted with the Congressional Commission investigating sexual assault in the military, among other outreach efforts. Anne’s essays and opinion pieces have appeared in numerous publications, including the L.A. Times, The Chicago Tribune and . She is co-chair of the Leadership Committee for Rape Victim Advocates, an Illinois nonprofit, and also serves on the board of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Most recently, she joined forces with the Victims Rights Law Center and coordinated a national summit that brought together leaders within the women’s and anti-sexual violence movement to discuss where efforts will be best spent over the next decade. Of TVFP and the award, Anne says, “At the heart of our work is a simple belief—that public testimony can change the world, making it a more fair, just and safe place for women. One of the reasons the Making a Difference for Women Award is such an honor is that Soroptimist so clearly shares and understands that belief. I am grateful for the recognition but more importantly I am reminded of the collective power of our voices and our civic engagement.”

By Marielena Zuniga Staff Writer


So r o pt i m i s t W o m e n - s L e a d e r s h i p I n s t i t u t e C h ic ag o, I ll in o is • W e s ti n M ic h i ga n A ve . J u ly 3 -4 , 2 0 0 9

his summer, Soroptimist will unveil its NEW leadership development program—The Soroptimist Women’s Leadership Institute. The program will be unlike any other and is open to ALL Soroptimists who have an interest in improving their personal and professional leadership skills. Experienced and emerging leaders alike will be able to identify leadership strengths and areas for improvement, and then personalize a program to enhance performance in career and community. Soroptimist believes that all women can be leaders—leaders that stand out above all others. Women have special skills, as well as special challenges as leaders. General sessions and workshops at the Soroptimist Women’s Leadership Institute will focus on the four necessary competencies of women’s leadership: Leading Strategically: Leaders make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems and calculating risks. Leading Collaboratively: Leaders manage human, financial and information resources strategically in order to achieve organizational goals. Leading Change: Leaders establish a compelling vision and use it to bring about strategic change in order to meet goals.

Ge t a T a s t e o f C hi c a g o The city of Chicago offers much to see and do! From culinary delights to world-class shopping, the large and diverse city truly has something for everyone. Events going on July 3-4 include:

Watch for more information and get ready to register online in the Meetings/Convention area at Attendance is limited to the first 400. So don’t wait, register today!

+ I f y o u r a c t i o n s i n s p i r e ot h e r s t o d r e a m m o r e , l e a r n m or e , d o m o r e , a n d b e c o m e m o r e , y o u ar e a l e a d e r . , * J o h n Q u i n c y A d a m s

Taste of Chicago—A lakefront festival where food choices range from ethnic to exotic to Chicago specialities. Independence Day Festivities—Watch fireworks, listen to music and celebrate the birth of the United States. Garfield Park Conservatory Tropical Flower Show—A free show offering an assortment of tropical plants. Visit to find out the best ways to experience Chicago’s attractions, events, tours, and recreational activities.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Leading People: Leaders create an inclusive environment that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflict.



Soroptimist Renaissance Campaign

Supporting Women After Disaster Strikes The deadliest and costliest storm in the United States since 1928 hit southeast Louisiana on August 29, 2005. The destruction of Hurricane Katrina spanned the Gulf Coast from Central Florida to Texas, causing nearly 2,000 deaths and more than $100 billion in damages. The worst hit area was New Orleans, where the levee system failed and the city was flooded. People around the world, watched the terrible storm and wanted to help. Throughout the crisis and during the rebuilding, Soroptimists made donations totaling nearly $100,000 to support women and girls in the Katrina area. Two early donations were made from the Soroptimist Disaster Recovery Fund to the American Red Cross and the Louisiana Coalition against Domestic Violence. During and after the disaster, thousands of battered women and their children lost their community safety nets. The LCADV used the grant to establish an emergency fund to assist domestic violence victims and estimated that 89 women and 105 children benefited from the Soroptimist grant.

As there were no Soroptimist clubs in Louisiana or the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the SIA board decided to make a $34,000 donation to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). By donating to the IWPR, Soroptimist could help create long-lasting institutional change by supporting research aimed at promoting policy actions that would address the unique needs of women during and after times of natural disaster. An executive summary of the report was released at a Congressional Briefing held in Washington, D.C. in June 2007. The full study was released in April 2008 at the Economic Justice Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The study reported many interesting findings including how a lack of affordable housing increases the number of women and girls at risk for physical and sexual violence. The study proposes a gender-informed disaster relief strategy that includes providing women with affordable housing and non-traditional job training; enforcing laws against job discrimination; and making child

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

2007-2008 Disaster Recovery Reports


Soroptimist Disaster Recovery Grants are given out throughout the year as needed. Clubs can learn more about applying for a Soroptimist Disaster Recovery Grant at In 2007-2008 two clubs reported on their disaster relief grants. SI/Largos Mid Pinellas County, Florida, USA received a $16,000 grant to assist Pinellas Village, an affordable housing project for single mothers, by providing property insurance after a drastic increase in insurance costs following Hurricane Wilma. Pinellas Village was able to provide housing for 145 mothers and their children. SI/Daet, Philippines, helped 131 women and their families with a $4,000 grant following a typhoon by providing job training for women to support their families. Grants are made possible by the generous donations of clubs, members and other supporters. Disaster relief funds are currently quite low following 4 recent grants totaling $70,000 to help women in Brazil, Iowa and the Philippines. Very few agencies have made the needs of women and girls a priority during and after disasters. Please consider donating to the Soroptimist Disaster Recovery Fund to ensure these needs are met. Donations can be sent to SIA headquarters in Philadelphia.

care, schools and health care available and plentiful. Finally, the SIA board voted to make two $20,000 donations to organizations supporting women in New Orleans. The SARA Center, a shelter for vicSoroptimist funded “Women in the Wake of the Storm,” a tims of domestic research study that examined and sexual abuse, the effects of Hurricane provided transKatrina on women. Download the study at portation to needed services for nearly 500 women and their children and also paid the salary of a legal advocate who assists the center’s staff attorney. During the grant year, 252 women received legal advocacy services and 182 protective orders were granted. The New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic (NOWHC) used Soroptimist funds to pay for onethird of the salary of the clinic’s nurse practitioner and medical director. As staff salaries account for more than half the clinic’s budget, the grant from SIA played an integral role in the clinic’s ability to provide medical services to more than 500 women. Thanks to the generous donations of members, clubs and supporters worldwide, Soroptimist helped women and girls rebuild their lives by ensuring their access to health care and safety. Finally, SIA ensured that the special needs of women and girls following a disaster are planned for and met by supporting the work of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 

By Lori Blair Senior Director of Program Services Email: [email protected]

best practices in program Soroptimists Helping Soroptimists: Club Matching Project Soroptimist Club Matching Project provides clubs and regions the opportunity to develop direct, personal relationships, not just with Soroptimists from around the world, but with the women in their communities whose lives they seek to improve. SI/Ibarra, Ecuador, serves as another excellent example of the type of partnership the Soroptimist Club Matching Project is designed to support. SI/Ibarra has received support from two U.S. clubs, SI/Dixon, California, and SI/Willimantic, Connecticut. SI/Dixon donated baby clothes to SI/Ibarra for distribution to single mothers. The club has also donated $1,500 to SI/Ibarra for the purchase of walking aids, such as canes and walkers, for lowincome women without insurance. In partnership with SI/Willimantic, SI/Ibarra sends crafts made by Ecuadorian women to the club. SI/Willimantic then sells the crafts and mails the proceeds back to SI/Ibarra. One such exchange raised $600, which was used, in part, to provide health services for a destitute woman. “This help,” states SI/Ibarra member Dolly O’Neil Mejia, is “a treasure for us.” Clubs in need of support should complete the Soroptimist Club Matching Project application found in the program section of the member’s area of And remember, support doesn’t just mean financial support. The program is designed to offer an interactive partnership between two clubs. This could mean seeking support for developing a business plan, soliciting material goods or asking for help communicating with project participants. Once the application is complete, submit it to headquarters and eligible projects will be posted in the program section of Clubs interested in providing support should check the website for eligible projects and pick the one that is right for them. Participate today in the new Soroptimist Club Matching Project. By working together, the impact on the lives of women and girls can be increased many times over. 

By Lori Blair Senior Director of Program Services Email: [email protected]

SI/Cochabamba, SI/Chicago and Midwestern Region empower Bolivian women by providing them with skills training and income generating opportunities.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009


leven years ago, Terry Phillips (1996-1998 Midwestern Region governor) and Beverly Bucur (2006-2008 Midwestern Region governor) traveled to Bolivia because they were intrigued by how a small club, SI/Cochabamba, managed so many wonderful projects. SI/Cochabamba proudly showed off its project that teaches women how to read, and cut patterns, sew and design clothes. As Terry and Beverly were leaving the center, one of the project participants approached them and begged them not to go. With the help of a translator, the woman explained that the sewing machines rotated among three villages and once they were gone, they could not continue their project. That year at her region conference, Beverly gave a presentation about the project and attendees donated enough to purchase 10 sewing machines for the women of Cochabamba. Over the years, Midwestern Region and SI/Chicago, Illinois, have continued to support SI/Cochabamba’s projects with donations to purchase baking ovens, sewing supplies, literacy materials and computers. Joan Stallard, 2000-2002 Midwestern Region governor and 2006-2008 SIA board director, pledged $1,700 from a region fundraiser to help SI/Cochabama build The Learning House for Women. “The support of SI/Chicago and the Midwestern Region has been very positive. …” said Emma de Iturricha, 2003-2005 SIA board director and SI/Cochabamba member. “The women of the community now have their own space for their classes and meetings. The classes offer the possibility of more income to improve the quality of the women’s lives.” The support continues to this day. At the 2008 Midwestern Region conference, $1,500 was raised to support an SI/Cochabamba program to train women to become certified daycare providers. In an effort to encourage and support other clubs and regions to create successful working partnerships such as the one between SI/Chicago, Midwestern Region and SI/ Cochabamba, SIA has launched the Soroptimist Club Matching Project. The goal of this project is to match clubs that need support with clubs that are interested in providing support. For those who wish to give more than money to support international projects, the



Soroptimist Renaissance Campaign

Uncovering Hidden Talents


t’s tempting to fixate on the new members you want to bring on board to reach your membership goals. The danger in this strategy is that it starts from a point of deficiency and lack, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed by seemingly insurmountable tasks. The inverse approach focuses on existing members and begins from a position of talent and skill, feeling encouraged with tasks that seem manageable. This slight change in approach can result in renewed energy and enthusiasm that is bound to rub off on others around you. Imagine the following scenario. …

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Scenario: Ann has been a member of your club for two years. She’s an accountant by trade so the first inclination was to nominate her as treasurer. She’s also one of the first names that gets tossed around to help with financial related tasks on project committees. Club officers were somewhat surprised when Ann’s enthusiasm began to wane until she finally just stopped showing up, with no response to phone calls or email. Problem: While it may have appeared an obvious decision to align Ann with financial related responsibilities, the truth is she spent long hours all day “crunching numbers.” The thought of more time working with figures was daunting but she didn’t want to let the club down. Rather than share her real feelings, she wanted to keep her word and finish out the job that she committed to complete. Solution: As leaders within a club, make it a point as soon as possible to find out the talents and personal interests of your members, not just professional expertise. Ann actually had a love of graphic design, having recently completed a class in Adobe Photoshop, and would have been thrilled for an opportunity to create a flyer for the upcoming fundraiser, or even lend a hand with the club newsletter.


So, how do you begin to uncover the talents and interests of your members? Start with an Individual Capacity Inventory. Used primarily by trained community organizers, this tool hinges upon the community building principle that everyday citizens, when organized and focused, can have an impact that brings about sig-

Individual Capacity Inventory

Skills I have


advertising budget development developing business plans fundraising grant writing


Skills I want to learn


nificant change. It’s a basic notion that’s been taught for years and executed with precision in the recent U.S. presidential campaign. The same tool can be adapted for the purpose of tapping into the skills of volunteers. A ‘Soroptimized’ version of the Capacity Inventory is available in the members-area at

Don’t be afraid to have fun. The Capacity Inventory can serve two important functions: one, it is a fun icebreaker that helps to build relationships. It also doubles as a knowledge bank that can be used for future projects, giving leaders a better chance of matching members to tasks they may actually enjoy.

Relationship Builder. • Icebreaker. Spark conversation by pairing two club members to go down the list and check off skills they currently have or may want to learn. Ask them to share a brief summary of what they’ve learned with the group. This is a great way to welcome new members and may turn up a few surprise talents among members who have known each other for years. • Speed-Networking. Get members “working the room.” Try a quick exercise that encourages them to complete as many inventories as they can within a specified amount of time. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone in as little as 5 minutes. Knowledge Bank. • Skills Assessment. Take note of those who have expressed a desire to teach or learn a specific skill. This provides a good basis for topics of interest and/or potential speakers for your club or one within the region. • Succession Planning. Don’t wait for the end of an officer’s term to begin a search for successors. Use the information gathered from the tool to identify members who express interest in leadership and/or mentoring. Start grooming those future leaders who desire to learn more and may commit to moving the club forward. There really is no one-size-fits all approach to membership. It’s an ongoing process that should engage everyone. Avoid the temptation of looking at membership as a problem to be solved and shift to a position of building upon existing strengths. Enthusiastic members who find value and fun in their volunteer experience ultimately make the best ambassadors. Chances are, they will share their excitement and bring new members along. For additional information, feel free to contact headquarters or visit the members-area at 

By Leontyne Anglin Membership Director Email: [email protected]

public awareness

Soroptimist Renaissance Campaign

Benefits of Best for Women Magazine


By Kamali Brooks Public Relations Manager Email: [email protected]

Get Featured! Many clubs submit news to Best for Women magazine, but not every submission is printed. Here are some ways to increase the likelihood of a club news item appearing in the magazine: • Submit club information to using the magazine submission form available in the magazine section of the members area at Fill it out completely and clearly. The more information you provide the better. • Send a photo with the magazine submission form. Include the names of the people in the photo and provide a caption. For photo taking advice, be sure to check out SIA’s guide to taking good photos, available in the public awareness section of the members area at • Please remember that the magazine works three months in advance. For example, the deadline for the March/April/May issue is January 1. If a news item is submitted after that deadline, it may not appear until the June/July/August issue or even the September/October/ November issue. If it is a good submission (i.e. it supports the mission of improving the lives of women and girls), chances are high it will appear in the magazine; it just might not be right away. Also, the SIA website features club-based projects, so it is possible the item will appear there too.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

est for Women magazine is SIA’s offithe magazine is the focal point of cial publication and the only commuSoroptimist’s homepage at nication vehicle that is sent to each Featuring articles such as these in Best for member. The award-winning magaWomen magazine helps establish Soroptimist zine has been published in various forms as a credible source when it comes to issues since 1931. Every Soroptimist receives a subinvolving women. Feature articles contain scription to Best for Women—which includes information from real experts who speak four issues a year—with her membership dues. informatively on the particular topic. Its content includes feature stories about For prospective members, the feature artiwomen’s issues and Soroptimist programs; cle helps to paint a picture of what updates on Soroptimist Soroptimist is all about. efforts; and recogniIt also shows the need To subscribe to Best for tion of Soroptimist for the Soroptimist misWomen, visit accomplishments. sion to improve the lives The “Best for of women and girls. and click on the Women” and “Media Because the maga“subscribe” link, Mentions” sections of zine is a great resource located on the homepage. the magazine promote for women’s issues, it worthwhile women- and also makes a great gift. girl-focused club projects. This is where clubs Clubs can give gift subscriptions to guests submit information about projects; member who speak at meetings, local government success stories; and media mentions to the officials, and, especially, Women’s editor of the magazine by completing a subOpportunity, Violet Richardson and Making a mission form, available in the magazine secDifference for Women award recipients. Also tion of the members area of consider sending a complimentary subscripWhile the magazine is an important tion to other organizations in the local comresource for clubs and members it also serves munity, as well as Soroptimist friends in other as a great tool for clubs’ public relations federations. Another way to increase the efforts because it educates and informs other magazine’s reach is for members to donate audiences about Soroptimist. their used copies to locations throughout the The magazine provides information that is community where people have time to sit and of interest to women everywhere. Each issue read. This includes libraries, doctors’ offices, contains a feature article that focuses on topsalons, hospitals, schools, domestic violence ics such as: women in education; women as shelters and women’s centers. caregivers; women in the media; and women Individual members can also give gift subin politics, to name a few. scriptions to women they know on a personal These subjects are relevant to all women. level—mother, sisters, friends, and coworkers. And all women—not just Soroptimists—can Best for Women magazine is an invaluable benefit from reading resource. Taking advantage of this resource them, which is why provides clubs with an easy way to increase public awareness of the organization, its mission and programs. 



Soroptimist Renaissance Campaign

Cause Marketing and Soroptimist: A Fruitful Partnership What do these well-known partners have in common? • Famous Amos Cookies and Literacy Volunteers of America • Yoplait Yogurt and Susan G. Komen for the Cure • American Heart Association and Cheerios • PINK magazine and Soroptimist International of the Americas • Janney Montgomery Scott and Soroptimist International of the Americas

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

All are examples of cause marketing partnerships. Cause marketing is a powerful tool that nonprofit organizations and businesses are increasingly leveraging. According to the Cone Millennial Cause Study, in 2006, 89 percent of Americans would switch from one brand to another comparable brand to benefit a “good cause.” Additional studies by Cone indicate an upward trend in the number of people who link their own buying habits to companies that are seen as good corporate citizens. The benefits of cause marketing for nonprofit organizations such as Soroptimist include an increased ability to promote a cause using the greater financial resources of a corporation, and a broader outreach to possible supporters through a company’s customer base. Equally valuable is the opportunity to strengthen the nonprofit’s name recognition or brand by association with another well-branded company. The benefits of cause marketing for businesses include positive public relations and image, improved customer relations, improved employee relations, and new marketing opportunities. When the marketing partnership works, it creates a win for the corporation, the nonprofit and the cause the nonprofit serves. In a recent poll, the Center for Corporate Citizenship asked the question: “Why does your company give to the community?” The responses indicate that the motive and outcomes of the corporate community are not so different from the nonprofit community. The top four reasons companies decide to give to a cause are: to make a difference; to enhance their reputation; to engage their employees; and/or to express their values. This trend in business thinking is growing, and as the economy slows and traditional funding is more difficult to find, working as a cause marketing team with the right corporate partner is a creative, viable option. In fact, in a recent report from IEG, an industry leader in sponsorship development, a 4.4 percent growth in corporate dollars for cause sponsorship was seen in 2008. Against the backdrop of a struggling economy, the corporate community continues to view cause marketing as a win-win strategy for both partners.


How does Soroptimist fit into this picture? As part of the SIA strategic plan, one of the organization’s priorities is to have sufficient funds to achieve program goals. Many clubs create local fundraising partnerships to help achieve this goal. At the federation level, SIA looks to national and international corporations as potential partners, with the objective of acquiring partners that can impact all clubs and regions. The cultivation of corporate sponsors is a relatively new path for Soroptimist, which to date has yielded a commitment from Janney Montgomery Scott and a media partnership with PINK magazine. Both partners are experiencing success with new business, new subscribers, and higher visibility with Soroptimist women. And Soroptimist has received funding for its programs and valuable promotional opportunities that help to establish its unique brand among business and professional women.

By Debra Beach Director of Corporate Relations Email: [email protected]

How can this early success be expanded? A successful corporate relations program relies on the connections of members. One of the most valuable assets of being a Soroptimist is the powerful network created in clubs and regions. If every Soroptimist looked into her Rolodex or Blackberry there would certainly be at least one connection with a potential corporate partner. What to look for in individual networks: • Start with the top five types of industries that fund cause marketing. They are: specialty retail (clothing), banking, financial services, health care, and pharmaceutical industries. • Consider corporations that engage in fair business practices and philanthropy that is focused on the wellbeing of women. • Look for companies that have established, recognized brands. This is important as Soroptimist needs to continue to build its profile. By being linked to a well-known brand, Soroptimist is also being introduced to a broader audience. • Identify the right person at the prospective partner corporation. Remember to think on a national and international level. The most important key to a successful partnership is the right introduction. Look for this contact at corporate headquarters in the areas of Community Affairs, Charitable Giving, Corporate Philanthropy, Social Responsibility and Human Resources. Soroptimists don’t have to do it alone. Soroptimist clubs work hard on projects that improve the lives of women and girls. Clubs and members work within communities and reach out to local businesses and organizations to help them achieve dreams for the women and girls being served. If that spirit and attitude is applied to national and international partners, just think of the possibilities!

branding when marketing membership, program or services. Branding is less about marketing, advertising, and public relations and more about good leadership, appropriate and ethical behavior, and an organization’s commitment and ability to fulfill the covenant, or promises, its brand represents. A brand reflects everything associated with an organization, including, but not limited to, the quality of its work, culture and core values, reputation, leadership, staff, programs, services and products. In Soroptimist, clubs deliver on that promise through the projects they do that benefit women and girls.

Q: Our club really likes the graphics used in the Live Your Dream Campaign website, particularly the one with the silhouette of the girl holding the bird with the swirls in the background. It's young, and appealing. We also like the tagline associated with the website – “Aspire to live your dream. Inspire others to live theirs.” Can we use those graphics and tagline in our efforts to raise public awareness? A: The Live Your Dream Campaign and website are proving to be very successful marketing strategies for SIA, and we are pleased they have caught on with members. Clubs are welcome to use the Live Your Dream imagery and graphics as long as they do so in conjunction with the Live Your Dream Campaign. But it is not appropriate to use these images outside the context of the campaign. Clubs should use the S logo and tagline in a consistent way and often to identify the club and its activities (projects, press releases, stationery, website). Remember that to meet our goals to increase public awareness, name recognition and connection with the Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and girls, we need to deliver many consistent impressions over time. For more information about the Live Your Dream campaign, visit Information about SIA’s graphic guidelines, as well as SIA’s logos, can be found in the public awareness section of the members area at 

By Leigh Wintz Executive Director

Live Your Dream Fundraiser SIA announces the first Live Your Dream Fundraiser on March 8, International Women's day. This fundraiser will ask Soroptimists to forgo a simple pleasure for one day (manicure, dinner at a restaurant, gourmet coffee) and donate those funds to SIA programs. Soroptimists will also be asked to invite two of their non-Soroptimist "galpals" to do the same. Look for more information in your e-mailbox or visit and Please do your part to help women and girls live their dreams by participating in this special day!

New Membership/Marketing Survey As the Renaissance Campaign nears the end of its fifth year, SIA has hired Kerr-Downs, a full-service market research firm, to conduct a new study that will help measure the campaign’s success and determine what comes next. Make sure your voice is heard! Visit to fill out the survey, which will be open through May 2009.

2009-2011 Board Director Election Results Mail ballots for the position of 2009-2011 SIA board director were counted at SIA headquarters on January 7, 2009. Shirley McCoy, Eastern Canada Region; Sumie Ito, Japan Higashi Region; Raquel Arreola Ruiz, Mexico/CentroAmerica; Linabelle Villarica, Philippines Region; Tazuko Tanaka, Japan Chuo Region; and Patricia Donahue, Sierra Pacific Region, have been elected as 2009-2011 federation directors. Complete election results are available in the members-area at

Update You Email Address Each week members receive emails about what’s going on in the organization. To guarantee you don’t miss the latest news and information, make sure you have an up-to-date email address in SIA’s database. Updating your email address is easy: • Visit and log in using your six-digit member number and passwrod. • Click on the “Member Update” button on the left to see your personal profile. • Click the “edit” button and enter or correct any contact information (especially your email address), then hit the “submit” button. Contact SIA headquarters at 215-893-9000, or email for further assistance.

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

Q: Aren’t marketing and branding the same thing? A: No, but an organization needs to use consistent


Headquarters Highlights continued from page 18


Prices on the following items have been slashed! Visit the Soroptimist Store for other reduced-price items.

PAST PRESIDENT’S PIN #104 The 3/4” gold-plated pin with diamond has a 1” diamond gavel attached with a chain. Pin is not sold separately. Great for recognizing past or outgoing presidents for a job well done. $96 now $75

BEST FOR WOMEN SEALS #301 Seal envelopes with SIA’s Best for Women logo. Sold in rolls of 500, 1 1/4” sticker features white background with blue logo. $10 now $5

“S” LOGO TABLE FLAG #462 Best for Women logo table flag with base. White with blue logo, flag measures 12” x8” with a 2” wooden base. Flag stick measures 19.” $25 now $15

BEST FOR WOMEN POCKET FOLDER #491 9” x 12” pocket folder includes space for club contact information. Great for sending materials to media contacts or for distributing at community events. $3 now $1 each

ORDER FORM Detach and mail with remittance to: Form may be photocopied Sales Department, Soroptimist International of the Americas, 1709 Spruce Street, Phila., PA 19103-6103 Item Past President’s Pin Best for Women Seals “S” Logo Table Flag Best for Women Pocket Folder

Item No. Quantity 104 301 462 491

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009

 Check or Money Order enclosed  Mastercard  Visa  Amex


Unit Price $75 $5/roll $15 $1/each


Name Club Number

Address (no post office boxes) State

Daytime Phone Number (in case there is a question)

What’s new in the members area of : • Monthly giving form • Disaster Recovery Evaluation

Worksheet • 2007-2008 Program Impact Report • Effective Partnerships for

Soroptimist Clubs  7% Sales Tax (PA residents only)

Account Number


Magazine Matters: All magazinerelated information, including editorial guidelines and submission deadlines, is available on SIA’s website. Mailing address changes should be sent to . Magazine submissions and letters to the editor should be sent to Editor Jessica Levinson at Best for Women, 1709 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103–6103 or . A subscription to the magazine is available for $11 a year (U.S. and Canada; $15 all other countries). Visit to download a subscription form. Translated excerpts of the magazine––in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Taiwanese––are also available on SIA’s website. For more information, go to: .


Order Total 10% Shipping and Handling (Minimum $5.00)

Expiration Date_____________________Security Code____________

Club Name



For a complete list of sales items, pricing, and shipping information, or to make a purchase online using a credit card, visit the Soroptimist Store located in the the members area of . If assistance is needed logging in, please contact or call 215-893-9000.


Zip or Postal Code Signature (required on credit card orders)

Alice Wells, President December/January/February 2009 Volume 82, Number 2

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Catherine Standiford, President-elect Cypress, California, USA

Darlene Friedman Managing Editor Jessica Levinson Editor and Designer Marielena Zuniga Staff Writer Laurie Graf Communications Assistant

Sharon Fisher, Secretary/Treasurer, Langley, British Columbia, Canada Takuko Fujita, Matsue-shi, Japan

Published by Soroptimist International of the Americas Leigh Wintz, CAE, Executive Director

Dulce Gozon, Caloocan City, Philippines

Soroptimist Headquarters and Editorial Offices:

Sachiko Inoue, Osaka, Japan

1709 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19103-6103 Telephone: (215) 893–9000 Fax: (215) 893–5200 Email: [email protected] Website:

SUBSCRIPTIONS – All subscription orders for magazines, correspondence concerning subscriptions, changes of address and postmaster notices of undeliverable copies should be mailed to Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc. POSTMASTER – Send address changes to: Best for Women, 1709 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103–6103. Best for Women (ISSN 1553-5703) is published four times annually: September/October/ November; December/January/February; March/April/May; and June/July/August, by Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc., a 501(c)(3) international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls. Periodicals postage paid at Philadelphia, PA, and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: $11.00 a year in the U.S. and Canada; $15.00 a year for all others. Note: A yearly subscription to Best for Women is included in payment of annual membership dues. Official publication of Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc. Copyright 2009, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc. Printed by The Lane Press, South Burlington, VT 05403. All materials submitted to Best for Women become the property of Soroptimist International of the Americas, Inc. The opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily represent those of Soroptimist International of the Americas. All stock photos are copyright PhotoDisc, Inc. unless otherwise noted. The Soroptimist name and logo are registered trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Winner of the Association for Women in Communications’ Clarion Award, the Apex Awards of Excellence, the Arnold’s Admirables Citation, the ASAE Gold Circle Awards and The Communicator Awards.

Jan Martin, Helena, Montana, USA Cathy Mitchell, Cloverdale, California, USA Carmen Moral Sgarbi, Santos, Brazil Ming-Chu Mu, Taipei, Taiwan Pina Pileggi, Caracas, Venezuela Judith Strong, Moorhead, Minnesota, USA Diane Thompson, Franklin, Pennsylvania, USA

SIA countries and territories: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guam, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, U.S.A., Venezuela

Fund Development Council Rosemarie Burton, Chair Midori Fujii Minda Garcia Marie Kennedy Ann Rutledge

Kaneko Tomiyama, Sapporo City, Japan

Insurance Administrator

Rosemarie Burton, Fund Development Council Chair New Haven, Connecticut, USA

James Lynch, President Group Administration Agency, Inc. Phone: (800) 621-1666


Soroptimist International

Leigh Wintz, CAE

Margaret Lobo, President Hanne Jensbo, President-elect Janet Stevens Donahue, Treasurer Lynn Dunning, Immediate Past President

REGION GOVERNORS Gloria Mazo Bernal América del Sur

Norma Maria Do Valle Brazil Cheri Fleming Camino Real Susan “Sam” Buchenau Desert Coast Maxine Tenander Eastern Canada Amelia Benko Founder Karen Haughey Golden West Reiko Minami Japan Chuo Noriko Isshiki Japan Higashi Emiko Sugawara Japan Kita Hiroko Nagayama Japan Minami Chizuko Fukuda Japan Nishi Meenseon Kim Korea

Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland Carwen Wynne-Howells, President

Soroptimist International of Europe Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, President

Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific Leigh Ellwood-Brown, President

Best for Women  December/January/February 2009


Leticia Vergara Mexico/Centroamérica Mary Parsigian Midwestern Pamela Frascatore North Atlantic Elizabeth Tellekson North Central Patricia Shea Northeastern Carene Davis-Stitt Northwestern Carmen Flor Philippines Barbara Lewis Rocky Mountain Sue Camp Sierra Nevada Barbara Giambastini Sierra Pacific Louise Skinner South Atlantic Dianne Dewey South Central Nidia Bernstiel Southern Shu Mei Shih Taiwan Angela Bunting Western Canada


oroptimist is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work on projects that improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. About 95,000 Soroptimists in more than 120 countries and territories contribute their time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls. Soroptimist International of the Americas, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its major project is the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards—cash grants for women seeking to improve their economic situations through additional education and training. Since 1972, the program has disbursed almost $20 million in cash grants to about 25,000 women. In recognition of the power of women and their dreams, Soroptimist also sponsors the Live Your Dream campaign. Visit the campaign's online home at


Soroptimist International of the Americas is a recipient of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations’ (PANO) Seal of Excellence in recognition of exemplary management and accountability within the nonprofit sector. For more information on how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, how to join, or to make a donation, visit .

In the next issue: Teen Dating Violence Soroptimist thanks its official sponsors:

Vice President/Investments

Soroptimist International of the Americas

1709 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA

19103-6103 USA