President's Blog

  • 17 Feb 2015 11:01 AM | Leigh Christian (Administrator)

    Happy Valentine’s Late!  I LOVE you all and am so honored to serve as your WEDC President this year.  I really enjoy the connections that we are already making this year.  I’ve made some CONNECTIONS in January –

    At “Lunch with Leigh” I connected with Tamra Ozbolt with Emerald City Initiatives and we had a great lunch at Mango’s.  I found out she loves all things “OZ” and she loves Wizard of Oz.  (Even her company name is associated with it!) 

    I also was excited to learn more about our Member Spotlight member - Colleen Buckner, President of Select Solutions, LLC; Select Solutions has a just-in-time solution using experts you can employ on a temporary short or long term basis.  By using their experts on a temporary basis you save time and money and get experienced talent to meet your needs.

     I attended the WEDC Membership Committee meeting and we focused on new members and recruiting.  Remember please look at New Member recruiting on website if you plan to sponsor a new member.  You had to have attended Sponsor Training already!  The potential member needs to fall in the categories for membership also! 

    At our WEDC Training Meeting luncheon – we were treated to a Cajun meal of Red Beans & Rice and Sausage.  We had a great powerful inspirational group of WEDC members and guests in attendance!

    Our Spotlight Committee this month – Internal networking - Alka Bhargav, chair of Internal Networking Committee (INC) shared about the retreat and even showed off her little dancing skills!  Those of us who have already signed up for WEDC Retreat received Mardi Gras beads.  I cannot wait to have some real one on one fun time with other WEDC members.  This time will be priceless and the connections unbelievable!  I hope you will join us!  She shared about upcoming events at Renaissance Theater on February 20 where WEDC members will watch “the Odd Couple.”  With our very own Nora Hickman directing.  Alka’s Connection Challenge was for any WEDC Member that attends the most WEDC Internal Networking events will win a really really really BIG prize…

    Our Leadership Training Committee with Laura Mickels as Chair worked hard on determining our gift for speakers and other special people we want to recognize and Melissa Bullard had a special WEDC coin made. I want one!   This is an important military tradition and is well known in our community.  I have two very special coins that were given to me and I treasure them.   There is a tradition in the military to give special coins as gifts of honor, respect, gratitude and loyalty. The origin of these coin gifts is unknown, but there are legends dating back as far as World War I.

    Reflection - Our own General, Paulette Risher shared about this tradition and shared a meaningful story of when she gave two coins to two young soldiers.  She met someone many years later that told her what it meant to these two soldiers.  You just need to ask her about this touching story.  (Can’t tell you everything because we hope you will come to our next meeting)  

    Our Mentoring Committee had questions at our tables and we connected through discussions.  Most of the questions were about how you connect to someone when you first meet them, and also about listening.  I think having this planned discussion really helped us open up to each other. 

    Speaker - What a treat to have Paul Finley with Paul Finley Consulting as our February speaker.  He shared about the Real Colors® Management to help us understand human behavior, and how to make better connections.  He correlated from our Book - John Maxwell’s – “Everybody Communicates, Few Connect” and the first chapter – “Connecting Increases Your Influence in Every Situation.”  Paul shared how understanding who you are and how you react, and understand who you are dealing with; can make such a difference in creating a great connection. So I think everyone figured out who was each color and it was fun–BLUE represents Compassionate; GOLD – Responsible; ORANGE – Spontaneous, GREEN – Conceptual.  I am a blue for sure - what color are you?  To further your interest, Paul offers The Real Colors® Management Workshop, which is a ½ day opportunity for professionals to examine who they are and how they relate to their associates in the workplace.  Attendees learn their distinct temperament (Blue, Gold, Green, or Orange), gaining insight into their thought process and management style.  The class then participates in an interactive, fun group activity that details the areas that are most important to each temperament.  Discussions reveal insight critical for understanding and managing each unique temperament in today’s workplace.  The session concludes with an inspirational and insightful presentation, documenting real-world examples of management success and defining the building blocks for improved results via temperament management. Paul Finley’s contact information:  Tel:     (256) 509-3053;   Email: paul@paulfinleyconsulting.com; Website:  www.paulfinleyconsulting.com

    Our WEDC Finance Committee is working on our Reserve Fund Investment Policy and our Communication Committee has been so busy with planning a WEDC App. 

    Just to remind you, your WEDC leadership team includes myself and Sandy Edwards as Past President, Lane Fabby is Vice President, and Donna Berger is Secretary and Kandy Gardner is Treasurer. Caroline Myers serves as your External Director so if you have ideas about partnering or supporting other groups touch base with her, and Sonja Greene is internal director and is working on review of our bylaws, and processes.  Susie Averitt serves as our Program Coordinator/WEDC Admin and is doing a great job and I appreciate her so!  We are available to connect with you, to take your feedback and suggestions and welcome your input! 

    Our next meeting will be March 12, 2015 where we learn about “Connecting always focuses on others”.  Our WEDC Community Outreach Committee has done an amazing job on the planning of this meeting and it is certainly one that you will want to attend.  This will help you connect like no other meeting will. 

    Many blessings…lots of love.

    Leigh Christian

    2015 WEDC President

    256-509-1580

    Leigh.christian@aetossystems.com

  • 26 Jan 2015 11:55 AM | Leigh Christian (Administrator)

    January 2015 brought us a great WEDC meeting to recap and reflect on Moving forward from Good to Great in 2014.  With the outstanding leadership of President Sandy Edwards and her board and committee chairs, our organization grew tremendously.  One of many amazing accomplishments last year was the first Women’s Leadership Conference.  Lane Fabby and her team planned and orchestrated the conference that was tailored specifically to each person and they were able to assess their strengths and how to capitalize on them.  The WEDC 2014 Leadership Conference was designed to provide Education, Mentoring, and Networking Opportunities to Emerging, Transitioning, and Executive Leaders who were seeking professional development growth.  The outstanding speakers provided entertainment, substantial advice and inspiration beyond measure.  Many thanks for an amazing 2014 and we recognized Sandy Edwards for her leadership.

    As 2015 President. I shared some of my vision for 2015.  I have always felt that CONNECTIONS are the most important thing you can have.  Our theme for this year will be CONNECTIONS.  Connecting to Ourselves, Our Organization and Others.  We will use the book by John Maxwell – “Everybody Communicates – Few Connect”.   Each one of our committees:  Leadership/Training, Internal Networking, Membership, Mentorship, Communications, Community Outreach, and Finance Committees shared what they will focus on.  Please contact me at leigh.christian@aetossystems.com to connect to a committee if you have not done so already.  Thank you to each committee that has already made plans for this year!  I am available and am looking forward to connecting with you.  I want our WEDC group to become friends, supporters, encouragers, promoters and help each other more than ever before.  Suggest a career, a job, teaming, working together, etc. to your fellow WEDC Member.  We need to use our connections to ensure we are all connected better.  I want to thank you in advance for participating in WEDC and want to encourage you to become more active, attend more events, find ways to team or partner, to get involved and to get CONNECTED.  I want to emphasize the WEDC Retreat because this is a special way to connect more closely than ever.  I have not always made this a priority but this year I am!  It may seem a little expensive however I beg to differ – there is not enough money in the world to spend, to invest in yourself!  It is priceless!

    Looking forward to connecting with you all! 

    Leigh Christian

    2015 WEDC President


    As President of the Women's Economic Development Council, I pledge to  exemplify our mission statement; and will preserve the importance and  respect of my position. I will work consistently with passion, honesty,  integrity, a commitment to excellence, and a dedication to creativity and  innovation to bring about continued changes according to our WEDC organizational plan; to pro-actively represent and promote our membership:  and to uphold the values and purpose of the WEDC as defined by its founders.

  • 01 Jan 2015 4:29 PM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)

    Dear Members, 

     HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Well here it is… my final message as WEDC President. I have been very humbled to be given this opportunity to lead this group of accomplished women. Thank you to all who have been reading my monthly message and a special thanks to those of you who have reached out to me to give your feedback and told me how much you enjoyed it.  I truly appreciate it... hmmm.... maybe there is a blog in my future? One never knows what the future may hold which is why I love the start of a new year.  We have time to reflect, think of new possibilities, plan, and start with a clean slate.

    At our last December training session Lane Fabby walked us through a review of our year of Good to Great. She highlighted the main points from each chapter reminding us what we should have taken away from all of our wonderful speakers. Then we all did an exercises at our tables. We  had to list things we want to STOP doing for 2015. Many found this was not an easy thing to do. We have been trained to set goals of things we want to do, not the things we don’t want to do. It gave us a different perspective. After the meeting I took a look at some of the things you shared and here is a summary of things that seem to resonate with many of us. We want to STOP making excuses, stop apologizing, stop procrastinating, stop being inefficient, stop trying to do it all, stop taking people/things for granted, stop being afraid of trying/achieving success, stop not speaking up and not using our voice, stop expecting things to happen on their own, stop being a perfectionist, stop getting stressed, stop overcommitting, stop eating sweets…(okay I know you didn’t mean that last one). For WEDC many of you shared that you want to stop putting WEDC last, stop missing meetings/events, stop being apathetic, stop non participation, stop sitting next to those you know well and stop eating the dessert (uh-huh).   These are all good goals and just thing of how empowered we can be individually and as a group if we can stop doing these things!


    Now I would like to take us through the WEDC journey from Good to Great. It is a hard journey, we may never actually meet our destination of greatness, but we should try. The first line in the book says " Good is the enemy of Great", since its inception WEDC has been good and we have certainly had moments of greatness. But it is important to continually strive for greatness.


    1)      It starts with the Level 5 leader. This is a position we ALL must continue to strive for though we may never individually reach the status of a level 5 leader. They are few and far between. Level 5 leaders possess personal humility & professional will. They are modest and display an unrelenting diligence. They are fanatically driven to the success of the organization and strive to set up their successors for even greater success in the next generation. I SO want to be a level 5 leader. But that is the paradox, because I want to be one, I never will be one, because level 5 leaders don’t do it for themselves. Everything they do is for others and the organization without any thought for themselves.


    2)       First Who, then What. It is important to have the right people on the bus. That is why several years ago when we realized that our members were getting older (sorry but it’s a fact) and good portion of our group was retired we knew we needed to take action. We also noticed we were losing just as many members as were being brought in. So we started focusing on having high quality events and a recruiting effort looking for the best and brightest to bring into the organization. Membership is by INVITATION ONLY and guess what, not everyone should become a member. We encourage guests to come to meetings because we are putting on awesome learning events and want to share it with as many women (and a few good men) as possible. A person should join because they share our passion of our mission. If we have the right people we don’t have to motivate them, they will be self-motivated because we share the passion toward the mission

    3)      Confront the brutal facts. Ok this is always hard and it may make a couple of people mad, but here are a few insights into the organization we need to be aware of:

    WE ALL ARE BUSY. 

    THERE IS NO “I” IN WEDC. 

    IT’S NOT ABOUT THE LUNCH. The leadership training committee is works hard to put on monthly learning opportunities of high caliber to help develop our members and guests to become great leaders/business women.

    YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE. 

    4)      The Hedgehog Concept. This is a simple concept that flows from deep understanding and the intersection of 3 things: Passion, Strengths, and Need. So let’s look at our mission. “The WEDC is a group of women business professionals who provide opportunities to women for leadership and economic development through education, mentoring and networking. The WEDC exists to strengthen the position of women in business and the community.” Is this something we are all passionate about? I hope there was a resounding “YES!” Are we good at it? I think the leadership conference was a pretty good indication we can be really good at it. Is there a need in the community? That was the question put to us a few years ago.  Women have come a long way over the last 20 years, are we still relevant? Here are some thoughts. Women will always face challenges unique to women. The balance between work and family is much more prevalent to a woman. Salary disparities still abound, there is still a lack of women representing consumers at board tables, though facts show women make up a majority of consumers. And we do have some unique health issues, I am reminded of advice Gen Barbara Fast gave at the Leadership conference, she told us to “never make a big decision while having a hot flash”. Not sure many men have to worry about that! If you look at all these things I think we can say there will always be a need for a group dedicated to the needs and development of women in leadership positions. I think we got the Hedgehog concept! 


    5)       Culture of discipline. Ok this can be a struggle. Because I was curious I asked Lane if she would to pull together a summary of all of the individual strengths of the WEDC Board from the strength assessments we took for the conference, thinking it would be a good representation of our group as a whole and we might learn something about ourselves. The results were very interesting. Almost everyone has ACHEIVER as one of their top 5 strengths. Not surprising there. Do you know how many had DISCIPLINE as a strength? NONE. Yep, no one has discipline as a strength. We are a group of strong-minded, intelligent, high achieving women who don’t like being told what to do. But Good to Great is not about bureaucracy, setting up rules, attendance requirements and must do lists. It is more about sharing a common mission and passion for it and staying in the boundaries of what we are good at and meeting the need. In everything we do we must go back to the mission and ask the question “Does this support our mission of education, mentoring and networking to strengthen the position of women in the community.” If we each do this we will stay on task.


    6)      Technology Accelerators. This is the last piece of the Good to Great Flywheel. We didn’t spend much time on this topic but it is an important piece of the future of the organization. Good to Great points out that technology must work within the mission and must be used as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. The momentum must already be there. Many of us recall the days when people had to phone or fax in their reservation and then the difficulty we had converting people to use email, then the difficulty of converting everyone to go register and pay online. We don’t like change. WEDC does not need to be a leader in technology but if we want to continue to attract up and coming women executives we need to at least stay up-to date. The #1 complaint on the leadership conference surveys were the technical issues we had to deal with.  We still struggle with maintaining a website and getting people to use it. We still struggle with how to communicate and keep everyone “in the loop” without loading inboxes with email.   Is there a WEDC APP in our future? 

    All of these things have to come together week after week, month after month. It is a flywheel that needs continuous pushing to keep it going. It can be tiresome at times. We have got a lot of momentum going as we enter 2015. Let’s keep it going. Let’s support Leigh Christian and her board and they take over the steering wheel. There is already a full calendar planned. No, we will not sponsor a conference in 2015. We need time to regroup and reenergize. A conference of that high caliber needs two years of preplanning. But we do have wonderful training programs lined up and wonderful social, networking and mentoring events planned. Come to the January 15th meeting to hear all about it and to get the dates on your calendar!


    In summary I would like to quote Jim Collins. The last paragraph of the book Good to Great says it all…


    “When all these pieces come together not only does your work move toward greatness but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”


    HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HERE’S TO A GREAT 2015!!




    Sandy


     

    Dear Members, 

     HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Well here it is… my final message as WEDC President. I have been very humbled to be given this opportunity to lead this group of accomplished women. Thank you to all who have been reading my monthly message and a special thanks to those of you who have reached out to me to give your feedback and told me how much you enjoyed it.  I truly appreciate it... hmmm.... maybe there is a blog in my future? One never knows what the future may hold which is why I love the start of a new year.  We have time to reflect, think of new possibilities, plan, and start with a clean slate.

    At our last December training session Lane Fabby walked us through a review of our year of Good to Great. She highlighted the main points from each chapter reminding us what we should have taken away from all of our wonderful speakers. Then we all did an exercises at our tables. We  had to list things we want to STOP doing for 2015. Many found this was not an easy thing to do. We have been trained to set goals of things we want to do, not the things we don’t want to do. It gave us a different perspective. After the meeting I took a look at some of the things you shared and here is a summary of things that seem to resonate with many of us. We want to STOP making excuses, stop apologizing, stop procrastinating, stop being inefficient, stop trying to do it all, stop taking people/things for granted, stop being afraid of trying/achieving success, stop not speaking up and not using our voice, stop expecting things to happen on their own, stop being a perfectionist, stop getting stressed, stop overcommitting, stop eating sweets…(okay I know you didn’t mean that last one). For WEDC many of you shared that you want to stop putting WEDC last, stop missing meetings/events, stop being apathetic, stop non participation, stop sitting next to those you know well and stop eating the dessert (uh-huh).   These are all good goals and just thing of how empowered we can be individually and as a group if we can stop doing these things!

    Now I would like to take us through the WEDC journey from Good to Great. It is a hard journey, we may never actually meet our destination of greatness, but we should try. The first line in the book says " Good is the enemy of Great", since its inception WEDC has been good and we have certainly had moments of greatness. But it is important to continually strive for greatness.

    1)      It starts with theLevel 5 leader. This is a position we ALL must continue to strive for though we may never individually reach the status of a level 5 leader. They are few and far between. Level 5 leaders possess personal humility & professional will. They are modest and display an unrelenting diligence. They are fanatically driven to the success of the organization and strive to set up their successors for even greater success in the next generation. I SOwant to be a level 5 leader. But that is theparadox, because I want to be one, I never will be one, because level 5 leaders don’t do it for themselves. Everything they do is for others and the organization without any thought for themselves.

    2)       First Who, then What. It is important to have the right people on the bus. That is why several years ago when we realized that our members were getting older (sorry but it’s a fact) and good portion of our group was retired we knew we needed to take action. We also noticed we were losing just as many members as were being brought in. So we started focusing on having high quality events and a recruiting effort looking for the best and brightest to bring into the organization. We have brought 2 of the largest new member classes in the last two years. We have gotten some flack from it, people concerned we are growing too fast, saying we are diluting our membership and passion by bringing so many new people. But I will stand by each and everyone one of the new members that have joined. They have already made an impact and stepped up to contribute in making this a great organization. But in light of the comments, the membership committee is “tightening up” the member qualifications. Also this year it is MANDATORY to attend a member sponsorship training if you want to sponsor a new member. This will take place at the January Business meeting. We rely on current members to bring in good new members so it is important everyone understands what type of person we are looking for in a member and understand the process of bringing them in. Membership is by INVITATION ONLY and guess what, not everyone should become a member. We encourage guests to come to meetings because we are putting on awesome learning events and want to share it with as many women (and a few good men) as possible. A person should join because they share our passion of our mission. If we have the right people we don’t have to motivate them, they will be self-motivated because we share the passion toward the mission

    3)      Confront the brutal facts. Ok this is always hard and it may make a couple of people mad, but here are a few insights into the organization we need to be aware of:

    • WE ALL ARE BUSY. Trying to set up a meeting that everyone can attend is nearly impossible. But I think we can all do better at trying to set our schedules to fit WEDC in. We have to figure out how to work as a team. The more of us that step up and the more we can spread the work around the better. As a member you had made a commitment to the organization, keep it.
    • THERE IS NO “I” IN WEDC. But there is a “WE”. The attitude of “What’s in it for me” must stop. When people leave WEDC we usually hear that they weren’t getting anything out of WEDC. If you feel this way, I ask you to look at what you are putting in. The more you put in the more you will get out of it. (Also refer to #1)
    • IT’S NOT ABOUT THE LUNCH. The leadership training committee is works hard to put on monthly learning opportunities of high caliber to help develop our members and guests to become great leaders/business women. If you are coming based on food/price, you are missing the point. Also, I understand dietary issues. Some are by choice (vegetarian) some are health related (gluten), but we are now getting requests for salt free meals and it seems some new request is made every month. As hard as we will continue to try, we aren’t going to always be able to accommodate everyone’s special needs, so please be understanding. Of all the venues we have dealt with the WESTIN has been the most gracious & easiest to work with but they have limits and yes sometimes they miss the mark. But overall they provide a very professional atmosphere and accommodations and we are pleased to stay there for 2015.
    • YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE. As a people pleaser this is a hard one for me, but not everyone will enjoy everything we do. We really appreciate all the feedback given to us on the survey cards, the board anxiously awaits to hear what everyone has to say and we take it all to heart to continue improvement; and of course we want all 5’s and “it was wonderful” comments. It still amazes me how one person can rave and give 5++ to an event while others will pan it and give it low marks. I used to take it personally but I have learned that everyone just has different needs/wants. WEDC will continue to try to hit everyone’s need which is why you will continue to see a multitude of education, mentoring and networking events for 2015. You don’t have to go to everything, pick what you think will enjoy! But come!

    and the Good news….. We have and will continue to overcome these obstacles if we persevere and retain faith in the passion for the mission.

    4)      The Hedgehog Concept. This is a simple concept that flows from deep understanding and the intersection of 3 things: Passion, Strengths, and Need. So let’s look at our mission. “The WEDC is a group of women business professionals who provide opportunities to women for leadership and economic development through education, mentoring and networking. The WEDC exists to strengthen the position of women in business and the community.” Is this something we are all passionate about? I hope there was a resounding “YES!” Are we good at it? I think the leadership conference was a pretty good indication we can be really good at it. Is there a need in the community? That was the question put to us a few years ago.  Women have come a long way over the last 20 years, are we still relevant? Here are some thoughts. Women will always face challenges unique to women. The balance between work and family is much more prevalent to a woman. Salary disparities still abound, there is still a lack of women representing consumers at board tables, though facts show women make up a majority of consumers. And we do have some unique health issues, I am reminded of advice Gen Barbara Fast gave at the Leadership conference, she told us to “never make a big decision while having a hot flash”. Not sure many men have to worry about that! If you look at all these things I think we can say there will always be a need for a group dedicated to the needs and development of women in leadership positions. I think we got the Hedgehog concept! 

    5)       Culture of discipline. Ok this can be a struggle. Because I was curious I asked Lane if she would to pull together a summary of all of the individual strengths of the WEDC Board from the strength assessments we took for the conference, thinking it would be a good representation of our group as a whole and we might learn something about ourselves. The results were very interesting. Almost everyone has ACHEIVER as one of their top 5 strengths. Not surprising there. Do you know how many had DISCIPLINE as a strength? NONE. Yep, no one has discipline as a strength. We are a group of strong-minded, intelligent, high achieving women who don’t like being told what to do. ButGood to Great is not about bureaucracy, setting up rules, attendance requirements and must do lists. It is more about sharing a common mission and passion for it and staying in the boundaries of what we are good at and meeting the need. In everything we do we must go back to the mission and ask the question “Does this support our mission of education, mentoring and networking to strengthen the position of women in the community.” If we each do this we will stay on task.

    6)      Technology Accelerators. This is the last piece of the Good to Great Flywheel. We didn’t spend much time on this topic but it is an important piece of the future of the organization. Good to Great points out that technology must work within the mission and must be used as an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it. The momentum must already be there. Many of us recall the days when people had to phone or fax in their reservation and then the difficulty we had converting people to use email, then the difficulty of converting everyone to go register and pay online. We don’t like change. WEDC does not need to be a leader in technology but if we want to continue to attract up and coming women executives we need to at least stay up-to date. The #1 complaint on the leadership conference surveys were the technical issues we had to deal with.  We still struggle with maintaining a website and getting people to use it. We still struggle with how to communicate and keep everyone “in the loop” without loading inboxes with email.   Is there a WEDC APP in our future? We need help.  If you have skills in this area or know someone who might be able to volunteer their time please let us know and come join the communication committee tackle this!

    All of these things have to come together week after week, month after month. It is a flywheel that needs continuous pushing to keep it going. It can be tiresome at times. We have got a lot of momentum going as we enter 2015. Let’s keep it going. Let’s support Leigh Christian and her board and they take over the steering wheel. There is already a full calendar planned. No, we will not sponsor a conference in 2015. We need time to regroup and reenergize. A conference of that high caliber needs two years of preplanning. But we do have wonderful training programs lined up and wonderful social, networking and mentoring events planned. Come to the January 15th meeting to hear all about it and to get the dates on your calendar!

    In summary I would like to quote Jim Collins. The last paragraph of the bookGood to Great says it all…

    “When all these pieces come together not only does your work move toward greatness but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.”

    HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HERE’S TO A GREAT 2015!!


    Sandy

  • 16 Dec 2014 9:08 PM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)
    In October of 2012, the Women’s’ Economic Development Council celebrated its 20th year of existence.  During this celebration, there was much reflection on the past 20 years as well as the next 20 years. Part of this reflection was to determine if the mission was still appropriate and still the role of the organization. It was decide no change to the mission was needed. The mission was still as relevant today as it had been. But the organization’s activity needed to be refocused.

    The mission of the WEDC is to provide opportunities to women for leadership and economic development through education, mentoring and networking. The WEDC exists to strengthen the position of women in business and the community.

    The 2013 incoming President chose a theme of “Moving Forward” and decided it was time to revamp and re-build the organization for the next 20 years. Through focus groups, the leadership team gathered information and ideas from current members and put together a long-term strategic plan, to include new goals, a recruiting plan and creating a new vision for the organization.
     
    As WEDC entered the year 2014, the new incoming President wanting to continue this journey used the theme, “Moving Forward from Good to Great,” based from the inspiration she received through the book of Jim Collins.  Throughout the year, WEDC members studied the book and delved into topics such as creating a culture of discipline, the hedgehog concept, and the flywheel principle, to name a few. The goal: to build WEDC from Good to Great, as well as member’s individual businesses and individual’s personal growth. 
     
    This plan continued the written objective of the strategic plan and carried them forward. One of the strategic initiatives was to spread the influence of WEDC and to reach as many others as possible.  The WEDC is proud to have held our first comprehensive Leadership Conference entitled, Your Journey to Great Leadership & Capitalizing on Your Strengths. Thus fulfilling a goal of our strategic plan and being the culminating event of the year as a result of the effort and work of our membership. On Nov 13th and 14th 200 women (and a few brave men) came together to strive towards Greatness.
     
    The purpose of the conference was for WEDC to spread its influence and provide Education, Mentoring, and Networking opportunities to women in North Alabama and the State of Alabama. The conference was targeted toward Emerging Leaders, Transitioning Leaders as well as Executive Leaders. This cross section of leaders of all levels provided a unique aspect to the conference, to bring them together to learn and share with each other and build relationships.
     
    A great deal of hard work went into the event to ensure that the conference was content rich and high-quality. WEDC wanted braggingly happy participants who would leave the Conference both enriched and invigorated to make a positive difference in their own lives or in the lives of others.
     
    The conference provided participants a Strengths Assessment Tool, Insights on Leadership, Networking and Mentoring Opportunities, Educational Training Materials, and a venue to Build Relationships. The conference was a huge success as participants have shared many takeaways and actions they will take forward.
     
    WEDC is very excited to have been able to provide such a high quality event to the community. But through the process we benefited so much more. By keeping our strategic plan on the forefront and revisiting it quarterly, we have been able to be a more effective organization and have stayed on task with more focus. We have accomplished so much this year!  We have held political forums, raised money at record levels for our Foundation, built bridges with many other community organizations. Also, by involving all members in the process we brought our group together and worked as a team creating closer bonds to each other. It was wonderful to see new people step up and get more involved.
     
    As we enter the year 2015 we are getting the Plan back out to review, update and see what the next big goal is. What GREAT things can we do in the future? 
     
    So when was the last time your team came together to dream the big dreams? When was the last time you visited your strategic plan? When was the last time you checked something off your strategic plan task list? 
     
    Strategic planning provides the roadmap for organizations to move forward toward the achievement of their goals and objectives and, ultimately, their mission and vision. To be effective, strategic planning must encompass all levels of organization with involvement from as many as possible and practicable. But it has to be a living document, don’t let it sit on your shelf. It must be visited and updated frequently, flexible enough to be adjusted as circumstances occur and not so rigid that creativity is stifled.
     
    So go plan, do and achieve GREAT things!
     


  • 11 May 2014 11:23 PM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)
    Hello Friends!
     
     

     I am a little late with my recap this month, but things have been very busy lately with all of the many activities going on this spring and the end of schools activities. It has been fun observing the kids graduating this year and their excitement about what lies ahead in their future. They are all struggling with what they want to do when they grow up.

    This very topic is one I think we all struggle with at some point in our lives and this month’s meeting gave us some good information to help clarify our thinking. At this month’s meeting Jamilla Randall reviewed Good to GreatChapter 5: The Hedgehog concept and spoke to us about finding our passion. When I was listening to her I was reminded of a person I have met just recently. I  had the fortune to spend a few days in Huntsville Hospital last month. On my first day there, not feeling well at all, a lady comes bounding into my room with a big smile and introduces herself as Karen with housekeeping and she would be visiting me everyday to clean my room. My husband responded with a comment like, "Well, that's an important job.” She replied    ”Yes, it is very important, lots of germs in a hospital. I love to clean and disinfect. I hate dirt! I see a speck of dirt and I just have to  go after it. (She paused and smiled bigger)...I think it is my OCD, but  I love my job!.” Every day she would come with the same sunny disposition. She became the highlight of my day. A job one might feel insignificant in the big scheme of things became integral in my satisfaction as a customer. Karen had found a job that she was passionate about, she was good at, and really needed doing. She found her sweet spot. How lucky is the hospital to find a person like that. I was kinda wishing I could take her home with me...

    The Hedge concept encourages us to focus on that one thing we (or our companies) are good at, just one thing. Because if we spread ourselves trying to do too much, we lose focus and it is harder to do many things well. Then it must be the one thing that  you also ENJOY doing. But THEN there is the real clincher….. finding this one thing that is also needed and others would be willing to pay you to do it! When you do that…..you have found your sweet spot.

    Let’s look at WEDC as an example. Here is our mission: The WEDC is a group of women business professionals who provide opportunities to women for leadership and economic development through education, mentoring and networking. So let’s ask ourselves: is this something we can get passionate about? Is this something we are good at? And lastly do we provide a value that women are willing to invest in ? I hope we all answer a resounding YES! But here is another question we need to ask.....can we lose focus or try to do to much?.... We probably answered yes to this too. In everything WEDC does, participates in, supports, we need to always come back to our mission and validate the things we are doing.

    One thing I hope we can all get passionate about is our Leadership conference. At this month’s meeting Sonja Greene and Karen Ouriel gave a short presentation about our Leadership Conference. This is going to be a wonderful event on November 13th and 14th.  Our committees have been doing a great job pulling it all together. This conference is designed to fully support our mission of providing education, mentoring and networking opportunities to women. This conference is our OUTREACH to the community. We need to get the word out to all the women in our community! Every WEDC member was challenged to invite someone to come to the conference. Every WEDC member was also asked to take a corporate information packet to their business or to give to another business contact and ask for their participation. If you were not at the meeting our conference chairs can email you a packet. We need everyone involved to make this conference successful! Registration is open on our WEDC website.www.wedchsv.org.

    Also we have a facebook page and event set up so if you are on facebook please go search for Women's Economic Development Council and like/share/post on our page!! This page is different to our WEDC Group, which is for members only communication.

    There are also a lot of great activities so please check the newsflash and/or website and stay involved!

  • 22 Apr 2014 10:19 AM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)

    I hope everyone got to read our Monthly Journal - It hit the mark on this month's topic! 

    Sandy

    WEDC MONTHLY JOURNAL:

    In Jim Collins book, Good to Great, the Hedgehog Concept can be summed up as: Doing one thing and doing it well.  The concept has a three pronged approach.1. Knowing what you do BEST, 2.Knowing what will allow you to make a living, and 3. Knowing what you are deeply passionate about.  In Chapter 5 Collins uses Isaiah Berlin’s parable of the fox and the hedgehog.  The fox tries many different attempts to eat the hedgehog.  The hedgehog does what he does every time the fox has a new plan.  He uses his ONE plan, he rolls into a ball.  It has worked on all the other strategies the fox has had – and continues to work.  The hedgehog does what he does best.  While Collins associates this concept to companies like Walgreens and Eckerd, we can take a step back and apply these three principles to ourselves personally. 

    What if you do not KNOW what you are passionate about or what you do best.  What then?? The Hedgehog Concept is great when you know these things.  What if you have been the fox for so long, devising strategy after strategy, chasing your own tail, so to speak?  It is easy to get caught up in the pace of the world and think that the more we do the better we are.  If we are going to apply what Collins says then we might have to take a step back.  We might need some quiet time to reflect to find out what our three prongs are.  It may be that you engage a friend or life coach to help figure it out.  Who doesn’t want a simpler approach with more success/greatness? 

    We have a very special opportunity coming up this year.  As many of you have seen, WEDC is hosting the first Leadership Conference here in Huntsville.  One of the speakers will be Ms. Jo Miller, CEO, Women’s Leadership Consulting, Inc.  Her topic:  Transitioning your Passion to Purpose.  How timely!! She has an article that pairs greatly with Collins’s Hedgehog Concept.  In
     Know Your Niche: 5 Leadership Quotes about Finding Your Career Sweet Spot she has compiled some quotes to help drill down to where you want to lead and how best to achieve that goal.  The theme that runs through that article is: Know what you are good at (vision, values and goals).  If we know them we do not sacrifice our self-esteem or integrity – we know what we need to sustain us and fulfill our goals.  As important as knowing what you are good at, however, it is equally as beneficial to know what you are NOT good at.  Know this before you take a job.  Know your passion – then how it fits in what you are doing or in your organization.  The final points she draws out are very intertwined: Know yourself/Be authentic and Develop your own style. 

    Sometimes it is difficult to take a good hard look at yourself, to assess your strengths and weaknesses.  It may be hard to admit if we are not good at something, because most of us want to be good at everything.  But maybe, just maybe if we left behind those things that we are not good at to pursue the things that we ARE best at, we might just turn out to be…..GREAT.    
     

    Collins, James C. "Chapter 5: The Hedgehog Concept." Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap--and Others Don't. New York, NY: HarperBusiness, 2001. N. pag. Print


    Smith, Stephanie. "Jim Collins' Hedgehog Concept." Http://www.success.com/. N.p., 7 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
     

    Miller, Jo.  "Know Your Niche: 5 Leadership Quotes about Finding Your Career Sweet Spot." Weblog post.Http:womensleadershipcoaching.blogspot.com/. N.p., 11Mar 2014. Web. 7 Apr 2014.

  • 10 Apr 2014 4:52 PM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)
    Registration is ioen please visit the conference page for more information.
    Check us out at AL.COM!!

    http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2014/04/huntsvilles_women_leaders_invi.html
  • 07 Apr 2014 2:56 PM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)
    Congratulations Stephanie Warnes, 2013 Quantech Regional Employee of the Year
  • 02 Apr 2014 7:48 AM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)

    Thanks to your support and contributions, the Campaign to Elect Kimberly Battle is ready to announce candidacy for the office of Huntsville City School Board Representative, District 4. 

    Please come out and join me as together we commemorate this great occasion. 

    WHAT: Press Conference to launch the Campaign to Elect Kimberly Battle

    WHO: Kimberly Battle

    WHEN: April 4th, 2014 at 2pm CST

    WHERE: Gibson’s Bar-B-Q, 3319 Memorial Parkway, Huntsville, Al 35801, 256-881-4851

    WHY:  To launch the campaign for new leadership on the Huntsville City School board in District 4 and to support moving the discussion with our school system toward the bright future on the horizon. 

    I would be honored if you join me to begin our race to victory!  Please RSVP your attendance tocontactkimberly@battleforeducation2014.com

    Thanks

    Campaign to Elect Kimberly Battle
    P.O. Box 1862
    Huntsville, Al 35805
    (256)-361-9745


  • 10 Mar 2014 9:25 AM | Sandra Edwards (Administrator)
    Press Release:
    http://blog.al.com/press-releases/2014/03/womens_economic_development_co.html

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