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Message from the executive director


"I Keep Coming Back to the Importance of Community at a Time Like This"

May 1, 2013

On April 15, the Boston Marathon bombings shut down the city, shocked the country and gave us flashbacks to terrorist tragedies of the past few decades.  Our Boston leadership team had a “meetup” scheduled for the next evening, with 55 women coming to learn about TTN.   Should they carry on or cancel?

The team was unanimous in deciding to go ahead with the event, with chair Roberta Taylor commenting:  “TTN is about connection and community building.  When this kind of trauma occurs, it’s all the more important that we come together to support each other and continue to grow.  There may be people who choose to not attend tonight but it's important to go with our plan, acknowledge what happened and be able to move on.”

They were right.  “There was such a wonderful sense of excitement in the room, in spite of the unspeakable horror that took place here only yesterday,” reported Mary Klein, a board member who attended the evening.  Participants learned that TTN is a safe place in challenging times, and a place that helps us make the most of this stage of life – getting support for our transitions and realizing our dreams in the company of life-enhancing women from many backgrounds.

TTN Boston is building its numbers steadily, with another 55 women signed up for a May Meetup and a May 30 program featuring Advisory Board member Abigail Trafford on “Making the Most of the Bonus Decades.”  Many thanks to the leadership team building our Boston community: chair Roberta Taylor, Susan Crown, Gail Ellis, Pam Berman, Amy Lampert, Kate Taylor and Gaye Wells.

Community – and girlfriends – were also the theme of our very successful North-Central New Jersey program on April 20 featuring Advisory Board member Suzanne Braun Levine.  Suzanne’s new book is “You Gotta Have Girlfriends – Why a Post-50 Posse is Good for Your Health”; participants celebrated friendships, shared ideas about disengaging from toxic friendships and making new friends…and learned how TTN can be a catalyst for all of those.  Congratulations to the leadership team including Pam Brownstein, Karen Lombardo, Barbara Bressler and Ann Freedman on bringing more TTN activities to New Jersey.

Zooming across the country, Santa Fe celebrated its first anniversary in April with a Member Showcase and music session.  Shopping, a sing-along and cake – what’s not to like?  The chapter has grown to 125 members thanks to the creative, in-touch leadership of Jean Palmer (coordinator), Jeanne Roos, Jutta von Gontard, Patty Armstrong, Sheila Doran-Benyon, Pat Shapiro, Karen Hodges, Betty Bartos, Lisa Reed and Maria Francis.

In addition to our wealth of local activities, TTN is building community across the country with our Ambassadors program, providing a go-to person when you’re traveling to one of our chapter cities (see the full article for details and contacts), and the launch of our National Member Information Exchange (MIX) program, connecting members to share health experiences.  National MIX gives you an easy way to benefit from others’ health experiences when you need information – for instance:

“I need a knee replacement and would love to talk to someone who had surgery recently.”

“My doctor has suggested I go on a gluten-free diet; can you connect me with someone who’s gluten-intolerant?”

Let others benefit from your experiences and give yourself the benefit of joining National MIX – you’ll be glad you did!  Please read our National MIX article for full information on the program and how to sign up. 


P.S. - In her column for the May newsletter, Board President Ellen Bartoldus shares the news that I will be making a transition of my own this summer.  In early August, my husband Bob and I will set out to fulfill his lifelong dream, an extended cross-country road trip in celebration of his 65th birthday, and I’ll bid a very fond farewell to my role as TTN’s Executive Director.  As you’ve observed, Bob and I love to travel, and we want to make this ambitious trip while we’re healthy enough to enjoy it to the fullest. I'm committed to helping the board recruit a new Executive Director with the passion and skills to continue our growth and increase the impact of  our work, and Í look forward to finding my next “encore” when I’m back. 

The past eight years have been the most satisfying period of my work life – learning from all of you smart, energetic, talented and inspiring women; growing TTN from one chapter and 350 members to nine chapters and 2,000 members; building the encore movement; and showcasing the capabilities of women over 50.  Thank you for making this latest phase of my career such a fulfilling experience.