Message from the executive director
South Florida is Ready to Belong
April 30, 2014Long before I took the title of Executive Director, I felt passion for the mission of this wonderful organization. When I tell prospective members that I've seen TTN change women's lives, I'm also speaking about my own life. It's thrilling to now take that message out of the central office and into the meetings and gatherings that are happening around the country.
My first visit outside the Northeast took me to South Florida where Nancy Kalikow Maxwell and Julia McGinty realized they needed TTN to deal with their own transitions. So they decided to start a chapter. Does that remind you of any other story you've heard? Perhaps it was the story of Charlotte and Christine who asked the question over 14 years ago - are we the only women who are looking ahead at the next 30 years and wondering 'what do we do now?' Of course, the answer was "no," they weren't the only ones wondering that so they started The Transition Network.
I spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening dining with Julie and Susan, sharing our stories and talking about the nuts and bolts of building a steering committee, getting peer groups started and understanding the unique opportunity for their area that comes with the "snowbirds." After dinner, we walked along Deerfield Beach breathing the sea air and happy that Spring had finally arrived.
The next day I attended the monthly meeting and was thrilled to see 15 women come out to hear an excellent presentation on Women and Money. TTN member, Bonnie Mitten's 27 years experience as a financial advisor was evident as she showed us what we need to know, and should watch out for, in managing our own finances. It was enlightening, even for someone like me who has managed her own money all her life.
We then had some time to chat about TTN, this community of women who find each other at a point in their lives that can be so confusing. As Julie put it, "how come nobody told me what it would be like after I left my career?" Like so many, if not all of us, she felt the lack of connection and purpose that comes when you leave behind the role that defined you for much of your life.
What bright, energetic women! Judy, a new member of the steering committee, still works. She's been looking for community impact opportunities and made an important connection with Wounded Warriors of South Florida. Maya is a practicing psychologist interested in how video conferencing might be useful in bringing people together. Sally asked great questions about TTN's mission and offered ideas on getting the word out about TTN. Adele told us a great story about the "Stroke Club" and her experiences as a group facilitator. I met another Susan and we bonded over how we dislike being called 'Sue!' She hosts a transition peer group in her home and was eagerly inviting new members to join in.
Do you recognize these special women? They are members of TTN and women like them show up all over the country. Each is unique in her story, her experience and in what she brings to this community of women. What they share is a desire to connect and support each other and to figure out how to continue living a meaningful life.
While Julie and I were having breakfast at her home, I saw a great white heron fly over the trees. For me, this particular bird always signaled hope and happiness and I told Julie that it was going to be a great day. It was. It truly was.