At the board meeting at Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin, May 16-20. Back row from left: Stephanie Hall, Susan Oxley (CWR Coordinator), Dave Eck, Sarah Jenkins, Rochelle Cassella, Jean Merry, Kate Martin, Carol Scheiber (NRVC liaison), Kathy Gatliff. Front row from left: Eileen Dickerson, CWR chair; Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, vice chair; and Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, treasurer.

At the board meeting at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, May 16-20. Back row from left: Stephanie Hall, Susan Oxley (CWR Coordinator), Dave Eck, Sarah Jenkins, Rochelle Cassella, Jean Merry, Kate Martin, Carol Scheiber (NRVC Liaison), Kathy Gatliff, Jennifer Kaminski, Nicholas Schafer (CWR Executive Director as of June 1). Front row from left: Eileen Dickerson, Chair; Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, Vice Chair; and Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, Treasurer.

Dear CWR Friends:

In the interest of keeping you informed, the Communicators for Women Religious Board of Directors shares highlights of our monthly meetings. The Board met at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin, May 17-19, 2016.

Our daily meetings began and ended with 30-minute prayer and reflection prepared by Stephanie Hall.

We welcomed Nicholas Schafer, CFRE, who assumed his position as CWR Executive Director on June 1. Each Board member shared with Nick what they believe are the most important things for him to know about the organization at this time.

The Board also welcomed Coordinator Susan Oxley as a full time employee, beginning June 1. Susan has served CWR well for 12 years as an independent contractor.

Minutes of the April Board meeting were approved as submitted.

Board Chair Eileen Dickerson, who also serves as Co-Chair of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, gave a report on the Committee’s latest activity that included finalizing hiring documents, payroll service, and healthcare coverage for our two full-time employees (Nick and Susan) as well as our new office space at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Coordinator’s Report
Coordinator Susan Oxley provided a written report of her activities from January to May and gave an update on membership. We are pleased to share with you that we have broken the 200 benchmark — our current membership is 207!

Treasurer’s Report and Finance Committee Report
Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair Beth Kress, PBVM, reported balances for the CWR bank accounts and investments as of April 30, 2016. Beth also reported that Automatic Data Processing, Inc., (ADP) will be providing CWR with payroll service beginning June 1 for two full-time employees. Susan Oxley presented the new bookkeeping format for financials (Jan. 1 to April 27, 2016) that she worked on with Cathy Brickey, accounting consultant for CWR.

Marketing and Communications Committees
Marketing Committee Co-chair Jennifer Kaminski gave an update about CWR advertising (listing in National Catholic Reporter, ad in Catholic Press Association 2016 conference program). We reviewed a draft of a new CWR Fact Sheet. We reviewed a new CWR entry on the Wikipedia website. A conference 2016 press release will be ready soon, and the committee is compiling a media list for the press release.

After studying task lists for the marketing and communications committees and hearing from those committee chairs, the board voted to merge the two committees. Some of their tasks are similar in nature and often overlap. Also, the goals of the Communications Committee have sometimes been unclear. The board commended these committees for all they have accomplished.

Presentation on Board Financial Oversight
The CWR Executive Team invited Nancy Gonsiorek, CPA, to give a two-hour presentation on best practices for nonprofit board financial oversight. Nancy’s presentation included information on governance, legal compliance, federal and state requirements, and responsible fundraising.

Membership Committee Report
The board discussed a report from the committee on membership structures, including a survey of other professional member organizations. After discussion of CWR’s membership makeup and the goals of the organization, the board decided to make no changes at this time.

Conference 2016 Indianapolis
Committee Chair Kathy Gatliff reported that the 2016 conference registration brochure is at the printer and ready to mail. We discussed the possibility of a door prize drawing for those visiting the exhibitor booths. The Membership Committee will host the speed-sharing activities during the breakout sessions on Thursday afternoon. Additional discussion took place regarding the evening activities and using the expanded version of the Yapp app this year. Follow-up details will be sent via the listserv and Yapp app, including “500 Ways to Turbocharge Your Communications!”

NRVC Report
National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) liaison Carol Scheiber provided a written report. Carol expressed gratitude to all CWR members for our continuous support of NRVC and our work to share the mission and ministry of women religious. She highlighted NRVC’s publications and shared information on upcoming important events:

  • Vocation Ambassadors meeting this summer in South Bend, Indiana
  • World Youth Days, Krakow, Poland: NRVC is taking an active part at a vocation booth
  • Biennial NRVC convocation this fall. Salt and Light TV is organizing a livestreamed panel discussion with 6 young religious.

Board Nominees for 2017
Since there are no outgoing Board members this year, there are no openings for Board service in 2017. There will be board positions available for 2018.

Conference 2017 Niagara Falls
Planning Commitee Chair Dave Eck shared that his enthusiastic committee began discussion on the conference theme and topics for keynotes and workshops.

Development Committee Report
Development Committee Chair Kate Martin reported that thus far we have raised $1,600 in a combination of donors, a sponsor, and exhibitors. We have pending requests to be followed up; we also have some new leads to be initially contacted. Last year we accomplished raising $6,000. This year we would like to raise $10,000 to offset the expenses of the annual conference.

CWR members: Please contact Kate Martin with any suggestions for sponsors (donations of $500, $1,000 or more; exhibitors ($150 per table); advertisers via the welcome bag ($50); or Local Ministry Marketplace exhibitors ($75 per table). The exhibitor contract and sponsorship form are available online. Online payment for conference exhibitors and sponsors is also available this. year.

CWR Board of Directors
Eileen Dickerson, Chair
Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, Vice Chair
Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, Treasurer
Rochelle Cassella
Dave Eck
Kathy Gatliff
Stephanie Hall
Sarah Jenkins
Jennifer Kaminski
Kate Martin
Jean Merry
Annmarie Sanders, IHM (LCWR Liaison)
Carol Schuck Scheiber (NRVC Liaison)