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 via videoconference on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Jennifer Kaminski opened the meeting, sharing a prayer with the members.

Minutes of the August Board meeting were approved.

Board Chair Eileen Dickerson reminded the Board that the revisions to the CWR by-laws regarding governance have been sent to all members. The revised by-laws will be voted on by the members at the business meeting at the conference. Requested absentee ballots were provided by Coordinator Susan Oxley.

Eileen said that the Board and some members of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee are hosting a dinner for representatives from potential collaborating organizations on Thursday evening during the conference. The purpose of the dinner is to build relationships with organizations whose work is related to Catholic sisters.

Executive Director Nick Schafer reported that the CWR office continues to come together. WiFi and phone installation are now complete. Susan Oxley’s call for CWR members to send small mementos/symbols of their congregations for display in a decorative case in the office has been a success. Many items have been sent, with many more coming during the October conference.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Nick and Susan hosted an open house for CWR’s Catholic Theological Union “neighbors” to stop by to enjoy refreshments and see our new offices. This event was hosted in conjunction with the Religious Formation Conference, which occupies the office next to CWR. The event was well attended (20-30 visitors), and Susan and Nick met CTU staff and members of other tenant organizations in the building as well.

Nick informed the Board that he is looking forward to attending as many CWR regional gatherings as time and scheduling allow.

Nick and Strategic Plan Implementation Committee Co-Chair Julie Gilberto-Brady attended the J.S. Paluch Vocations Seminar in Rosemont, Illinois, Aug. 22-24. The event allowed them to connect with partner organizations, both in Chicago and North America. Most notably, they connected with representatives from CMSWR, USCCB Communication Office and Salt and Light Media of Toronto, Canada. The gathering also provided an opportunity for Nick to meet with Sr. Maxine and Sr. Julie from A Nun’s Life Ministry, the Chair of the Board for the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry, and many others. Nick also connected with Mary Lou (Paluch) and Bill Rafferty. Though the focus of the gathering was clearly vocations, everything discussed circled back to a need for open, clear and compelling communication.

Nick told the Board that the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Sister to All Campaign yielded mixed reactions from CWR members. Some members were concerned about the short timelines between the kick-off call and launch, limited communication with CWR members about the project, and limited choice of ministries and congregations represented in the initial campaign.

Nick said that he believes that the campaign will be successful in the long run and that CWR learned a great deal about structure and roll-out of our own future organizational campaigns. Chief among those lessons: provide communicators with enough time to prepare for participation in the effort; provide tools so that individual congregations may customize social media to be simultaneously representative of their congregations as well as the overall campaign; provide campaign details in writing in a central location so those who may miss kick-off calls can find materials clearly; establish and publicize a clear timeline for event benchmarks. Nick will continue to follow up with members and gather feedback regarding the campaign.

Finally, Nick told the Board that he is researching ways to enhance member education and services.

Susan gave a financial report, in Sister Beth Kress’ absence. Sister Beth (CWR Treasurer), Nick and Susan met with contracted accounting consultant Cathy Brickey to discuss new methods of financial reporting in light of the increased revenue of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation grant and the new organizational structure. The new reporting will provide a clearer and more accurate picture of CWR’s finances.

Marketing Committee Co-Chair Jennifer Kaminski shared with the Board a CWR ad in Our Sunday Visitor’s Saint (Mother) Teresa special edition. She said the committee is researching other advertising options for CWR. In preparation for the conference, the Marketing Committee is working on a new CWR Fact Sheet, and committee members will strive to make personal contact before, during and after the conference with the non-members who are attending.

Membership Committee Chair Sarah Jenkins shared the planned activities for the Conference, especially for Orientation. The committee is contacting new members and first-time attendees.

Conference 2016 Committee Chair Kathy Gatliff and her committee are fine-tuning all of the final details for the October event. We now have 144 registered. Kathy asks all members to reach out warmly and hospitably to first-time attendees. New members will have ribbons on their name badges.

Committee member Stephanie Hall reminds members to download CWR’s Yapp app to be up to date of all of the conference related information and fun.

We ask all conference attendees to share their experience on social media using this hashtag: #C4WR16

Development Committee Chair Kate Martin shared a list of 20 conference exhibitors, sponsors and donors. Kate asks all conference attendees to visit/patronize our exhibitors.

Conference 2017 Committee Chair Dave Eck said that his committee is continuing to firm up potential speakers and workshops for the conference. There will be a Conference 2017 exhibit table at the conference.

We look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis!

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