The CWR Board at Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin. Standing from left: Julie Gilberto-Brady, Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, vice chair; Stephanie Manseau, Carol Scheiber, NRVC liaison; Paulette Gardner, SSA; Beth Kress, PBVM, treasurer; Eileen Dickerson, chair; Kathy Gatliff, Kate Martin. Seated from left: Paula Schultz, Stephanie Hall, Jennifer Kaminski.

Dear CWR Friends:

In the interest of keeping you informed, the CWR Board of Directors shares highlights of our monthly meetings. The Communicators for Women Religious Board of Directors met at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin from Tuesday, May 19 through Thursday, May 22. Here are the highlights of that meeting:

The meeting opened with a prayer shared by Board Member Kate Martin.

April Board meeting minutes were approved.

Carl Meirose, Senior Consultant from American City Bureau, worked with the Board to create an organizational strategic plan for 2016-18, based on the findings of ACB’s recent study of CWR. ACB’s study included in-person and videoconference focus groups, an on-line survey and interviews with representatives and colleagues from organizations that have had working or collaborative relationships with CWR. The strategic planning process, which focused on the themes of challenge and opportunity, unfolded throughout the entire week and included studying the data, prayerful reflection, thoughtful questioning and candid discussion. The Board will continue to refine the plan over the summer and will present the new strategic plan to the members for ratification at the Conference in October in Albuquerque.

Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, reported that:

  • 2014 Compilation of 2014 Fiscal Year is being completed by the CPA who is contracted by CWR
  • First Quarter 2015 Report (January 1 through March 31, 2015) has been completed by the coordinator and treasurer including
    • Profit and Loss Actual Vs. Budget
    • Investment Running Balances with Gains/Losses/Earnings
  • With balances as of April 30, 2015, CWR remains solvent.

Coordinator Susan Oxley submitted a detailed report listing her activities regarding Board relations, office responsibilities, member and external relations and ongoing and future projects.

Conference 2015 Chair Stephanie Hall’s committee is making progress in finalizing details of the October conference in Albuquerque. Stephanie introduced a Conference 2015 App. The link for the app will be included on the CWR website and the Conference Committee will send it out on the listserv.

Conference 2016 Committee Chair Kathy Gatliff advised the Board that two new members have joined the committee: Sister Paulette Gardner and Carrie Whitmoyer. Since the conference will be held in Indianapolis, Indy 500 is the underlying theme and the conference theme is: “Advance Your Mission: Turbocharge Your Communications!”

The committee is exploring possible keynote speakers and presenters as well as options for evening outings and free time attractions.

Membership Committee Co-Chairs Sister Paulette Gardner, SSA and Paula Schultz reported that 5 new members have joined CWR since February and 4 new members replaced former members. Current membership is 198 members and 9 honorary, founding members. Membership has been increasing over the last 4 years.

The Membership Committee will soon begin planning the Orientation for the Conference in Albuquerque. The Orientation will be designed to introduce conference attendees to CWR. The Membership Committee members also act as hosts/hostesses throughout the conference. The committee asks for your help in these endeavors. Please contact Sister Paulette Gardner, SSA,, or Paula Schultz,, to volunteer for these fun activities which enable you to meet some great people.

Marketing Committee Co-Chair Jennifer Kaminski reported that:

  • The Marketing Committee will be doing a new membership appeal to various congregations in the United States and Canada.
  • Exhibit and advertising materials are in production: A new CWR retractable banner and table runner (August) and an ad for the CPA Catholic Media Conference program (June)
  • 2015 Conference promotions are in progress

Communications Committee Co-Chair Stephanie Manseau presented 4 updated documents to be added to our policies and procedures: Social Media Guidelines, Photo Release Form, Listserv policy and Logo Use by Members. The Committee’s next steps will be working on a yearly, comprehensive communications schedule and crisis communications guidelines.

Board Recruitment Chair Eileen Dickerson advised the Board that there will be 4 CWR Board seats opening for 2016. Julie Gilberto-Brady and Sister Paulette Gardner have completed two terms. Paula Schultz and Stephanie Manseau have decided not to serve second terms.

Development Committee Chair Kate Martin reported on efforts to develop leads and extend invitations to potential conference sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers, as well as an effort to provide a Local Ministry Marketplace.

The Committee received solid suggestions as a result of a request put out on the listserv. The challenge is making the time to make initial contacts, write letters of invitation using a template, and follow-up. Their efforts have been successful to a degree, having exceeded a very modest goal, but there are more people and groups that could be approached. Anyone who is comfortable doing research and asking for support is encouraged to join the Development Committee. The Committee has one video conference meeting per month. Contact the committee Chair, Kate Martin

NRVC Liaison Carol Shuck Scheiber informed the Board that:

  • NRVC/Vision is still seeking good quality photos of people in contemporary religious life. Interested CWR members can contact Carol or write to Jennifer Tomshack
  • The year old National Fund for Catholic Religious Vocations has begun accepting requests from communities for funding to assist in paying educational debt of those entering religious life.
  • NRVC hosted a gathering in Rome in February of individuals who lead national vocation organizations. The purpose of the gathering was to share information, identify common needs and challenges and explore collaboration opportunities.
  • A study is being conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate on how families influence vocations.
  • HORIZON is seeking input regarding models or processes being used by congregations to involve all members in serving as “unofficial” vocation ministers and inviters. HORIZON is also looking for tips or resources in their efforts to develop content on “interculturality.”

The meeting closed with a prayer shared by Kate Martin.

The Board would like to thank Kate Martin for her daily prayers at the beginning and closing of each of the 3 days of the meeting. The beauty and poignancy of the prayers moved and inspired us.

We would also like to thank all of those who participated in the American City Bureau study interviews, videoconferences and survey.

Happy Summer!

P.S. Please remember that the benefits you receive as a member of CWR are made possible by an ALL VOLUNTEER Board. CWR can thrive and grow as long as our members volunteer their gifts through Board service.

Any member who is interested in serving on the CWR Board, please contact Eileen Dickerson (, 267-364-0487) or any Board member.

CWR Board of Directors
Eileen Dickerson, Chair
Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, Vice Chair
Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, Treasurer
Sister Paulette Gardner, SSA
Kathy Gatliff
Julie Gilberto-Brady
Stephanie Hall
Jennifer Kaminski
Stephanie Manseau
Kate Martin
Paula Staisiunas Schultz