A Sense of Community and the Joy of Wearing a Tiara

Last week I attended the SouthCoast Women’s Forum, the Black & White Gala for the Global Learning Charter School, and the Women’s Fund Tiara 5K. Whew! I’m exhausted!

It really was exhausting, but at the same time, what a charge it is to see everyone out supporting these great organizations! I was nearly overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the community in which I live and work!

SC Women's Forum
This year’s panelists (from left to right: Anne Partridge, Ashley Bendicksen, Lynn Donahue and Lauren Mackler). Truly inspiring women!

From the very first SouthCoast Women’s Forum I attended, I decided I needed to be involved in its magic in some way, so I asked to be part of the planning committee through the New Bedford Chamber of Commerce. That was about three years ago and it is a point of pride with me that I get to be a small part of making this event happen every year. I suppose it also makes me a tad biased about the event’s awesomeness, but I don’t think so. As we were setting up our trade show booth, I was talking with Advance Air Office Manager Laura Gouvia about the event and how amazing it is to see women put aside their competitiveness and come together for an afternoon to support each other and celebrate the successes of those who have achieved or are pursuing greatness in their careers. It is such a powerful, awesome feeling that at one point, Laura said it literally gave her goosebumps as we were talking about it! To me that is the magic of the Women’s Forum. Real women who are being recognized for being awesome and inspiring others to achieve their greatness. This year, I had the privilege of hearing four inspiring female panelists including a renowned oncologist, a young fireball in the DA’s office who also started her own non-profit, a well-known author and psychotherapist and my personal favorite (for obvious reasons) a trailblazing tradeswoman. It was a sellout crowd of over 130 local businesswomen (and maybe two or three very awesome businessmen).

The Global Learning Charter School Gala was in one of my favorite venues in the City, the Whaling Museum. There’s just something about standing under those giant whale bones that just ups the “cool” factor of any event. I was only recently made aware of GLCS, but there were two things that really stood out to me about it at the Gala. First, that the graduation/college attendance rates are astounding for a public school. I don’t trust my memory to get the numbers correct (and please, if you know them, feel free to comment to correct my numbers) but somewhere above 90%!! A-MA-ZING! The second thing that really wowed me was the presentations made by students at the event. At the high school level, I was more likely to throw up than say intelligent things if put behind a podium with a microphone. GLCS puts a big focus on public speaking and it shows. All of GLCS’s students were charming and well-spoken. A testament to the good work the school is doing. Well done GLCS!

The four of us with capes
The Advance Air Tiara Team (from left to right: Barbara Lamy, Lynn Wilson, Ron DeSousa and Karen Lamy DeSousa)

Finally, my weekend wrapped up on Sunday with the Women’s Fund Tiara 5K. What can I say? Tiaras, tutus, capes and dancing? That is my jam! I am a little embarrassed to say that my Mom and I have been walking the Tiara 5K for many years, but only realized last year that there was a reason for this race other than “an excuse to wear a tiara.” After I learned this, my first experience with the Women’s Fund was attending a graduation ceremony for women in the LifeWork Program. I was literally teary-eyed listening to the stories of women who had turned around their lives with the help of the Women’s Fund. So I immediately volunteered for a committee position – hmm…I see a trend forming – must be cautious about attending too many events, or I’ll never sleep!

The more I give of my own time, the more I see how many others are out there giving so much of their time, money and talents to support the many worthy non-profits and community organizations. It’s truly inspiring. Exhausting, but inspiring!