From the desk of Ronnie Noize, WEO President

October 1, 2015

Last month out-going president Katie Kramer said that "the last President’s letter is always the hardest one to write. To make an end is to make a beginning!"

Well, this is my beginning, and I am thrilled, honored, grateful and excited to be WEO's new president!

My first introduction to WEO was in the spring of 2001 when then-president Ann Mason emailed me an invitation to speak at WEO. She promised me a delicious dinner and a grateful audience, so how could I refuse? I was delighted to accept her invitation, even though I was a little nervous about speaking to a group of strangers. 

Nervous--me? Yes! At that time, I was co-starring with another former WEO Jennifer Meacham on a local business TV show on Fox called Dream Builders: A Focus on Entrepreneurship. I was also teaching weekly teleclasses to hundreds of small business owners all over the world, so it wasn't like I was unused to presenting, but there was usually a camera or a phone between me and my audience.

I shouldn't have been worried. WEO was just as warm, welcoming and gracious as Ann promised--and not only to those the members already knew, but to the guests as well. During my first WEO meeting, the ladies laughed, talked, made introductions, and went out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable. I hadn't seen this kind of sisterhood since my college days. I was very impressed, and joined WEO soon after.

My first WEO president was the incomparable Ann Mason, and she set an incredibly high standard for presidents to come. Next was Katie Kramer, then Donna Mac, Ramona Lupo, Cathy Nielsen, Teresa Munn, Courtney Givens, and again, Katie Kramer. Each of these wonderful women led WEO in her own way, indelibly marking WEO with her personality, and sharing her special gifts with our group. I am grateful to them all for creating a tradition of excellence that I am honored to continue.

I am especially grateful to Katie Kramer, who stepped in at a critical time when WEO was temporarily without leadership (the incoming president moved to California, which was good for her but sad for WEO), and once again assumed the role of president to ensure WEO's future. Katie's vision for and faith in WEO brought us to where we are today--a thriving organization of smart, savvy women entrepreneurs who support each other and contribute to the elevation of all the others in their realm.

Under Katie's leadership, WEO has bounced back from that stumble a couple of years ago to once again become a strong and valued player in the local business community. Under Katie's exemplary leadership, we have accomplished so much, including building a beautiful and functional website, growing membership at a time when other similar organizations (including our sister organization, Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon) closed, serving the community through WE Care's philanthropic programs, introducing the Business ToolBox to share the knowledge made possible through our scholarships, improving the quality of our meetings significantly, raising our profile in the media, and so much more.

Did Katie do every little one of these things herself? No, because like all great leaders, she provided the vision, inspired the team, and empowered the volunteers to work together to make it all happen. Katie Kramer's commitment, vision and leadership brought us to where we are today, and I am looking forward to carrying on her legacy, as well as the best of all the WEO presidents, as I begin my service to WEO.

Lastly, I was terribly disappointed to miss the September meeting due to illness, but I heard that it all went well, and the photos on Facebook tell the same story. Thanks to all who stepped up to make the meeting go smoothly, and especially to the members of the Program Committee who went above and beyond: Amy Loudenback, Roni Sasaki, Lynn Moses, Sam Mikal, Twila Heiselman, and Kate Singh, you are the BEST!

Warmly,

Ronnie Noize

WEO President


Pictured above, left to right: Katie Kramer, Darla Thomas and Ann Mason at the September 2015 meeting.


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