Letter to the Editor – Let’s Keep the Conversation Going!


On May 8th over fifty women gathered at the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-kill to join in the conversation of defining one’s Self. Moderated by Judi Rosenthal, a Self-Promotion Expert and Executive Business Consultant, the three panelists; Michele Bertran, Director of Omega Women’s Leadership Center, Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, Founder of 40% and Rising, and Kathleen Durham, Executive Director of The Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-kill shared their insights into exploring the opportunities that help create an environment of abundance and personal definition. It was an engaging conversation, which allowed for the intimate appraisal of each attendee, in her own time and within the framework of her own story, to define her Self.


The morning moved along quickly with lively conversation, laughter and moments of shared personal reflection. It was followed by a delectable lunch prepared by Meri Puccio (in the spirit of Eleanor, of course!) and closed with both spirit and body being nourished.


As the host of the May event, I walked away feeling encouraged knowing that there was a community of women, from ages 20 to 90 and from Catskill to Cape Town, South Africa, that  saw the gathering as a validation of their own personal capabilities. It was an opportunity to share, to be vulnerable in a safe environment and to begin the exploration of defining one’s Self.


A heartfelt thank you goes out to all who took the time to “join in the conversation” including Colleen Cruikshank and Celeste Oxendine. Colleen and Celeste not only took the reins and created an environment that was welcoming and comfortable, but enthusiastically spread the word to fill the room. And they did.


I extend a debt of gratitude to Marybeth Cale, publicist and communications coach, who months earlier encouraged me to take the idea of bringing women together to share in a conversation and make it a reality. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her commitment to her clients is unwavering.


The gathering was appropriately held in spring, a time for sowing seeds and visualizing the promise of abundance from the summer ahead. Similar to planting a garden, the panelists and women who attended shared their visions of personal growth and how they could, if they chose to, create an environment of  change. We were encouraged to become Solutionists in an environment that challenges us personally, in our communities and, for some, globally.


Now, as we approach fall, a time for harvesting the crops that we nurtured throughout the summer, I encourage those of you who attended and those who share the vision of creating change, however we may define it, to step back and plan your garden for the future.


Fall is a time to reflect on the summer crops that flourished and those that fared less well. It is a time to assess where to put our time and energy and what should be cast into the compost heap. Keeping in mind that composting helps feed future  harvests…


With summer behind us, and shorter days that invite reflection, consider rekindling the conversation shared in the spring. Reach out to friends and share conversation over a meal, join a group that fosters the growth of your personal goal, host a vision-board workshop ~ the opportunities for keeping the conversation alive are endless.


Also reach out to Judi, Marybeth and the three panelists through their respective associations. Each offers a unique avenue for sowing the seeds of change for your personal and professional growth.


Judi Rosenthal at www.judirosenthal.com

Kathleen Durham at www.ervk.org

Michele Bertran at www.eomega.org

Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin at www.40percentandrising.com

Marybeth Cale at www.calecommunications.com


As a community, we all have the opportunity to stay engaged, to experience that impact is truly inspiring.
Vicki L. Haak

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